St. John’s keeping up with educational developments

BELLAIRE – Students at St. John’s Central High School are taking advantage of distance learning opportunities to study medical procedures, thanks to The Ohio State University Medical Center and The Center of Science and Industry (COSI). The two educational entities have been working together to offer interactive videoconferencing.

Tuesday, St. John’s Anatomy & Physiology classes and students in the Science Club witnessed a kidney transplant, narrated live by a member of The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Transplant Team.

Students were given booklets to follow along with the procedure, and were able to ask experts questions about what they were seeing.

In addition to the actual surgical procedure, students learned about the functions of the kidney, causes of kidney disease, organ donation and healthcare careers involved in the surgery. Five schools, including others in Ohio and one in Alaska, joined in on the videoconference.

Seniors Kaitlyn Santinoceto and Kate Carpenter explained that the kidney transplant is one of several procedures which have been seen via videoconference at St. John’s.

Students have also witnessed a total knee replacement surgery and an autopsy narrated live by a forensic pathologist. On the autopsy lesson, students were tasked with working through the case to solve for cause of death.

Santinoceto said the medical procedures allow students an in-depth look at careers in the medical field.

“If you want to go into something medical, seeing it before can help make a decision,” said Santinoceto. “It touches on jobs within the operating room.”

The surgeon’s-eye view shown in the kidney transplant videoconference was a unique learning experience for students, providing a more realistic approach than textbooks and diagrams.

“It’s very interactive,” said Carpenter. “It’s a good experience.”

Videoconferencing is not the only new innovation at St. John’s. The school has implemented in-house postsecondary courses, meaning students can take college courses without leaving the building. The Post Secondary Enrollment Program (PSEOP) allows high school students to earn college credit and high school graduation credit at the same time.

“A lot of schools do this, but you have to actually leave the school,” explained Principal Sheila Blackmore. She said the way St. John’s is offering PSEOP prevents students from missing out on their high school experience.

St. John’s PSEOP classes are offered in conjunction with Eastern Gateway Community College, and credits can be transferred to any public Ohio university and some West Virginia schools including West Liberty and Wheeling Jesuit.

Students who begin PSEOP in their sophomore year can earn an entire year’s worth of credits for college. Classes currently on offer at St. John’s are Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communications, Spanish and English Composition I and II; the classes are being taught by St. John’s teachers who have been accredited by Eastern Gateway. They hold Master’s degrees in their respective fields.

This year, 17 students have been taking PSEOP classes, and guidance counselor Carrie Ramsay expects the program to expand.

“This was our first year, and it actually went really well,” said Ramsay. Blackmore added that parents seemed excited at the prospect of free college.

Registrations are being accepted indefinitely at St. John’s, but the deadline to apply for financial aid is April 25.

For questions about St. John’s PSEOP classes, call the Guidance Office at 740-676-4932.

Warner may be reached at