Region 9 board learns about nursing assistant, early childhood programs

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MEXICO — The Region 9 Cooperative Board heard overviews of two more of the vocational school’s programs Wednesday night as a prelude to developing the 20013-14 operating budget.

The presentations are also meant to more fully educate the board about the vocational education available to students from the three sending schools of Mountain Valley High School, Telstar High School, and Dirigo High School.

“I’ve been happy with all the programs who have reported to us,” said Bruce Ross, a representative from RSU 10.

Wednesday was the third meeting when a majority of the time was devoted to hearing about the vocational programs.

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The instructors of the final two programs will make their presentations at the March 6 meeting.

On Wednesday, two programs that have been popular with junior and senior girls, although a few boys have completed the programs as well, were presented by the certified nurse’s aid instructor, Wendy Low, and early childhood education instructor, Terri Provencher.

The early childhood program at Region 9 began only a few years ago and has had a 95 percent success rate, Provencher said. Many have gone on to two- or four-year colleges in early childhood education, or another closely related field, while some students have become certified as early childhood assistants or have opened their own day care centers or pre-schools.

“We try to support where the students’ interests are,” Provencher said, adding that assistance is provided to senior students who want to go on to college.

She said the size of the class varies from year-to-year. This year’s enrollment is 20 students.

Between 16 and 20, 3- and 4-year-olds attend the early childhood program, four mornings a week, when students use what they have learned about nutrition, curriculum and preparation.

Wendy Low, BSN, has taught the entry level one-year health program at Region 9 for seven years. Eventually she’d like to offer a two-year program by adding life sciences.

Currently, students in the CNA program are introduced to the various medical fields and receive hands-on experience in the lab sciences, respiratory illnesses, paramedical science, and school nursing, among others.

At the end of the program, students take a Maine State Competency Assessment test to become certified. They also learn CPR during the class.

Twenty students are enrolled this school year.

She said 95 percent of her students have also chosen to enter the medical field either as a CNA or have gone onto college to earn degrees in a variety of health-related occupations.

The board will visit each of the school’s vocational programs on Feb. 6, which is the date of the next meeting. That regular monthly meeting will likely be held earlier than the usual 6:30 p.m. time. An announcement will be made of the new time at a later date.

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