VAN NUYS : School Helps Build Health Curriculum

Teachers and administrators from Van Nuys High School’s medical magnet program are helping to shape the high school of the future.

Chosen to participate in a California Department of Education curriculum-development program, the school is working with 10 others from across the state to develop a health-care curriculum that will eventually be one of several for high school students, a spokeswoman for the department said.

“High schools will look different in 10 years,” Beverly Campbell, program manager of the state agency’s health careers unit, said. “Students will be selecting career paths as they enter high school.”

Funded by a three-year, $130,000-a-year federal grant, teachers and administrators from the 11 schools will develop a curriculum aimed at integrating a health-care education into regular academic subjects.


Representatives from the schools will meet at seminars several times a year to discuss their proposals for curriculum units. For example, a unit on preventing heart disease would trigger interdisciplinary studies such as the history of the heart, the statistical possibilities of getting heart disease, heart dissection and an essay on the death of a family member.

Van Nuys High was chosen from more than three dozen schools for its successful year-old magnet program at Valley Presbyterian Hospital. Each school day, 180 students spend two hours at the hospital, working in different departments or studying subjects such as history, science and ethics with an emphasis on the health-care field.