Ironton, Dawson-Bryant teaming up for tech prep

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

Next year's school supplies may include items such as stethoscopes, tongue depressors and blood-pressure wraps for Dawson-Bryant and Ironton high school juniors who want to become the medical professionals of the future.

Starting next year, the new Tech Prep Health Academy will allow students in the junior class to get an early start on classes that will work directly with higher education and flow towards a degree in the health field.

"All our high schools are too small to offer everything to every child," Brenda Haas, principal of Dawson-Bryant High School, said. "Together we can focus on a variety of growing areas. We need to quit educating for jobs that are not there."

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According to a report by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, health care occupations are expected to account for one of every seven new jobs created within the state by 2010.

"This will benefit the students because it is close to home and it brings the programs to us," Haas said. "I hate to keep losing our best and brightest to other states and other parts of the state."

Offered in cooperation with Collins Career Center, the academy is set up

so students will take two years of courses in high school, two years of college for an associates degree and two more years for a bachelors degree within the health care industry.

"The program directly feeds a seamless pathway from their junior year in high school through a bachelor's degree or beyond," Haas said.

Dawson-Bryant Super-intendent James Payne said that because education has changed over the years schools must now provide students the option to take classes above and beyond the traditional math, english and sciences.

"This gives us the opportunity to provide something meaningful where the students want to stay in school because they see meaning in the classes they are taking," Payne


The Health Academy will allow students to receive certification as nursing assistants, phlebotomists (blood collection), EKG technicians, pharmacy technicians and patient care technicians, said Kay Swartzwelder, associate director of Allied Health for CCC, said.

Many careers in the health field, such as nursing, require certifications before entering the programs and this will allow the students to be a step ahead, she said.

Actual courses the students will take include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical ethics, legal ethics and illness prevention. Articulation agreements are being discussed with Marshall University, Shawnee State University, Ohio University Southern and more.

Other high schools such as Rock Hill and South Point will be invited to participate as well.

The class will be offered in the former Ohio University television station

behind Ironton High School. Principal Dean Nance said the building is already handicapped accessible and has restroom facilities, but that funds through the GEAR UP program will help provide some of the equipment needed.

"We are very excited because we feel this is an area of great need in the Tri-State," he said. "It will enable the students to get into lucrative (career) but remain in this area to live and raise their families."

The course will be divided into two half-day sessions. Tentatively, Ironton students will attend the morning session and Dawson-Bryant students will attend the afternoon session from noon to 3 p.m. The program will only be able to accommodate about 24 students from each school.

During their senior years, the students will spend a half a day at Collins Career Center or another laboratory area.

A similar program is currently offered but many students are not as interested because they have to stay at the vocational school all day and they miss their friends. This way students can get the best of both schools., Swartzwelder said.

A meeting is scheduled for next week between both principals to discuss the programs and work out more details.

In February and March, informational meetings will be hosted to educate parents and the community about the benefits of the program.

Registration for the course will begin in April.

The Health Academy will be added to three other tech prep programs already offered to Dawson-Bryant students: interactive programming, network technologies and business.