What I get excited about is when students are actively and purposefully engaged in online learning. The student-centered instruction can be tailored to meet the needs of all of my students.
Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School
When Kathy Regan started teaching health science courses at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, she had no experience.
She knew all about health science – she had spent a full 20 years working as an acute care nurse in the area.
But when a friend told her about a job opening at a local vocational school, Kathy was interested.
“My friend said, ‘You would be great in a vocational setting,’” Kathy says. “I had no idea what that even meant. But I applied to a school. That was it.
Seventeen years later, I’m still doing it.”
For five of Kathy’s 17 years in teaching, she’s used HealthCenter21 to help her students learn and earn certifications.
In fact, it’s empowered her to embrace a flipped learning strategy for her classroom that she says works impeccably well.
But Kathy didn’t just get HealthCenter21 – she had to prove that it was a smart investment for her school.
To do that, she started talking with her administration.
As any health science teacher can testify, it can be an uphill climb to get approval for extra resources in the classroom.
This is especially true in career and technology centers where other CTE tracks like manufacturing and automotive tend to be top priorities.
But Kathy didn’t let that stop her.
She started by signing up for a HealthCenter21 pilot and showing its utility to her administration.
“I went straight to my administration,” she says. “I wrote up a plan and told them to come to a class. I wanted them to see what my students were doing. I wanted them to see the progress, the positivity, the success of this program.”
Her plan worked – to a certain extent.
She proved that HealthCenter21 worked for her classroom. She proved that it worked for her students.
But she knew she had to prove it made financial sense, too.
“They’re not always looking at the almighty dollar, but the school is a business,” Kathy says. “But I do think that in other districts, health science teachers aren’t as aggressive in asking for what they want.”
So Kathy took a more pragmatic approach.
She went back to her administration and talked about HealthCenter21 in terms that made the most sense to them.
“Do they realize they’re not buying textbooks with this resource?” Kathy says. “They’re not buying workbooks. They’re not buying this, they’re not buying that. If you tally it over, they’re not saving by sticking to textbooks.”
Kathy made her point, and she had her funding for HealthCenter21.
Now she had to make HealthCenter21 deliver.
After Kathy got HealthCenter21, she started using it right away.
It’s a good thing, too. Her supervisor wanted to know if HealthCenter21 was worth the investment.
Kathy proved it was beyond the shadow of a doubt.
“The first thing my supervisor said was ‘How do you check for learning? How do you know your students are getting it? What’s your formative assessment?’” Kathy says. “And then I show them HealthCenter21. I say, 'It’s right here.’”
Kathy actively watches data that HealthCenter21 automatically produces about each student. With it, she can tell whether a student is performing well or needs a little extra help.
She can also show this data to anyone who asks, including her supervisor.
“If a kid gets a poor grade, I know it’s because they rushed through something in two minutes,” she says. “How do I know that? I have the documentation right here.”
With data-driven proof that HealthCenter21 was worth its weight in gold, Kathy had her supervisor and administration on board.
Now, all she had to do was teach.
Like most health science teachers, Kathy is responsible for multiple courses, including Nursing Assistant, Aging, and CPR First Aid.
Kathy is also a hands-on kind of teacher. She splits class time appropriately between theory and practical work – desk learning and hands-on practice.
But with HealthCenter21, teaching theory isn’t just a straight lecture anymore. Instead, it’s supplemented
with interactive activities that actually engage her students.
“The number one thing I like about HealthCenter21 is the interactive lessons for students,” Kathy says. “I can go around the classroom while students do a lesson. I can see them individually, and when a student is absent, I know when they’re doing lessons at home.”
Kathy goes the extra mile to stress success to her students. She forces them to retake quizzes until they earn 100%, and then they can jump into the lab.
She rarely (if ever) teaches from a textbook anymore either. They haven’t proven to be the best tools for her classroom, and they just weren’t working to engage her students.
"Textbooks are a resource," Kathy says. "They work best when they enhance blended learning from HealthCenter21."
By straying from textbooks, Kathy has been able to fully engage her classroom with HealthCenter21 at the core.
If students need to do work before class, they can do it from home – even on their phones!
If they need to keep up with homework while they’re sick, students can keep pace with the class without waiting to make up work.
And in the event students do need to make up work, they can do it anywhere, anytime. There’s no staying after class for remediation, no holding up the entire class for a single question, no more lost time.
In fact, Kathy only uses a handful of textbooks these days — one for NHA exam prep and an American Red Cross text for her Nursing Assistant class.
The texts add some great information to her class, and they're excellent ways to prepare students for key certifications. But Kathy knows tests aren’t the end-all, be-all of health science education.
“NHA test prep material doesn’t give students a curriculum,” Kathy says. “It only gives them booklets of tests and how to take the test, but don’t they need knowledge to take the test? Where are they getting that knowledge?”
That knowledge, Kathy says, comes from her and her use of HealthCenter21.
Kathy started using HealthCenter21 in 2012. Since then, she’s taken advantage of nearly every customization option to truly make the curriculum into her curriculum.
She plans lessons. Tweaks tests. Schedules due dates.
Meanwhile, HealthCenter21 automatically fills out her gradebook so she can get a feel for her class at a glance.
But even with all of this technology, Kathy’s ultimate goals lie in student education. She’s a teacher through and through, and that means she’s focused on her students.
This is especially true when one of her customized lessons hits the nail right on the head.
"What I get excited about is when students are actively and purposefully engaged in online learning," Kathy says. "The student-centered instruction can be tailored to meet the needs of all of my students."
That’s an amazing payoff for any teacher.
Even still, there’s one part of teaching that makes Kathy – and most other health science teachers – happier than anything else.
“The thing that actually makes me the happiest is when graduates come back from nursing school.”
Do you teach health science courses like Kathy?
Give HealthCenter21 a try!
Kathy found outstanding success with HealthCenter21 in 2012, and she still uses it today.
Now, you can follow her example in talking to your administration, supervisor, and students all focused on the same flipped learning resource.
It only takes two minutes to sign up.
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