Sixteen students from Lake Washington School District (LWSD) have achieved something that less than one-half of 1% of test takers achieve. These students earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36.
Dental Careers program in WANIC Skills Center
Editor’s note: Photo is from early 2020, before the pandemic.
Did you know dentists are usually the first healthcare professionals to recognize and identify a wide variety of diseases, ranging from hypertension to oral cancer? In fact, they diagnose and treat problems affecting the teeth, gingival tissue, lips, tongue and jaws. These oral diseases often reveal other health issues that may require a follow up with the patient’s primary physician. Dental careers provide an essential healthcare service.
That’s why Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is exposing students to this career path through the high demand Dental Careers program. Taught by high school teacher Katie Oostra, courses equip students with the 21st century skills to prepare them for the global workforce.
“The Dental Careers program is a great opportunity for students who are interested in any career in the dental field,” said Oostra. "The program is unique because students get real-world, hands-on learning experience to become a dental assistant. It also builds a foundation for students to continue their studies to become a dental hygienist or a doctor of oral medicine.”
Students dive in a variety of healthcare related topics, including dental sciences, dental material, clinical procedures, infection control, preventive dentistry, and much more.
These courses are part of the Washington Network for Innovative Careers (WANIC) Skill Center. Dental Careers is just one of the numerous skill center programs offered throughout the East King County region. These Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are based on rigorous academic and industry standards to prepare students for career and college readiness.
Juniors and seniors have the special opportunity to high quality, tuition-free, technical and professional training. Furthermore, they can take advantage of dual credit opportunities earning both high school and college credit. Most programs also lead to industry recognized certifications.
“I love sharing my passion for dentistry with my students.” Oostra continued. “Students earn high school and college credits. Plus, they are able to start a great career right out of high school!”
The program operates as a cooperative consortium of eight local school districts. Other member districts include: Bellevue, Everett, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Northshore, Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley.