Can a new health science teacher successfully prepare students for the NHA CMAA certification? At the School District of Osceola County in Florida, Luanne Scharkozy is one of many instructors doing just that. We had an opportunity to talk to Luanne about how she uses HealthCenter21 in the classroom to prepare students for success on the CMAA certification.
About Luanne and the Health Science Program at Harmony High School
Scharkozy is a registered nurse, who is now teaching Health Science I, II, & III at Harmony High School. She made the transition to teaching because she was “itching to do more,” but going into teaching from the nursing industry can be tough. HealthCenter21 has been a big help to both her and the other health science teachers in Osceola County.
“I have to do some certification of my own to stay, but they give you three to four years to complete that. So now I am giving back which is what I wanted to do. It's pretty rewarding,” she adds.
For her students, the program runs three years. Students begin the program as sophomores and complete it as seniors. At the end of the program, students test for certifications through the state for EKG Technician or Patient Care Technician. Then, they can go to work!
How Does She Use HealthCenter21?
Students start each day with bell work, then move on to the computers to work on the assigned HealthCenter21 module. As with most things, some students love the computer work, while others do not. Scharkozy’s tactics for keeping students on-task include snacks for students when it’s in the budget, playing some background music, and allowing students to talk and share ideas while working through the content.
Methods like these keep about 90% of the students on task, which helps Scharkozy. She loves how HealthCenter21 includes ideas for skills practice.
"Last week in Health Science III, they did the patient bed bath. They weren't crazy about it but they did it. This week we are going to do patient transfers and Health Science II is doing communication. We will do little skits and things from the HealthCenter21 modules. For me it works great because HealthCenter21 already aligns to my standards, so with the lesson plans . . . I just present it. I am really happy with it.”
She admits that last year when she strictly used the computer part of the system that students got burned out. “So this year I decided that I should do something with the included PowerPoint presentations. I have been using them at the end of the unit... Just to review it, to see if they have any questions. The Power Points are great,” Scharkozy says.
To keep everyone on track, Scharkozy has a calendar on the board where she’ll outline the assignment. For example, she’ll assign Unit 4 Lessons 1-2. Then towards the end of that week, they will do a skills check off.
“I can see what’s coming up. I have all the details in a book where I put all the HealthCenter21 lesson plans and papers. For example, in Health Science II, we are doing communications. I have a communications book with all of the activities from last year. So it keeps me on track. I usually do 2 weeks per module. So we are done by the end of the year. All of the standards are covered. We are good to go!”
Preparing Students for the NHA CMAA Certification
Partway through our interview, Griselle Figueroa-Martorell, Scharkozy’s supervisor and Learning Resource Specialist, dropped in.
Figueroa-Martorell shared that in addition to Scharkozy, the other teachers using HealthCenter21 “feel comfortable with the curriculum. They use it as a support to prepare students for the Nursing Assistant certification. As I talk to them they complement HealthCenter21 with other activities. They do not use it all the time... they do lecture, and then go to the computers. So they have different days of online modules and different days that they have discussions and practice.”
Figueroa-Martorell describes a wonderfully blended learning environment. By using a blended learning approach in the classroom, these instructors ensure their students are learning the foundational knowledge of a certified medical administrative assistant along with getting real skills practice.
Because HealthCenter21 follows their standards, this keeps the courses moving in the right direction and allows the instructors to complement the modules with their own activities.
In regard to certifications, Figueroa-Martorell shared:
“Luanne will be doing certifications this year as the other teachers do. They prepare the students for the CMAA certification and they use mostly your modules. It depends on the school but our high school, for example, has 100% passing. And then St. Cloud High School is 92-96% most of the time. Now I am talking about CMAA. CNA is different. We also offer CNA, and it changes. I haven't seen it below 70 yet. But I am talking about 70, 80, & 90 somethings. Osceola High School has a 96. I am very proud of those teachers. You want that type of progress.”
With certification pass rates like that, Figueroa-Martorell, Scharkozy and the rest of the health science team in the School District of Osceola County are obviously doing something very right.