District 214 offers a prescription for health career success
Hatice Canbolat has wanted to be a doctor since she became interested in science in third grade. This summer, Canbolat, who will be a senior at Buffalo Grove High School in the fall, is getting hands-on experience as an intern at Athletico Physical Therapy as part of Northwest Suburban High School District 214's Health Sciences Career Pathway.
"I shadow the doctors there and observe the individual plans they have for each patient," said Canbolat, who wants to become a pediatric surgeon. "Interning at Athletico helps me gain experience in the medical field, teaches me key concepts about physical therapy and allows me to be in a professional environment."
Canbolat has been taking Advanced Placement science and math courses as part of District 214's Health Science Career Pathway since her sophomore year. The program offers students basic pathway courses to ground them in health sciences as well as electives such as AP Biology, AP Chemistry and AP Psychology. In addition, the pathway includes internship opportunities like Canbolat's, as well as industry mentorships and certification opportunities.
The program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of health care professions, from emergency medical technicians and paramedics and nurses and nursing assistants to physician assistants, pharmacists, doctors, surgeons, dentists and psychiatrists, all of which will be in high demand in the future, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to these programs, District 214 is launching a "Middle College" health careers partnership this fall: an opportunity for students to spend their senior year at Harper College, earning dual credit and getting a jump start on their careers and their college education.
"It is giving students the opportunity to earn around 30 hours of college credit in a health career certification or degree area that will help them progress into their health career futures," said Dan Weidner, director of Academic Programs and Pathways. "Through our career pathways, we're really trying to help students decide what their postsecondary path is while still in high school, so they can go to college with purpose."
At Elk Grove High School, Caryn Blanke teaches introduction to health careers and medical terminology classes. There, students study the human body and medical terminology and learn skills such as how to speak to patients and interact with a team, and how to chart patient information. In addition, 10 to 15 health care professionals speak to the classes throughout the year to talk about their work in the field.
"This is a great advantage for students in our health care classes, because they are meeting professionals face to face and starting to make connections," Blanke said.
Jenna Baltes, who will be a senior at Prospect High School this fall, said teachers in the Health Science Career Pathway have made a substantial impact on her life.
"All have inspired my career in health science and helped me learn … why science is such an incredible and interesting field," she said.
In addition to her courses, Baltes is getting hands-on experience through a pharmaceutical internship at Walgreens this summer, another District 214 partner, working with pharmacists and doing the work of a pharmacy technician to advance her medical knowledge.
"I couldn't see myself in any other field," said Baltes, who wants to become a military doctor one day, carrying on her family's generations-long legacy of service. "Being able to help others through the pathway of science is truly a dream of mine."
About this seriesThis story is part of a 16-week series looking at Northwest Suburban High School District 214's Career Pathways program.
To join District 214's Career Pathways effort as an internship host, career mentor or classroom speaker, contact Barb Kain in the Teaching and Learning Department, firstname.lastname@example.org. To support the program financially through a sponsorship, early career credentials or college credits for students, naming or other contribution, contact Erin Brooks with the District 214 Education Foundation, email@example.com.