School of Health Professions (Dallas, TX). The campus has positioned itself to create a college going culture by offering only Pre-AP and AP options in the majority of its core courses and enrolling students who meet entry requirements into dual credit courses. Implementing these practices helps the campus maintain a rigorous curriculum and its status as a high performing CTE high school. In Career and Technical Education (CTE), the School of Health Professions provides opportunities for students to acquire the foundation for a career or continued studies in health care, with a prescribed set of courses to complete at each grade level. Every student’s program of study culminates in a hands-on nine-week spring semester internship during their 11th grade and/or 12th grade year. At the completion of their 12th grade internship, students are eligible to take a national certification exam aligned to their specific 4-year pathway of study, if available, in: Dental Assisting, ECG Technician, Patient Care Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, Medical Office Assistant and ServSafe.
The career cluster pathways students select from are clinical medical assisting, communication disorders, culinary arts, dental assisting and technology, medical laboratory, pharmacy technician, therapy careers and veterinary careers. Other unique aspects of the campus are that 100% of the career pathway instructors are highly qualified and certified in their program areas and have the equipment and resources at their disposal to conduct hands-on instruction; this prepares students physically and emotionally to successfully complete their off-site internships. For the dental assisting program, the campus maintains and operates an on-site dental clinic that serves the community and allows students to complete internship hours under the apprenticeship of a licensed dentist on campus.
All but one internship occur during the instructional day and transportation is provided by the campus, solving the two major barriers to participation by disadvantaged students: afterschool transportation and/or work or family obligations. Participation has enabled some students to receive paid summer internships. Besides increasing their marketability on their resumes, the real-world application adds another level of preparation for the students’ upcoming national certification exams. Once passed, these exams position students to become eligible for jobs in that field immediately after high school graduation. Some students use this benefit to pay for their post-secondary education.