Parent Teacher Magazine Union County Public Schools Sept/Oct 2018 - Page 21

Atrium Health externship helps Monroe Middle teacher bring lesson plans to life Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle teacher Heather Teff is passionate about finding new ways to connect her students to meaningful, real-life experiences. She’s also interested in incorporating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) into her language arts classroom. So when Heather learned that externship summer experiences with the Atrium Health Union’s Women and Children’s Center were available during her summer break, the sixth grade language arts teacher immediately signed up. “I thought it would be really neat and a pretty cool experience that I could share with my students. I’ve learned and experienced things that I definitely believe can be incorporated into my classroom,” she said. “I’ve gotten exposure to so much in this field, and I’m looking forward to also giving that exposure to my students as well.” Offered through a partnership between Monroe Middle and Atrium Health, the two-day externships provided several of the middle school’s teachers with the opportunity to gain first-hand insight of clinical, non-clinical and administrative perspectives of healthcare. Throughout the summer, Monroe Middle instructors who teach everything from band to language arts spent at least 12 hours shadowing Atrium Health Union staff members in a variety of departments that include imaging, emergency, physical therapy, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and more. The ultimate goal of the externships is to help teachers find ways to connect their students to STEM and real-life applications. Heather said in only two days she’d had the opportunity to observe a C-section, learn more about how nurses and doctors care for children in the pediatric center, shadow lactation nurses as they work with new mothers and more. Connecting Heather to a variety of experiences and professions in the Women and Children’s Center was especially important, said Atrium Health Union Pediatric Nurse Manager Kim Underwood, because now Heather will be able to share those experiences with young students who haven’t had any previous exposure to this field. “Nursing in the healthcare profession is a calling, and incorporating what we do into the classroom gives students the opportunity to explore so many areas of healthcare,” Kim said. “Now, while they’re still in middle school, is when students need to be engaged because it could give them a goal for what they may want to do in high school and afterwards.” At the end of her second day, Heather was already thinking of ways she could incorporate what she’s learned into classroom discussions and projects next school year. “Letting the students know about all of the opportunities in the healthcare field and exposing it to them at such a young age is so important,” she said. “I feel like this will give them a step forward in life.” FHHS student gets a head start on the new school year and college in Upward Bound summer program Some students may look at summer break as an opportunity to take a vacation from the classroom. But for Forest Hills High junior Isaias Rivera, summer break was the prime time to not only prepare for the upcoming school year but also life after high school. During the past few weeks, Isaias has participated in New Covenant Community Development Center’s Upward Bound Math and Science Program, a federally funded educational program that prepares high school students for college and careers in math and science. Isaias, along with 37 of his peers from Forest Hills and Monroe high schools, spent their time in the program participating in tutoring and mentoring programs, taking intensive math and science classes, visiting colleges, learning more about post- secondary education opportunities, preparing for college entrance exams and more. Check out why Isaias said his time in the program had already had a profound impact on his future: On his experience in the program: Upward Bound is basically a six-week program. Right now, we’re studying next year’s material so we’ll have a head start on the school year and be academically prepared for our classes. During the first few weeks, we attended classes and went home at the end of the day. But then we stayed on campus at Wingate University to get the full college experience. Living in dorm rooms and going to classes was really interesting because it’s a different routine than what we have in high school. On how this program is preparing him for life after high school: I used to think that I would go into culinary arts one day, but this program has really opened my eyes to different opportunities out there. Also, this is a math and science program so a lot of these classes have really drawn me in. I really like cars, so now I’m considering going to college to study engineering and then designing engines one day. I’ve gotten a chance to create a really solid career plan for the future. On why other students should take advantage of summer learning opportunities: This is a great opportunity to meet new people and have new experiences. For example, we went to a play and not many people here have had the chance to experience that. We’ve done a lot of community service projects and we’re going to visit colleges in New Orleans. All of the experiences here have opened our eyes and shown us that there is a whole world out there for us to see. Parent Teacher Magazine • Sept/Oct 2018 • 19