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PCH picks teacher for health project

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Judith Vallejo will soon be taking on a new project.

The Cloverdale Middle School language arts teacher was recently selected by her corporation and Putnam County Hospital to attend the Indiana Hospital and Health Association Health Sciences Teacher's Workshop.

The workshop will take place June 27-28 at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.

The workshop was designed for teachers who are seeking to share health professions information with students.

Vallejo -- a 19-year veteran at Cloverdale -- will take over Cloverdale's Career Academy next year. The program is through the corporation's Gateway to Technology, which places an emphasis on science, engineering, technology and math.

"I think the program is a good thing," Vallejo said. "It's been really interesting."

With the information gained from the workshop, the intention is for teachers to place more of an emphasis on students possibly considering the medical field as a future profession.

CCSC Supt. Carrie Milner said the goal is to add health services to the corporation's Career Pathway Program. She said through the corporation's Gold Star Program, students begin a four-year plan of career tracking as eighth-graders.

"It's a good fit," Milner said of Vallejo being chosen to attend the workshop. "She'll be good."

PCH Executive Director Dennis Weatherford said working with Cloverdale in this program was a natural fit.

"We have sponsored some of the Cloverdale interns in the past," Weatherford told the BannerGraphic. "That's basically the same type of program."

However, Weatherford said the intern program is geared toward high school students. The IHHA said it intends this program to be geared toward students in grades kindergarten through eighth.

"(The IHHA) thought that was most appropriate," Weatherford said.

Vallejo said school officials have changed their outlook in recent years on getting students prepared for careers, placing a focus on younger students.

"It's a new trend to me," she said. "My impression is they want to get them thinking."

While at the workshop, teachers will be provided hospital experiences related to surgery, radiology and wellness, along with lesson plans that provide information on health careers and meet state and national academic standards. Teachers will also receive experiences, resources and classroom tools to teach topics related to health careers.

"We're excited about it," Weatherford said. "Our hope is that (Vallejo) gets excited about it, and brings the curriculum back. (The program) is basically teachers training teachers."

Weatherford said this is the first year for the program.

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