In St. Lucie County, career and technical programs are organized into “career academies”. Career academies are located throughout the country, in Florida which includes the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County. These small learning communities include 3-4 sequential CTE courses, and involve teachers from different subjects working together to help students connect what they’re learning in school to their personal career goals and “real world” challenges. Supported by industry partnerships and technical advisory committees, career academies are aligned with industry standards and lead to marketable certifications.
St. Lucie County School District (according to information on its website), provides job shadowing, internships, and other work-based learning activities which provide students with knowledge of all aspects of an industry. In addition, co-curricular student organizations (CTSO) motivate students to be the best they can be through regional, state, and national competitions, as well as providing vigorous leadership, character education, and “workforce ready” programs.
For “college-bound students”, academy completion with strong grades and college entrance exam scores qualify them for Bright Futures “Gold Seal” Scholarships, as well as advanced standing at partnering colleges through “articulation agreements”. In addition, industry certifications allow the increasing number of students who are both working and continuing their education, to earn higher salaries leading to stronger odds of post-secondary graduation.
The medical academies in St. Lucie County schools has a mission to provide a personalized, rigorous, and relevant education through interdisciplinary practices and in preparing students for the challenges of employment and continuing education in the healthcare professions.
A recent article in St. Lucie County’s “Lucie Links” Newsletter (see below), illustrates the vitality of the medical academy at Fort Pierce Central High School to provide useful and up-to-date information for students to embrace and be challenged.
Fort Pierce Central medical academy students master CPR
“ As Fort Pierce Central Medical Academy students lean over their own mannequins on the floor of the school’s medical lab, the song “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees starts pumping, which seems appropriate since that’s the goal of the Health Science class, to keep someone alive using CPR training. Medical Academy instructor Samantha Jackson uses the music to inspire the students to make the appropriate number of compressions — 100/minute — for success. Students in Jackson’s class will earn their American Heart Association certification in first aid, CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) will be able to take this certification to add to any resume, regardless of field. In a class that is full of opportunity to goof around and ignore the teaching, all of the students stayed very attentive, constantly asking questions. When the trainers brought out the practice AEDs the students got especially quiet, grasping the gravity of shocking someone’s heart to resuscitate them.”
Other activity includes some 120 students in the Medical Academy at Fort Pierce Central High School as they received free composition books from the Kids In Need Foundation thanks to donations from the back to school supply drive held by local Walgreen drug stores earlier in the school year. The teacher wrote and won a grant with the foundation to be the recipient of school supplies collected by Walgreen stores located in Indian River, Saint Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties. While at one of the stores collecting supplies, the store manager asked the teacher specifically what item the students were in need of, the response was that they needed composition books for their journals, so the manager purchased books for each student in need.
With the partnership of those in the community, the medical academies in St. Lucie County schools are alive, well and thriving with student involvement, interest and rewards that will prove to be beneficial in the career direction each student decides to pursue.
REF: (SLCSD) Lucie Links Newsletter. December 2012.