Some Parkway (Mo.) School District seniors will be following doctor's orders starting this coming school year.
They'll do that in the surgery suites or emergency room at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in Creve Coeur. The real world learning will be part of a new Pre-Professional Health Sciences Academy elective course.
An agreement for setting up the academy was approved June 13 by the district's Board of Education. The academy will involve Parkway, the Special School District of St. Louis County, and Barnes Jewish Health Care, said Jennifer Stanfill, Parkway's coordinator of career and technical education and partnerships.
The academy will be a year-long, two-credit course designed to prepare seniors for health and biomedical programs and careers. Thirteen students have already signed up for the academy by filling out an application, writing a brief essay and obtaining two teachers' recommendations.
Students will take a class with an SSD vocational career instructor one day a week at the St. Louis Community College Corporate Center in West County. They also will participate in clinical experiences, including job shadowing, group projects, service learning and working with mentors.
Students will be able to request exploratory clinical rotations for one to two days a week at Barnes-Jewish West. These could include observing surgeries, visiting the emergency room, and seeing a dietician in action.
The class will run for about two and a half hours every other day for the duration of the school year, Stanfill said.
BJC's School Outreach and Youth Development department will provide on-site staff to monitor students' success in the rotations, said Jennifer Irvin, a BJC school community health educator.