Students teach what they’ve learned at community event

Sophomores at Elevate Academy in Caldwell invited community members to their school earlier this week to teach them what they’ve learned about culinary and health safety skills.

The teens administered CPR to an infant doll, stopped a bleed, gave an EpiPen and demonstrated food safety techniques.

Culinary skills and health safety and two certified trades for Elevate teenagers.

Elevate Academy is a 6-12 grade career technical charter school in its 5th year, serving “at-risk” students or those with chronic absenteeism, underperforming test scores or challenging life circumstances. Students rotate through eight trades and eventually specialize in one.

Teachers aimed for this initial “You Plus Me Equal Community” event to allow students to teach the community, and also show them what it means to be a good community partner and employee.

“Our kids are going to be able to help you if you have a stroke, if you’re bleeding. [They know how] to use an EpiPen,” explained medical arts teacher Diana Mysinger, who has been at the school since it opened five years ago.

At the event, students Carrie Kamerman and Rylea Dewitt taught infant CPR in detail, including how many compressions per minute to administer, where and how deep to press down on the chest, and even what to do if you only have one hand available while administering CPR.

For the past few weeks, Carrie and Rylea would finish their school work and then find a quiet place to practice their presentation. They also made flyers to hand out to attendees.

“We really love doing big projects like these,” Carrie explained. “They are really fun to us. They help us get out of our comfort zone…and prepare us for the real world.”

Rylea said she invests more in projects like these over traditional school assignments: “I learn more from it because I’m working harder at it.”

Carrie and Rylea both want to pursue careers in the medical field — Carrie wants to be a labor and delivery nurse and Rylea an emergency medical technician (EMT). Both will earn certifications at Elevate that start them on those medical paths — they will graduate with medical assistant (MA) and certified nurse assistant (CNA) certifications.

Students used core classes to prepare for the event, working on writing their presentations and sending out emails about the event in their English class, analyzing statistics in their math class and studying bacteria in their science class.

It’s this teamwork among instructors that English teacher Michele Bonneau loves about Elevate. “We have that ability to just work together constantly to ensure that our kids are getting what they need.”

Several parents walked around the presentations, the faces of their kids lighting up when they saw them approach their booth. Bonneau explained that she and her team called every single parent before the day, inviting them to come.

Success for Elevate centers not on test scores but around seeing students using the skills they developed in school to successfully navigate life as an adult. A student cannot graduate without making a specific “life plan.”

Bonneau said it’s not always easy working with the students at Elevate, but it’s rewarding. She marveled at what the students have overcome stating, “There are kids here who show up every day, despite the fact that they have some incredibly challenging home circumstances, and it’s really cool to see what they can do.”

Mysinger also acknowledged the difficulties her students face in life, holding up a simple sign that read, “E+R=O,” or “Events+Response=Outcome.”

Diana Mysinger, medical arts teacher, poses with Elevate’s “Events+Response=Outcome” sign.

“This is something that we teach every day. You can come in with the worst attitude in the entire world. You can have a horrible event, how do we respond to it? (That’s what creates) the (outcome) of our day.”

Bonneau anticipated continuing this event in the future. “A lot of these kids have struggled with school and things haven’t come easily to them for a variety of reasons…but by and large they all had such pride in their projects. And that just feels really good.”

Katie McGuire

Katie McGuire

Katie McGuire is a freelance reporter for EdNews. She lives in Meridian with her husband and their two children. She has a bachelor's degree in secondary education social science teaching from Brigham Young University and a master's in history from Kent State University.

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday