High school students in Northeast Iowa have a new educational opportunity open to them thanks to an innovative community partnership and the work of Iowa BIG North (IBN) students. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) has approved the Charles City High School’s application to offer a unique 75-hour certified nursing assistant (CNA) program.
This program contains rigorous curriculum established and approved by the State of Iowa and is unique for two reasons. One, it is one of four high school programs across the state that is a stand-alone high school program not tied to a community college; and, two, the program is the first in the state designed and implemented by students through a business partnership.
Iowa BIG North students worked with managers at Chautauqua Guest Homes to obtain DIA approval and specifically tailored these classes to meet the needs of high school students. The program allows for flexibility to engage students in the class while still allowing them to be involved in the full high school experience.
Twelve junior and senior students at Charles City High School have completed the initial session of the new CNA class and will be the first IBN class to be awarded the DIA certificate of completion. Sue Ayers, administrator at 9th Street Chautauqua Guest Homes in Charles City, also presented each 2018 program graduate with a letter of intent to hire following testing at one of the Chautauqua facilities in Charles City. This demonstrates the demand for CNAs across the state. Graduates can be employed as soon as skills and written tests are passed for the CNA exam at a community college.
Iowa BIG North is a consortium of school districts in Northeast Iowa (Charles City, New Hampton, Osage and Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock) which share resources to offer an educational experience centered around student-passion, student-led, problem-based and authentic learning and a 2017-2018 recipient of the STEM BEST® award from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.