2012-05-30 / News

School Board approves second health-science center

Monacan High center to open fall 2013
By Michael Buettner

Carpenter Carpenter The School Board last week gave the go-ahead to creation of a new specialty center that will aim to prepare students for careers in an especially fast-growing segment of the health care industry.

Beth Teigen, executive director of school administration, gave a short presentation on the plan to open a new health science specialty center at Monacan High School before the board voted unanimously to approve it.

According to Teigen, “The preliminary working name of this program is the Health and Human Services Specialty Center, with an emphasis on sports medicine and rehabilitative services.”

The plan, Teigen explained, “would be to have students explore health-care careers with a focus on therapy and prevention in areas like physical therapy, sports medicine and occupational therapy.”

The new specialty center would help students “develop knowledge and skills that would support a health-care career in therapeutic and preventive health care with lab-based and clinical application opportunities,” Teigen said.

School Board Chairwoman and Midlothian District member Patricia Carpenter said the proposed center “has been a long time coming.” She expressed the board’s appreciation for staff members’ work on the plan.

The new center is expected to open for the fall semester in 2013. Officials have said it will not replace or compete directly with the existing Health Science Specialty Center at Cosby High School, which first opened during the 2007-08 school year. The Cosby program offers training in general health-care disciplines.

The idea of opening a second health science center originally arose as part of an effort to find ways to reduce crowding at Cosby. An initial proposal to simply reduce the number of students allowed into Cosby’s health science program was rejected because so many students, and parents, were interested in it.

Officials also have noted that the new center will not duplicate courses offered at the Chesterfield Technical Center. Instead, students in the new specialty center may decide to go on to more intensive training at the tech center in areas such as nursing and biotechnology.

Also last week, the School Board formally approved changes to the school division’s methods of evaluating teachers’ performance.

Changes in state regulations mandated that the county update its Professional Growth and Performance Plan for Teachers, which was first adopted in 2008. In particular, the state added a requirement that teachers’ performance evaluations be based to some degree on their students’ performance.

Under the new evaluation system approved last week, measures of student performance will amount to 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.

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