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MCCC Partners with Mercer County Technical Schools
To Provide College Classes for Health Science Academy
Ninth Graders Near End of First Year


West Windsor, N.J.- For high school students who already have their sights set on careers in health care, the Health Science Academy at the Mercer County Technical Schools' Assunpink Center is proving the ideal place to earn a high school diploma - as well as prepare for the rigors of college. Through a partnership with Mercer County Community College, students are benefitting from a challenging curriculum and will be taking college classes at Mercer by the time they are high school juniors.

According to MCCC Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Guy Generals, this collaborative program reflects a growing movement in education to help high schools better align their curriculum with what students will encounter at the college level. "The entire curriculum for this program was developed with input and discussions between MCCC and the technical school," Generals said. "These students will be well-prepared for a challenging course of study in college."

As the first class of 28 students nears the end of its 9th grade year, MCTS Principal Lucille Jones reports that these self-motivated students are "achieving, growing and getting the kind of intensive health care focus that would not be possible in a traditional school setting."

Ninth graders in the Health Science Academy participate in a DNA fingerprinting lab, with the task of identifying DNA restriction fragment patterns. Students pictured, from left, are Mary Alice Orent, Jennifer Estrada, Timothy Watkins, Brianna Sheppard and Piyush Puri.

Specialized classes offered at the academy include Dynamics of Health Care and First Aid Certification in 9th grade, Fundamentals of Clinical Care and CPR Certification in 10th grade, Emergency and Clinical Care, including ethics and public policy, in 11th grade, and Introduction to Forensics, basic EMT certification and internship opportunities in 12th grade.

Additionally, in their junior and senior years, Health Science Academy students will begin testing the waters at college by taking up to seven classes and earning 21 credits at Mercer. Their MCCC classes will range from psychology and sociology, to anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and medical terminology.

Says MCCC Dean of Health Professions, Dr. Linda Martin, "We look forward to serving these students, who have identified their commitment to the health care field so early. They are likely to be our future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, radiographers and more." She notes that with expanded health care services expected to become available in the United States in the near future and a steadily increasing aging population, the need for highly skilled health professionals is projected to grow considerably.

All students enrolled in MCTS' Health Science Academy become members of the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA). In March, 15 students competed in the New Jersey HOSA State Competition, with six earning the opportunity to compete at the National HOSA Competition later this month. Two students were elected to serve as HOSA State Officers.

According to Lori Perlow, MCTS' communications officer, the enrollment process for the 2011 ninth grade class is almost complete, but a few openings remain. She notes that admission criteria are rigorous, with middle school grades, scores on national tests, and performance on an entrance assessment all considered. Learn more about the program here.

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