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Grant helps Cherokee offer nurse certification exams in-house

Jeff Bobo • Jan 2, 2020 at 3:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Cherokee High School received a state grant this school year to help establish a nursing skills lab which makes it possible for nursing students to earn their CNA (certified nursing assistant) certification on campus.

Cherokee Assistant Principal for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Byron Booker gave the Hawkins County Board of Education a presentation at its Dec. 5 meeting outlining how the school spent a $35,921 SPARC Grant awarded in 2019.

SPARC (Support Post-secondary Access in Rural Counties) is sponsored by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for the purpose of  expanding CTE opportunities in distressed and at-risk county high schools.

Among the goals of the grant are to help districts acquire teaching equipment, create dual enrollment opportunities, and expand learning for adult students.

The lion’s share of Cherokee’s grant was to establish a nursing skills lab on campus for $25,421. That meant purchasing a variety of equipment such as long-term-care hospital beds, swing-away privacy screens, stackable bedpans, fractured bedpans, and over-bed light fixtures.

Cherokee already has one of the top HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) programs in the state, but Booker said the new nursing skills lab is a “game-changer.”

“We now can meet the criteria for D&S Diversified Technologies, and that will enable us to become a testing site for the CNA program,” Booker said.

Booker added, “This past full semester, we were able to bring back home one of our own — Amy Britton-Jeffers — to serve as a health sciences instructor. She had been previously teaching in the Morristown-Hamblen school system, and from her experience in this program there was an increase in 25-30% pass rate on the CNA (certification exam) when the students have the opportunity to test at their home location.”

Architectural and Engineering Design

Another $3,000 from that grant was used to purchase the Solid Works Ed Network software subscription for Cherokee’s Architectural and Engineering Design (AED) program, which will provide 100 Hawkins County students with an opportunity to earn Solidworks Industry Certification.

That is expected to lead into a dual enrollment partnership within the AED program at Walters State, as well as work-based learning opportunities for students over the summer.

OSHA 10 training and certification

Another $3,000 was spent on OSHA 10 training program materials and assessments to provide 140 students from five programs of study an opportunity to earn an OSHA 10 industry certification.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) offers 10-hour and 30-hour safety courses. The10-hour safety course covers general safety and health hazards for entry-level workers.

“The state of Tennessee within the last year has expanded OSHA 10 as a certification from two programs of study to five programs of study, and we anticipate in the coming years that will expand to even more programs of study within CTE,” Booker said. “ … The OSHA 10 is an expanding certification. Anyone familiar with industry knows that safety has to come first.”

Another $4,000 was used for the OSHA 10 trainer course to certify four CTE teachers who will train and test students for OSHA 10 certifications.

“We hope to have the opportunity to apply for this grant perhaps next year,” Booker told the BOE. “We’re already beginning to process and brainstorm ideas of how we may be able to get the best bang for our buck in expending those opportunities for our CTE students.”