More than 200 Carson Middle School (CMS) future health professional — Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) — earned real-world healthcare certifications. Nearly all the students taking Ms. Victoria Jaacovi’s Introduction to HOSA class and Mr. Dayne Carmichael’s Sports Medicine class finished the 2018 school year certified in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
“I like how we learned about emergency situations, the steps to take and how to react if something happens,” said CMS sixth-grader Emily Tran. “I enjoyed learning about the different health careers and what I’d like to do in the future,” said her seventh grade classmate Zehna Abdelhady.
Throughout the year, CMS HOSA students experienced hands-on instruction in medical technology, nutrition, medical terminology, CPR and first aid, sports medicine and body systems among other clinical fields of study.
Earlier this year, the Carson High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) program and Victoria Defilippi, a senior CTE student and HOSA state officer, helped CMS to create its own health science student organization, the first middle school program of its kind for the school and the state.
“Being the first middle school in the state to organize a HOSA chapter positions these students on the leading edge of healthcare training and future careers as nurses, doctors and first responders,” Mr. Carmichael, sports medicine teacher at CMS, said. “We have a great program at the high school, which recently earned several HOSA awards, so students who begin as early as sixth and seventh grade will really be able to excel in their secondary and collegiate schooling.”
A recent switch to a block schedule at the middle school opened up the need for more classes, so when Sports Medicine and Introduction to Health Science were brought on to help fill those gaps, a student organization to support those classes became a necessity. Working with Frank Sakelarios and Kelly Gustafson, CTE Health Science instructors and HOSA advisors at Carson High School (CHS), Defilippi decided to focus her senior project on the creation of the HOSA chapter at CMS.
Sakelarios said the goal was to incentivize students to consider careers in the health sciences at a younger age. He also said that if CHS has more freshman coming in having already taken classes that would traditionally be beginning classes at the high school, those classes can be augmented and new classes can be added or others expanded. Currently, the middle school students will not earn high school credit for these classes, but that is the goal as the program moves forward.
At the conclusion of the school year, more than 20 students at Carson Middle School were affiliated with the newly formed middle school HOSA Chapter. Several of those students were also able to attend the state competition in March where they won several awards, following the lead of their partnership chapter from Carson High School.
Ms. Jaacovi, Intro to HOSA teacher at Carson Middle School, said CMS also picked up a grant for $187K to fund the curriculum and training to augment their current STEM program, providing new classes and new tracks for students. The grant will also allow the CMS HOSA program to continue.