February 2, 2018: New Occupations Class

February 2, 2018
Hello Black River Falls Community! This is Dr. Shelly Severson, with the School District of Black River Falls, here to share this week’s installment of our Spotlight on Schools!  Today we are going to talk about a new course at the high school that we are hoping helps to fill a need within our community.  Students now have the opportunity to take a course titled “Health Science Occupations.”  As with many occupations, we continuously hear about the shortage of workers available to fill the positions now, and particularly into the next 15 to 20 years.  Health care is definitely in this same situation as other industries!  We have quite a few students that through their career exploration have identified that they are interested in doing something in the healthcare profession.  There are SO many different career choices and many that the kids wouldn’t have even heard of without some further detailed exploration.

So, how do we help to guide our students and help to fill the rising need in our community when we are far from healthcare professionals ourselves?  We send out an all-call to our community partners and ask for their help.  Wow!  Did they deliver!  The district hosted a luncheon on Tuesday, January 30, in which we invited people from many different facets of healthcare to come and offer us suggestions about what courses should become a part of the Health Science Academy and what content would be critical in the actual Health Science Occupations course.   We were overwhelmed by the generous donations of time!  So many of those in attendance offered to become speakers during the class so that the students could hear, first hand, from people in the field.  They also offered to host students in a job shadow situation, or perhaps consider a work-based learning placement.

The Health Science Academy will be a pathway of courses that students would participate in that included courses, but also experiences, field trips, job shadows and the idea that we’d like to assist our students in getting certified as CNA’s and EMT’s as a part of their high school coursework experience.  Both of these areas are foundational to many other healthcare careers.  When you partner these opportunities with the work-based learning course that seniors can participate in, we are working to help students find relevance in their classes and recognize the diverse and exciting healthcare opportunities that exist in our community.  

We appreciated Jackson County Public Health, Jordan Chiropractic, Black River Memorial Hospital, Ho-Chunk National Health Department, Black River Falls Fire Department, Krohn Clinic, Western Technical College, Pine View Care Center, American Health Education Centers, or AHEC, Art of Optometry,  Footprints in Time Midwifery and Family Services, Black River Chiropractic Clinic, Atrium as well as the district staff that participated in the conversations thus far!  

The partners are hoping that by their investment in our students now we can help to build a sustainability plan in the healthcare field for our region.  While selfishly, we’d love for our students to want to come back and serve Black River Falls for their careers, everyone also recognizes that globally, the needs exist and encouraging kids to enter this field is good and necessary; even if it’s not in our own backyard!  There is little that is more exciting than when the community comes together to create more positive opportunities for our kids that will eventually lead to greater enhancements for the community in general.  We thank our partners for their time and feedback as we begin our Health Science Academy!  Once again, the district is so proud and appreciative to have such a supportive community!

As always, thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls!  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!
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