Through distance learning and collaboration with National Healthcareer Association® (NHA), high schools in rural Texas and Alabama empower career tech programs and students with access to certification exams, preparation materials and study guides for allied health careers. They deliver a comprehensive set of tools that are driving successful externships, 90 percent pass rates, and quality job placements.
While health science may be the subject Rená Kuehler is teaching to high school students in Amarillo, Texas, it’s the self- sufficiency, stability and humility she sees develop in her students over time that are the real fruits of her labor.
“They gain confidence, they walk taller, they start to become determined and focused professionals,” says Kuehler.
Kuehler, a registered nurse with over 30 years of clinical and teaching experience, helps students prepare for careers in medical assisting and EKG testing at the Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning (AACAL).
Amarillo is the largest population center for the famously remote and vast Texas Panhandle. Through its Gateway distance- learning program, AACAL serves students in the Amarillo area as well as rural high schools in a four-county area that covers more than 2,000 square miles.
Well-designed online resources and remote learning tools are not minor amenities; they are mission-critical necessities for the families and students that rely on AACAL.
“Our remote high schools – and our students – are spread out across a large area, so AACAL and our health science programs are built for distance learning,” says Kuehler. “All students have iPads, our classrooms have webcams for online classes, and analytics – Learning Insights – from NHA help us track performance whether the student attends class in-person or online.”
AACAL ensures that its curriculum is aligned with the medical assistant (CCMA), EKG Technician (CET), and Patient Care Technician/ Assistant (CPCT/A) certification exams from NHA. Additionally, AACAL integrates NHA’s preparation tools into its health science program.
“NHA certification preparation materials, in my opinion, are more engaging for students since they use a mix of video and interactive practice drills to help students focus on key concepts,” says Kuehler. “NHA study guides are some of the best I’ve seen for online teaching and distance learning.”
The Amarillo school district also has many ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language) students who may not have strong English- speaking skills and who need clarification on instructions or materials. Kuehler says NHA’s customer service teams do a great job answering these questions, responding to special requests, and onboarding new certification candidates.
“The tech-friendly certification tools help us meet our students where they are,” says Kuehler. “NHA is flexible and creative, so they fit our unique learning environment well.”