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Health Science Academy
Cerro Coso Community College – Eastern Sierra College Center Mammoth Lakes has partnered with Mammoth High School, Mammoth Hospital and Mammoth health care providers to offer a Health Science Academy for Mammoth High School students. The goals of the Academy are to assist students in going directly to college with a better idea of what to study and to give them a background in the health science field. Students are also prepared to go directly into the workforce at entry level positions after extensive exposure to health care fields. Students in the academy learn the "relevance" of daily high school classes by seeing how the concepts they are presented with in the classroom are applied to the real world.
The high school students earn college credit while in high school through Cerro Coso College's "Virtual High School". Courses offered include Introduction to Health Care, Medical Terminology, Nutrition, Administrative Medical Assistant and Rehabilitative Career Choices. The program is available to 10th – 12th grade students and operates as a "school within a school". Each cohort of students takes their classes together throughout the program and learns job skills to help them get a head start on their future careers. Courses are supplemented by student field trips, job-shadowing, mentor relationships in their junior year and by a wide variety of guest speakers.
The Academy is in its second year of a three-year California Partnership Academies grant. Currently, there are 22 juniors and 10 sophomore students enrolled in the program. According to Mike Boucher, the Academy's Director, "A stipulation of the grant is that ½ of the students be "at-risk" for low achievement in high school, usually due to a previous lack of motivation as evidenced by their performance in 9th grade or poor attendance and/or economic need". Cerro Coso Community College provides "online, career appropriate college classes for the students so they can explore and develop their interests and abilities in the health care field prior to college or a certificate program," says Boucher.
Student success in the program is evidenced by the increase in GPA. The initial HAS students had an aggregate GPA of 2.9 before they entered the program at the end of their freshman year. By the end of their first semester in the program, their collective GPA was 3.34. When asked about the benefits of the HSA Program, Boucher says, "Students are more successful during their important high school years academically and socially. They can see the connections between what they are learning in the class and the real world. They feel like they are a part of an extended family as they move from class to class, and activity to activity".
Mammoth High School's Health Science Academy – cohort number one – now juniors
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