Everyday students complete one of nine hands-on learning centers on a rotating schedule. Health checks include taking an animal’s temperature, pulse, respiration rates and logging them into the animal’s health record. Instructor Carter Stevens says, “it is good practice for the students since heart rates can be hard to find.”
If a student is on cleaning duty, they will launder towels used for the animals, clean animal dishes, sanitize cages and workstations.
Another center is customer services, ie taking appointments, checking and responding to emails and preparing invoices for services. Current services include grooming, nail clipping, teeth cleaning, and ear cleaning. At this time, services are limited to pets owned by building staff. Once the students gain more experience, Stevens says she hopes to offer services to the general public.
Alex Bautista, a junior at Saratoga Springs High School, says he wants to be a veterinarian. He attended a career fair at his school and representatives from college told him that attending BOCES CTE would help his chances to get into a veterinary program at the college level.
“The program is awesome. It is setting me up for a career in the trade,” said Bautista.
Emma Okosky, a junior from Schuylerville learned about the program through a neighbor.
“I think it is cool because if I don’t go to college I can still get a job in the veterinary field. I like to take care of animals and I get to do that every day to see what the field is like.
Students completing the program will be certified to be a veterinary assistant or they can go on for further education to become a veterinary technician or veterinarian.
Carter plans to hold a career expo at the end of the school year so that students will know what they need to do to get on the pathway that is right for them.
The program partners with shelters and rescue organizations like Homes for Orphaned Pets Exist (H.O.P.E.) and Hop on Home Rabbit Sanctuary by fostering animals. “We’re trying to teach students the value of working with the community,” Stevens said. “We’ve already helped with the successful adoption of 2 cats, which makes our students feel great.”
More information about the Small Animal Science program at WSWHE BOCES is available online at www.careerandteched.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2758534&type=d&pREC_ID=2300960
Additional photos available @WSWHEBOCES on Facebook.