Future of healthcare science pathway remains unknown


Shalin Bhatia

The healthcare classroom teaches students about skills in the healthcare field.

Shalin Bhatia

As the Midtown administration is working to phase the last students out of the Healthcare Sciences pathway, the current status of the pathway is deliberate and planned out. 

After multiple turnover of teachers, the administration was left with a vacancy for the 2021-2022 school year and turned to former healthcare teacher Leola McNeill, who taught the pathway from 2009 to 2019.

“I decided to come back and teach again because [the Midtown administration] didn’t have anyone to fill the slot; so, the students didn’t have a regular teacher,” McNeill said. “I told [the administration] that I would help out if they couldn’t find a teacher.”

Sophomore Lucas Santa Barbara believes McNeill has the necessary experience to teach healthcare.

“From what I’ve heard, she’s been teaching for a while,” Santa Barbara said.  “She’s retired now but came back to teach this year. I think that’s nice; so, overall, I think the teacher is great.”

While McNeill said she has a passion for teaching students about healthcare and making an impact in their lives, returning from retirement has challenges.

“I have so many new technology things I need to learn, like Zoom,” McNeill said. “When students are not in the classroom, I need to make sure how they get the information they need.  It’s been a challenge to try to acclimate because I’m not on board with all my pieces yet.”

Sophomore Julian Ender was unaware of the teacher change this school year. He was surprised when he saw McNeill the first day of school.

“I don’t think I was told the teacher was going to be different,” Ender said. “I don’t think they [the Midtown administration] could handle this better, and I do like that they brought a previous healthcare teacher back.”

Currently, there is a shortage of nurses across the board and available for recruitment, fueled by the pandemic. McNeill is just a part-time teacher; so, uncertainty still lies in the future of Midtown’s healthcare pathway. 

“If they [the Midtown administration] get someone else who applies for the job, I would understand, but I would love to stay here for the entire school year,” McNeill said. 

Even though the healthcare pathway secured a teacher in the short term, its teacher turnover led the administration to question whether the pathway should continue. According to McNeill, the administration decided to shift the healthcare science pathway to the Atlanta College and Career Academy.

“There is a career academy now on a college campus,” McNeill said. “So, that will take over the [healthcare science] pathway.”