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Thu, Oct. 29

Guest column: New nursing program at Williams High School

Hello and happy New Year!

As the new calendar year begins we are already looking ahead to the next school year. Williams High School is proud to announce the addition of a new Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program to its Career and Technical Education (CTE) course offerings. The course is set to start in August but planning and preparation is already underway. Principal Tristan Heisley is coordinating with a CTE program consultant to ensure that all documentation, classroom and laboratory settings are in compliance. Upon submission of all program paperwork to the state, we will be placed on a waiting list for inspection. That wait can be as long as 90 days. For that reason, Principal Heisley has already made some classroom changes.

The CNA program will require a classroom and a lab setting side by side. As there are no vacant rooms in the main building, Principal Heisley has relocated some teachers and has begun setting up two of the three classrooms in the Annex. Aside from the space, there are many benefits to using the Annex for this program.

1) As it is a Coconino Community College (CCC) dual-credit course, it is appropriate to use this "college" setting.

2) We hope to eventually open up the student clinic to the community. The Annex has sufficient parking and we can keep public access limited to that building. The student clinic will eventually be able to perform free services such as cholesterol screens, blood pressure tests, etc.

3) Rather than forcing students to choose which CTE programs they can fit in their schedule, we are considering offering the CNA program on Fridays for an extended block of time. Using the Annex will allow us to continue to keep the main building locked down on Fridays. We aspire to have a morning and an afternoon session if the interest is high enough. We also hope to pull enrollment from neighboring districts. The classroom is required to be lab ready with sinks and hospital beds. It will also require such equipment as privacy screens, scales, stethoscopes, wheelchairs, etc.

Each student completing the two-year course will get five credit hours from CCC and the Certified Nurse's Assistant certification, which will allow them to work at any health facility employing CNAs. The curriculum includes Medical Terminology and Physiology - Anatomy along with the Nursing Assistant classes.

Some of the required furniture and supplies are already being donated to assist with the implementation of the new program. We are so grateful to North Country HealthCare for the donation of a hospital bed and to the Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology (CAVIAT) for the donation of the Medical Terminology and Nursing Assistant textbooks. We are so very excited to provide this opportunity for our students and we look forward to giving you an update in the fall. If you are interested in more information please call or stop by. Your questions and input are always welcome and appreciated. Have a great year!

Rachel Savage

Williams Unified School District Superintendent

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