Members of the Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday night heard appraisals from Joplin High School students enrolled in the Missouri Southern Center for Advanced Professional Studies program, which is designed to provide students with college credits and experience in a variety of workplaces.
Students Evelyn Watson, a junior; Ellie Hall, a senior; Allison McDaniel, a junior; and Masyn Briggs, a senior; along with MOSO CAPS Director Suzanne Hull; Mike Gurley, director for the health services program; and Debra Smith, director of the business program, spoke to the board about student experiences in the program.
Joplin Superintendent Kerry Sachetta said the program is doing what was expected when it was proposed two years ago.
“I got that that was just what we expected, money well spent,” Sachetta said. “And I feel like the kids are very invested in the process. They very much like their instructors, and they feel the camaraderie, and they feel like it’s another unit when they’re there, and they kind of understand what it’s like when they get in the workforce.”
Allison McDaniel, a JHS junior in the health sciences program, talked about her experiences in the program.
“So far this fall,” McDaniel said, “my first experience was at the Freeman NICU, and I got to sit in on a C-section and just be around all the nurses and doctors. And my second one was at Mercy, and I was in the surgical suite and got to sit in on many surgeries. My third one was at the 50th Street Mercy Clinic, and I was in the pediatric side. I got to see what an everyday clinic looks like and what the pediatrician and nurse practitioners do. My fourth rotation was at the emergency department at Mercy and that was probably my favorite because I got to see a little bit of everything and it was a very fast-paced environment.”
In the spring, she said, she hopes to spend more time in the Freeman intensive care unit.
Hull said the fall semester consists of classwork and then four short, three-week experiences at different industry partners to give students a wide variety of experiences.
“It’s very much like speed dating. A lot of times the students are like, it’s just so fast, and they’re on to the next one,” Hull said. “It’s just so they can see what a career can look like from four different industry partner settings. In the spring, they get extended settings. It might be an eight-week and a seven-week with two different industry partners or it could be a 15-week experience.”
Hall said she initially wanted to pursue becoming a teacher but that her experience in MOSO CAPS has changed her mind.
“My first rotation was second grade at Irving Elementary, and I loved every minute of it,” Hall said. “Then my second rotation was fourth grade and I got pneumonia, so I was only there once. My third placement, I decided to go to behavioral health at Mercy, and I fell in love with every single thing about what the nurses in mental health do and really getting to experience all the different things in our community. That has changed my mind in what I want to do, so I’m considering mental health nursing now instead of education.”
Hull said that’s not an uncommon experience for college students, but students like Hall got to experience different careers and she found her passion early.
“So she’s totally changed, which is sort of the beauty of the program,” Hull said. “They’re like, ‘This is not what I want to do with the rest of my life,’ so she found a passion there. I hate to take away a great teacher because I think you’d be an awesome teacher as well, but she’s going to go the nursing route.”
Hull said Joplin High School got a late start to the program in 2023, so only nine of Joplin’s 12 seats in the program were filled.
Sachetta said students are talking about the program and that he’s fairly confident the remaining seats will be filled in the fall of 2024.
Information about MOSO CAPS is available at https://mosocaps.yourcapsnetwork.org.