Emergency Response course opens door for Tahoe Truckee students | SierraSun.com

Emergency Response course opens door for Tahoe Truckee students

Implementing a more hands-on, career-based curriculum through Career Technical Pathways has been a priority of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District for the last decade. Within the past few years students have been able to gain real-world experience with locals firefighters through the Emergency Response pathway offered at the district’s high schools.

“Turning the students on to something that they can actually pursue as a career is pretty neat,” he said. It’s great to see their eyes light up,” said Trent Kirschner, the course instructor.

Each semester he teaches a group of around 10 students from Truckee, North Tahoe and Sierra Continuation high schools. The course covers emergency medicine and fire science, and includes training exercises with the Truckee Fire Protection District every other week.

“Getting to do so many trainings with Truckee Fire is definitely a highlight for the students,” said Kirschner. “They get excited about the amount of hands-on experience and how physical the tasks actually are.”

“Turning the students on to something that they can actually pursue as a career is pretty neat. It’s great to see their eyes light up.”— Trent KirschnerCourse instructor

In order to fully complete the Emergency Response Pathway students must also complete a course in healthcare, firefighting or criminal justice at Sierra College.

As certified Emergency Medical Technician, former member of the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team and white water rafting guide Kirschner said he’s hoping to open his students up to the different career paths they could take with the skills he is teaching. These could include working as a nurse on a Care flight helicopter or as a ski patroller.

“A lot of our students already have a lot of outdoor experience. How that relates to this job is really important,” he said. “We’re showing the students that there’s a lot more to the field than being a firefighter or being a paramedic.”


In the past four years of teaching the course, Kirschner has seen former students go on to receive their Emergency Medical Technician certificates with one student attending the Butte College Fire Academy and eventually joining a hotshot crew in Carson City. He said he hopes to have another student joining the same fire academy next year.

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District career pathways began with a food service and hospitality pathway and has now culminated into a variety of programs including biotechnology and engineering. Currently, the school district offers six different themes of Career Technical Pathways: emergency response, foods service and hospitality, systems programming, biotechnology, manufacturing and engineering design.

Though some pathways are exclusively taught at one high school, as it is with biotechnology at Truckee High School, the school district has an open-enrollment policy allowing students to attend classes at different schools such as Kirschner’s course.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at hjones@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2652.

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