Certified Nurse Aide Program Receives New York State Model Program Recognition
The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program at Newburgh Free Academy North Campus was awarded Model Program recognition from New York State for 2019. The CNA program is one of 21 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that is offered within the walls of our high schools. The Newburgh Enlarged City School District (NECSD) is a non-component district of BOCES. CTE Model Program Recognition is open to all NYS districts and BOCES.
Director of Career and Technical Education Technical Assistance Center of NY (CTE TAC), Mr. Tim Ott and Ms. Rosemarie Posillico, Capital Region Field Representative, CTE TAC presented the award and delivered remarks. The main charge of their organization is to increase the number of programs offered as well as improve the quality of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs across the state.
Mr. Ott described the purpose and drive of recognizing high quality programs like that at NFA, “It seems over the years, we have been fighting a series of misperceptions that people have about Career and Technical Education. Many people think Career and Technical Education is a program if you’re not going to go to college. That is totally false. Career and Technical Education, as you exemplify here at Newburgh Free Academy is a way to prepare – an excellent way to prepare any student for college and a career.”
Criteria for Model Program recognition is developed from the National ACTE organization and Advanced CTE, who each have very strict criteria to determine the quality of a CTE program. Mr. Ott exclaimed, “Newburgh Free Academy’s program exceeds the highest level of each one of the eight criteria, so it was simply a no brainer to identify NFA’s Nurse Aide program for this award.” The Newburgh Free Academy Certified Nurse Aide program is one of two programs to receive Model Program recognition this year and the only program within the field of healthcare.
Eight specific categories are evaluated. The first categories are curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Curriculum must align with national health standards, but also with curriculum standards like math, science, English, and social studies. The instruction needs to be personalized and taught at a high level. Assessment must be rigorous. There are not many programs outside of CTE that require national recognized exams to receive a credential. Scholars in the NFA CNA program are required to take a New York State exam for certification, two National Industry/Job Readiness (NOCTI) exams, various certificate workshops, and rigorous self-assessments on a quarterly basis. Mr. Ott noted that the reason this program stands out more than others is the result of the relationships with business and industry. The relationship with the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, the local hospital, area colleges, and several nursing homes. This program is not just a school program, but it is a community program. Mr. Bill Kaplan, founder of the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and representatives from Mount St. Mary College, area nursing homes, and Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital were present at the ceremony.
The next criteria of evaluation is post-secondary articulation agreements. The program must be aligned with a credential at the post-secondary. The NFA CNA program has two of those. Work based learning is another criteria. The work in the hospital and nursing homes is essential to learning and contributing to the community. The last criteria is having facilities that have equipment that will mirror what you will see when you go into the world of work.
“As I have said, Newburgh Free Academy was off the charts in each of those criteria,” Mr. Ott exclaimed after listing each piece and how well the NFA CNA program compared.
Ms. Rosemarie Posillico, Capital Region Field Representative, CTE TAC also shared remarks. In May 2019, Ms. Posillico visited the program to learn more and to evaluate some of the criteria. During her visit, she asked several students what they would like to do with the education they were receiving through this program. “One student said a general practitioner who sponsors a clinic in Haiti, and another said that they would like to see all of the career options open to them when they begin working as a CNA.” Another student said that she was drawn to the program when she toured the high schools during 8th grade in preparation of her transition to high school. From her experience in the CNA program, that student said that the program is a gateway to all career options in the medical field.
The Certified Nursing Assistant program has grown from 12 students to 180 students since its inception in 2007. Ms. Posillico pointed out that several qualities that the teachers noted about their students are the same qualities that are often reflected from their own teachers. Ms. Posillico noted student’s admiration for the professionals with whom they work, eagerness and excitement to learn and succeed, professionalism, passion for their program and their role in it, a sense of community and team as they return as alumni mentors, dedication, civic-mindedness and being volunteer focused. She concluded by stating that those are all attributes that can also be found in their teachers who ultimately inspire these qualities in their students.
Ms. Posllico also noted careers of recent alumni who have graduated from the NFA North Certified Nursing Assistant program as RNs, LPNs in hospitals or hospice, medical billing agent, personal trainer, CNA in the military, and the list goes on.
Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson presented a certificate acknowledging the accomplishment this award represents.
The Nurse Aide program exemplifies characteristics of Career and Technical Education (CTE) consistent with those used by the national organizations ACTE and Advance CTE, and the NYS CTE Program Reviews to determine high quality CTE programs. It is an honor to bestow this recognition on the program.
The Nurse Aide program is designed for students in grades 10-12 who are interested in careers in healthcare, with many students aspiring to be nurses, doctors, or pharmacists, in addition to a wide range of healthcare fields. The curriculum is aligned to the national health science standards and math, science, history and English language arts is integrated through interdepartmental collaboration. Students are mentored through local community partners, such as St. Luke’s Hospital, Crystal Run Healthcare, and Sapphire Nursing, and receive invaluable clinical experience as a result. Whether graduating students enroll in post-secondary programs or enter the workforce, every student is offered employment with local employers prior to graduation. Students also have the opportunity to volunteer teaching younger students at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. Every Saturday, students in grades K-5 and every Wednesday, students in grades 6-8 attend nursing aide classes at the Armory that are age appropriate and geared toward healthcare.
The program is led by Linda Romano, 2018 National Association for Career and Technical Education Teacher of Year, and her commitment to the Health Sciences and passion for education is evident in the engagement and enthusiasm of the Nurse Aide program students.
“The model program recognition for our Nurse Aide Program represents the highest level of education a teacher and community can offer. Our collaboration with prestigious organizations like the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Mount Saint Mary College, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, and several other community organizations is the key element guiding the success of this program and most importantly, the success of our scholars.” Dr. Roberto Padilla, Superintendent of the Newburgh Enlarged City School district
"It is an honor and blessing to develop and grow the program. I am dedicated to the scholars by helping them find their purpose and help their career dreams come true. I love what I do here in the Newburgh School district. I feel the success of the program is through the work of the scholars past and present. Our alumni are the foundation and they are my source of energy, I love them all very much! Scholars in Scrubs/K to Career will create an impact on our community through health and wellness by creating our future healthcare leaders! This award is an incredible honor and I am so grateful to have our program and scholars at Newburgh Free Academy North Campus recognized." Mrs. Linda Romano, teacher at Newburgh Free Academy North Campus Nurse Aide program
Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla, co-principal of Newburgh Free Academy North Campus Mr. Matteo Doddo, Director of Career and Technical Education, Mr. John Etri, Board of Education members, Ms. Carol Maida and Ms. Sylvia Santiago. Multiple members of our central office were on hand to celebrate the recognition. Finally, program teachers Mrs. Linda Romano, Ms. Lorraine Moore, Dr. Stacy Shewpreshad, and Dr. Kristy Brown were there to receive recognition (and loud cheers and applause from the student audience).
TEACHERS: Are you and your students doing something great? Please contact your Communication Strategist. We’d love to attend or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district! Grades PreK-5 Amanda McDowell (email@example.com) and Grades 6-12 Cassie Sklarz (firstname.lastname@example.org).