CTE instructors face unique challenges compared to those who teach core academic classes. Due to the wide variety of students in a CTE program, teachers need to find ways to meet the needs of all students. Many instructors are looking for curriculum and resources that will help them provide reinforcement, remediation, and certification preparation to make their lives easier. For health science instructors in the School District of Palm Beach County, HealthCenter21 has made a huge difference.
About the Health Science Program at Royal Palm Beach High School
Janet Fabra is one of the health science instructors at Royal Palm Beach High School in Palm Beach County, Florida. She teaches the CTE program for Allied Health Assisting, which is for 11th graders. Janet mainly focuses on phlebotomy, pharmacology, minor surgical procedures, and a little bit on radiography. Students in her courses are preparing for industry recognized certifications, like the NHA CMAA exam.
Overcoming Classroom Management Problems and Challenges
Like many health science instructors, Janet started out with a career in health care as an RN. She made the transition to teaching first at Lake Worth High School, then moved to Royal Palm Beach High School when the Medical Academy was opened. Janet struggled with classroom management problems and other challenges due to her lack of educational experience. Three of her biggest challenges were:
- Preparing students for health science certification
- Finding ways to help diverse students succeed
- Keeping up with changes in the industry
Luckily for Janet, she has found that HealthCenter21 helps her to better manage her classroom and easily overcome these challenges. So how does it work for her, and what are the benefits of eLearning she has seen?
Preparing Students for Industry Recognized Certifications
As with most CTE health science programs, Janet’s students are working to obtain an industry recognized certification like CMAA or CNA. At first her students didn’t have as good of passing rates as she had expected. Now that they use HealthCenter21, they have seen big improvements:
“The biggest thing I found with using HealthCenter21 was with the CMAA exam. I gave a CMAA exam in December before I started with HealthCenter21 and the students really struggled. They did not do that well, maybe 70% passed.
So then the next semester we used your program and the grades shot way up. I had 90% plus that passed that semester. From my standpoint, that says how valuable the information was. Now we’ve got much higher pass rates than when we first started the CMAA program and didn’t have HealthCenter21 as an adjunct to help.
Now I’m at a 100% pass rate, and the teacher at Lake Worth High School who also uses HealthCenter21 had 100% on all of her tests this year, too.”
One reason Janet believes HealthCenter21 made a difference is that it works well for reinforcement and remediation, and students can use it to fit their own needs with certification prep:
“I like it because it’s self directed. Right now we finished the Allied Health with my juniors and they will take the test in May. They still have everything in HealthCenter21 that they can go back and review. It’s good because not every student needs to review everything, but if they are really stuck on something, they can go back into the program on their own and review.”
Helping Diverse Students Succeed in the Classroom
In any CTE program, instructors are faced with a classroom full of diverse learners, with a range in ability and knowledge. Janet has found HealthCenter21 meets the needs of all types of learners in her classroom:
“HealthCenter21 has helped some students because they are auditory learners. There are also tactile learners who struggle on tests in the classroom, but then they go onto HealthCenter21 and do those quizzes and tests, and those grades are higher. So for some students it has helped their grades because not everybody is a visual learner.”
An even bigger part of her diverse classroom are her ESL students. Over the years Janet has had many students who speak little to no English, but want to go through the health science program. Before HealthCenter21 she really struggled to help those students succeed:
“I’ve had students that were just coming into the country. They had only been here 6 months and could barely speak English. I would have to wrack my brain and come up with ideas. At that time I didn’t have anything like HealthCenter21 where I could put them on the computer and they could see it visually. If you see a skill being done visually, you can put two and two together and teach yourself… But I didn’t have that, so it was challenging.”
After she started using HealthCenter21 in the classroom, these struggling students were able to take a huge step forward. Here’s one specific student Janet recalled:
“HealthCenter21 was very beneficial for a student who had just come over from Haiti. She couldn’t pass a written test, which is where a lot of the ESL students struggle. When she took my class as a freshman, she failed it and decided to come back and repeat it.
Her second year we had HealthCenter21… and she started getting 80s and 90s on her tests. It was helping her grades, and boosted her up. So she sat for the CNA test and she passed. She hung in there and she stuck with it and she passed.”
Keeping Up with Changes in the Health Care Industry
When teaching health science, there is always the worry of your curriculum being out of date. The health care industry quickly changes as new technologies come out. Finding a way to keep up with the changes without having to spend time redoing lessons can be a struggle. For Janet, HealthCenter21 has taken that burden off of her shoulders:
“There’s more information in the AES program that helps for things such as coding and insurance. The doctor’s offices right now are all computerized. Your program can address that enough so students know what a schedule looks like. They know what an insurance form looks like.”
In cases where standards and procedures have changed, many textbooks are still not caught up. A few examples are ICD-10 for medical coding, and CPR procedures from the American Heart Association. When these changes came about, the HealthCenter21 Product Team quickly updated the curriculum so teachers like Janet had nothing to worry about.
“Coding is the biggest issue… ICD-10 is so different from ICD-9. It was a shocker to me that it wasn’t a little bit closer, but it’s not. A big benefit of HealthCenter21 is the access to material I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Like with the ICD-10… The updating and everything you do to keep up with the changes. And you actually give me extra resources like the worksheets that are in there.”