Students with dreams of becoming a pharmacist, engineer or certified nursing assistant are all getting a head start on their careers through classes offered in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.
Students can follow one of five clusters – in Business, Management and Administration, Health Sciences, Hospitality and Tourism, Skilled Crafts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) – that prepare them for jobs in businesses and industries right here in St. John the Baptist Parish, or wherever they choose to live.
These options are always expanding, with three more choices available to students for the 2019-20 school year.
The school district is continuing its trend of partnering with some of the state’s leading universities by adding a partnership with Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy for the 2019-20 school year.
Students at the St. John STEM Magnet School who follow the pre-pharmacy pathway can earn credentials that include preferred admission into the Xavier University College of Pharmacy upon graduation. Students who prefer to enter the workforce after high school will be prepared for careers as a pharmacy technician, pharmacy assistant or medical coder. The partnership will also provide unique opportunities to interact with College of Pharmacy staff, such as a recent summer session at the university attended by several St. John students.
The district is entering its second year of partnership with Louisiana State University for its pre-engineering pathway. Through hands on projects and interaction with industry professionals, the curriculum prepares students to compete in the 21st century by engaging them in understanding the fundamentals of engineering in the classroom as well as in the workplace and exposing them to the numerous career options available in this field, including careers available locally such as petroleum and chemical engineering. Student who prefer to enter the workforce after high school will be prepared for careers as a mechanical drafter, mechanical engineering technician, architectural and civil drafter, surveying and mapping technician or computer programmer.
Another added partnership this year is with Delgado Community College, which will allow students to earn college credits in Hospitality and Tourism. Shannon Smith-Magee, the school district’s coordinator of curriculum/instruction/assessment, said she hopes to get students involved in the growing hotel industry in LaPlace and one of the fastest growing industries in Louisiana – tourism.
The third new offering this school year is an Auto Tech I course. This course will expose students to small engines and repairs for those interested in becoming a certified automotive repair technician.
“Our strongest program is the CNA (certified nursing assistant) department,” Smith-Magee said. “We are working on become a testing center for our CNA students this year.”
The nursing department enrolls approximately 40 CNA students each school year. At least 95 percent of students complete the course and leave high school ready for a career as a certified nursing assistant or prepared to continue their studies to purse a degree in nursing or other medical field. Likewise, 95 percent of the approximately 33 students enrolled in the first responder program earn their certification each school year.
The business department continues to offer courses in digital media such as introduction to business, digital graphics and digital media. Through these courses, students can earn a credential in Adobe Certified Associate areas such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Premiere Pro. Welding, carpentry, culinary and information technology are among the longstanding options for students.