Jessica Brantley, Health and PE teacher and Instructional Coordinator at Charlottesville High School, leads the Charlottesville City Schools CPR Program. The program trains students on life-saving skills, including CPR training and treating severe bleeding. An experienced educator, Jessica has been with the Charlottesville City School System for 16 years, including 12 years as a Health and Physical Education teacher at Buford Middle School. She is a trained Red Cross Instructor and first began certifying students 8 years ago.

Charlottesville City Schools CPR Program

When the CPR program was first implemented, there were many expenses including renting training mannequins and hiring outside instructors. Later on, the school trained teachers as instructors; this approach saved money and allowed people known by the students to do the training. The school system also acquired mannequins, which are kept within the district and shared among the schools. Currently, the schools train all 7th and 9th grade students and hope to begin certifying all 9th grade students.

Jess Brantley, certified Red Cross Instructor, demonstrates how to perform CPR during City Schools CPR Program training

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to certify and train students in these lifesaving skills,” says Jessica. “As a health educator, it is sometimes difficult to get students to see how their health choices today may impact their lives in the future. However, the CPR/First Aid training allows students to see first-hand how they can acquire skills that are helpful today, as well as in the future. While many students may not suffer from heart disease, diabetes, etc. most do know an adult that does. So, training empowers them to learn a skill that could potentially save a family member, friend, or even a stranger.”

Some students have saved the lives of people in the community from the skills they learned in the Charlottesville City Schools CPR program. These successes motivate the instructors to continue the program and to provide even more student education related to CPR/First Aid.

I love working with the students and hopefully inspiring them to make the best health choices they possibly can by being an informed consumer, patient, and citizen.

– Jessica Brantley, Insructional Coordinator

Certifying teachers as Red Cross Instructors

The school system is currently in the process of certifying additional teachers as instructors; Jessica is the only instructor remaining from the initial instructor certification. Ideally, all 9th graders will receive the American Red Cross CPR certification starting in the next school year. This goal is dependent on whether the school is able to cover the cost. Being certified not only gives students more confidence when applying the skills, but it also teaches them job skills required for lifeguarding, child care, etc. All students will receive an additional module related to treating severe bleeding. In order to adequately teach the unit, the program will need severe bleeding training kits.

So far, the program’s impact on the students and community is very exciting. Jessica hopes to continue to work with community partners to expand the school system’s First Aid and CPR education offerings.

Support CPR education in Charlottesville

The CPR education program currently needs funding for certification and materials, including First Aid training and severe bleeding kits. Community partners interested in supporting CPR/First Aid curriculum at Charlottesville High School can contact Jessica via email,

To learn more about CPR classes in Charlottesville, visit the Red Cross website.

If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 for emergency services.