For high school students Whitney Brown, 17, and Alexandra Santrock, 16, attendingMattoonHigh Schoolpresented certain challenges that they struggled to overcome. They struggled academically and socially, which in turn, discouraged their attendance.
Brown and Santrock found a way to overcome those challenges when they were introduced to Pathways to the Future, an alternative high school program offered by Lake Land College in cooperation with the Regional Office of Education #11 in Charleston and the Regional Office of Education #3 in Effingham.
The girls, along with 12 other classmates at theMattoonlocation, get to work at their own pace academically. Some of their goals include graduating from high school by the age of 18. Brown and Santrock also took on earning their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential. Along with regular high school coursework, this spring semester the girls’ studies included 95 hours of theory and classroom work in addition to 40 hours of clinical practice at a local healthcare agency to complete the CNA requirements.
For the clinical portion of their CNA program, the girls were placed at Mattoon Health Care every Tuesday and Thursday for four weeks. There, they practiced hands-on nursing skills with an elderly population. Santrock, who turns 17 in September, will be able to work as a CNA after her 17th birthday, and intends to do just that.
While Pathways offers an alternative option to students in traditional high school settings, programs like this in the state of Illinois are facing dire budget cuts. Pathways serves the student population of Lake Land College’s district between ages 16 and 21 who have dropped out or are at-risk of dropping out of school. The program includes GED preparation, high school transfer credit courses, job-seeking and job-keeping skills, parenting, vocational education, dual-credit and co-op credit opportunities. To learn more about Pathways at Lake Land College, visit their website here. You may also contact Muffler directly at 217-238-8383 or by email here. Private gifts can be given to support Pathways. To give to this program, contact the Lake Land College Foundation at 217-234-5363.