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2017-2018 school year is here.

We started the school year last week with a pep rally which was also attended by the Academy students. The highlight of the pep rally was the dancing principal. It took a couple minuets too long for students and a few teachers to get on the gym floor and start dancing for me to stop cringing. She was cutting the rug, floor, like a champ. Mrs. Millard was my administrator a few years ago at Hayfield. She is topnotch and we are fortunate to have her as our principal.

The first week got off to the typical first week start which is even more atypical compared to other schools. The Academy has unique challenges which we deal with for sure at the front end of the year and go off and on during the school year. After a few roster issues we settled in to a routine which I expect will carry us through the first quarter and beyond. I have what seems like a great bunch of kids and am leaning forward with anticipation for the start of this school year.

I intend to update this blog at least two times a week and hopefully more. Please stay tuned and participate.

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The School Year Is Over

I did not make many blog entries this year as I was learning to be a blogger, lack of readers due to lack of marketing, and other events. I hope to keep up with this next school year (which is in just a few weeks) and let the students and parents know about it from the start.

I had 170 students in six classes this year. The time went by fast. Having a great group of kids made this so. I have even higher numbers signed up for next year but right now, I’m going to take a little break and enjoy the summer.

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First Day, Last Quarter

Today is the first day of the last quarter. The school year has flown by. My Exploring Health Sciences students will start the quarter with an introduction to first aid. The general first aid principles that will be covered today are: keep the victim lying down until the extent of injury is known, if vomiting, place the victim on their side to allow for drainage, and if difficulty breathing is present, put the victim in a sitting or semi-sitting position. An overview of shock, patient transportation, and triage will also be covered. During the next few weeks, several other topics will be taught. The students will learn hemorrhage control, fractures, sprains, and strains, burns, poisoning, bites and stings, and cold injuries. This will culminate in a final exam of wrapping and splinting and a first aid certification card.

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I skipped school today

Well, I didn’t really skip. I put in for a substitute teacher a few days ago for today. My wife and I went with our daughter to Georgetown University Hospital for genetic counseling and a blood test. My wife is BRCA1 positive and my daughter has a 50-50 chance of being positive as well. She (wife) has already undergone an oopherectomy and double mastectomy to reduce the risk of cancer. We got to GUH almost two hours early. My wife and I ate a 14 dollar breakfast and the daughter had coffee and stole fruit from my plate.

A very knowledgeable genetic counselor spent about an hour presenting the procedures, statistics, and choices that my daughter had/has to consider. She had already made up her mind to get the blood test and nothing the counselor said changed her mind. After the several pages of paper work was filled out, we walked over to another building and up a few floors for the blood draw. The nurse drew three tubes; a lavender top, a green top, and a red top. She drew them in the correct order and inverted them as required.

We will go back with her in three weeks to get the results. We are hoping for a negative result but she still has five or so years according to the stats until she has to start thinking about surgeries. She has a great attitude about the situation and it will all turn out good, no matter what the blood test shows.

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Infectious Diseases

Today my Exploring the Language of Medicine students will be learning about infectious diseases. I will start them off with the Chain of Infection. The six links in the chain are the infectious agent, the reservoir, the portal of exit, the mode of transmission, the portal of entry, and the susceptible host. The students will learn about each link and that if one link is broken, the chain of infection is broken and the spread of disease stops.

We will next study Ebola. This is one of my favorite diseases along with Malaria. I like viruses more than bacteria due to their character and mystery. The Ebola virus appears periodically and then disappears. The mortality rate is 50-90 percent. It is very deadly to humans and animals. In 1989, a strain of Ebola emerged in Reston, Virginia in laboratory monkeys. The monkeys all died or were put to death to stop the chain of infection. No human deaths from Ebola Reston were reported.

My Exploring Health Sciences students learn this as well but a little later in the school year. Infection control, diseases, and epidemiology are among my favorite topics in the study of medicine. I spent 26 years as a Navy Corpsman and one of my main jobs was preventive medicine. This included food service sanitation, immunizations, pest control and a lot more. Whenever there is an outbreak in the world, I take a break from whatever we are learning and study the disease or disaster. The Cholera outbreak in Haiti a few months ago is an example. Fortunately there is no Ebola outbreak presently but every day is a good day to study Ebola.

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The Blood Pressure Clinic

Millions of people worldwide are hypertensive. There are many causes, many ways to prevent hypertension, and several treatments. Last week my Exploring Health Sciences students performed research on blood pressure (BP). One of the ways that hypertension is diagnosed is the actual measurement of the blood pressure.

In April, my students will conduct a blood pressure clinic. We started several days ago learning how to use the BP cuff and stethoscope and have been practicing blood pressure measurement on each other. The next step in getting ready for the BP clinic is to prepare blood pressure information sheets. The students put the information from their research onto  paper that the BP Clinic patients will take with them after getting their blood pressure measured. The student will document the BP reading on this information sheet. So our patients will walk in, be greeted by a student, be seated, have their BP measured, and walk away with a blood pressure information sheet. All on one sheet of paper, the patient will have the causes, prevention, treatment, their BP reading, and a few websites that they can visit for more information. All this created by the student. The work and time put into this project reinforces what they learned and they have fun doing it. They learn to speak professionally and I sign off community service points for the students needing them.

Last year’s clinic was very successful. My kids had to go to different classrooms and ask teachers to bring their class in so we could stay busy. We had staff and faculty participation but this year I want more. I heard from one administrator that she did not come down for her BP reading because she was afraid of what the result may be. What? That’s one reason we are doing this. The first reason of course is the student’s education but the community service part comes in when we inform our patients about blood pressure. I will post the BP Clinic date when we are fully prepared.

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My courses and students

I teach two health occupations courses. Exploring Health Sciences introduces the students to careers in health care. Exploring the Language of Medicine focuses on anatomy, medical terminology, and disease and illness. I certify both classes in CPR for Healthcare Providers and First Aid. I have six classes of 170 students. We are part of the CTE department, formerly voc. ed. The courses are one credit electives. Most of my students are interested in a medical career. Many say that they want to be physicians. I emphasize the many other health occupations because the truth is that very few applicants get into medical school. For those students who are really serious about medical, dental, nursing school, etc., I encourage them to take every hard science and math course that they can. If then they have room on their schedule, sign up for my courses.

I also stress the career preparation part of the curriculum. Regardless of their chosen occupation, the students need to know how to write a resume and how to interview for a job. I also talk to them a lot about college admissions and the value of the local community college. I am fortunate to be able to combine my long-time medical career with my other long-time career of education. I also lucked out with a great group of kids who for the most part, want to be in my classroom and want to learn.

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Hello world!

I decided to start a blog telling about what my students learn in their high school medical science courses. Today, we are learning about different diseases. The assignment started by researching different diseases that I gave them. Well, I didn’t make them ill, I just gave them a piece of paper with a disease name written on it. They research causes, signs/symptoms, treatment, etc. Two students were given the same disease. Today, they got together on how to present it to their classmates. The class had to take notes. They will be given an open note test immediately following the presentations. I do this at least once per year. They learn a lot and I get to sit at my desk.

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