Return to Headlines

Health students earning certifications through first aid, CPR unit

March 12, 2020


Two students practicing CPR on a mannequin in class

Poland Central School District ninth-grader Angelea Phillips (right) practices cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a mannequin in teacher Sandy Hitt’s classroom as ninth-grader Chloe Roark (left) looks on ready to assist.


POLAND – About 35 Poland Central School District students in teacher Sandy Hitt’s first period health class are learning first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation – including earning certifications.

Ninth-grader Forest Martin said students are learning various types of CPR covering both infants and adults.

“I liked learning all of the different ways of doing CPR – that was fun,” he said. “I think it’s good because you never know when something is going to happen, and you’ll be able to try to help others.”

The first aid and CPR unit has lasted about four weeks. Infant and adult CPR can be practiced with mannequins that light up and tell you if you’re doing it correctly or not. First aid covers strokes, nose bleeds, poisonings, fractures, dislocations, burns and more.

When Hitt presented a willingness to attend a two-day class in November 2019 that would extend her teaching skills for the unit and at the same time allow students in her class an opportunity to earn certification, Poland administrators gave her the go-ahead.

“This is just one example of Mrs. Hitt's long-standing focus on finding ways to make her students' classroom learning experiences relevant and meaningful,” Superintendent Laura Dutton said. “Mrs. Hitt has an uncommon commitment to topics of safety, wellness and good citizenship. Supporting Mrs. Hitt's plans to enhance her health program was an easy decision for Principal Greg Cuthbertson and me.”

Hitt now has certification in teaching the unit, so students can earn certifications through the class.

“I’ve always done first aid, but they weren’t leaving with certification,” Hitt said. “We’re really excited that they’re going to be able to get certifications right here in school – and with cheaper prices.”

To earn the certification, students completed physical tests using the mannequins and also have to pass three written tests through American Red Cross.

“The most important thing is I want them to know what to do in case of an emergency,” Hitt said.

Hitt’s first period health class includes students in grades 9-12 and is mostly ninth-graders. The students each picked a topic from the unit and learned it enough to teach it to others. Many students used PowerPoint presentations and demonstrations to teach their topics.

Forest Martin said challenges of the unit included having the whole class watching you while you do CPR, and he messed up a couple of times during the testing and had to do it over.

“But at the end, it was pretty fun,” he said. “I got it all done; got a 100.”

Ninth-grader Shelbi Hagues said she also didn’t like doing CPR in front of others, but it got better as she went, and it helped being able to work with a partner for some of it.

It feels good to be earning the certification and know what she is doing,” she said.

“Yeah, it’s better in case anything ever happens to my family,” she said.

In the future, Hitt hopes to offer trainings for Poland faculty and staff, the community and junior and senior students who might want to learn it before starting summer jobs, she said.

“Maybe it will help them,” she said.

One student practices putting a bandage on another's hand

Poland Central School District ninth-grader Shelbi Hagues (right) practices first aid on ninth-grader Forest Martin (left) in teacher Sandy Hitt’s classroom.


Two students giving a presentation in front of the classroom

Poland Central School District ninth-graders Forest Martin (left) and Aaron Pope (right) give a presentation for the cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid unit in teacher Sandy Hitt’s classroom.