Counselors live what students will experience

October 7, 2013

From chippewa.com: “Counselors live what students will experience” — EAU CLAIRE – At McDonell Central High School in Chippewa Falls, it’s part of Jerry Van Dyke’s job to advise students on college and career selections and keep their high school experiences on track so they can reach their goals. He just got a little better at it.

Now Van Dyke will be able to tell his students from firsthand experience what they’re going to need in some of Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC’s) most popular programs.

“I’m here to learn about what young students in the program are experiencing right out of high school. It’s learning about it through practical experience,” Van Dyke said. He was one of dozens of high school counselors attending a recent conference at CVTC in which they were updated on requirements and expectations in the FireMedic, Paramedic/EMT, Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement and Paralegal programs.

However, the CVTC students who acted as instructors for the session did not just talk to the counselors about the credits required. They had them dressing in firefighter’s gear, holding a spraying fire hose, climbing ladders, tearing apart a wrecked car, checking vitals on a simulated patient, and many other activities that students in the programs face.

“I can advise kids so much better after today,” said Aaron Hass, the counselor at Mondovi High School. “I will have the practical experience to say, ‘I was in on that session, and you need (Advanced Placement) one and two.’”

Counselors from the area meet at CVTC once a year. “The purpose is to give them an overview of admission requirements and programs and update them on changes,” said Gayle Ostermann of Menomonie, an enrollment specialist at CVTC who works closely with the counselors. “This year was different because we decided to target one of our career clusters.” A survey of the counselors led to selection of the Law, Public Safety and Security cluster.

The CVTC staff planning the event decided to make it a hands-on experience, and to have students, who were so recently high school students themselves, conduct the sessions.

“The level of maturity of the students now in college was displayed to the counselors, who can talk about that with their high school students too,” Ostermann said.

Van Dyke sees the opportunity to take what he’s learned back to McDonell, where he can quickly dispel some of the misconceptions of students who think they don’t need this-or-that class to pursue a chosen career.

“One of the (Criminal Justice program) students pointed out the need for communication skills. That’s something 17-year-olds don’t realize,” Van Dyke said.

“The kids would be surprised by the amount of academics,” Hass said. “A lot of them want to skid through high school and think tech school will just be easy. (In Paramedic/EMT) they have to take anatomy and physiology.”

“In firefighting, they have to know physics, and do math right in the truck,” Van Dyke added.

“Math is so incredibly important. Kids need math skills and need to continue them because of the safety factor,” said Linda Mikunda, counselor at Barron High School.

Barb Van Doorn of Lake Holcombe High School had a different perspective. Academic requirements can be found in publications. “But we saw firsthand exactly what you need for FireMedic. You get a better idea of what students are going through. We are always so concerned about cognitive abilities, but with this program we learned what is physically needed, and what is emotionally needed.”

“We thought the sessions would energize them” said Ostermann. “There were a lot of smiles today.”

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: