Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona recently expanded its Project Lead the Way (PTLW) Certified Biomedical Sciences Program. This innovative program provides students with opportunities to experience real-world medical challenges before they graduate from high school. Working with the same tools used by professionals in hospitals and labs, students engage in compelling hands-on activities and collaborate to find solutions to various problems. Because of the coursework, students graduate with in-demand knowledge and skills they will use long after high school and can apply what they have learned to any career path they pursue. Kim Rodgers, the class instructor, stated “This is our fifth year of the program and it is continuing to grow. We now have 150 students enrolled, which incorporates all grade levels. I would like to see more students complete the full four year program and have the opportunity to develop more community partnerships. Hopefully, this will aide in the offering of internships for students so they can better prepare for college and more competitive professions.”
In the introductory course of the PLTW Biomedical Sciences program, students explore concepts of biology and medicine as a way to determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person. While investigating and processing the case, students examine autopsy reports, investigate medical history and explore medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, basic anatomy, medicine, and research processes while simultaneously allowing them to design their own experiments to solve problems.
Rodgers works with personnel from the Glendale Police Department, specifically the school resource officer (SRO) Sargent Scott Waite and Detective Mark Coyle. Both Sargent Waite and Detective Coyle spoke to her students about the procedures involved when assessing a crime scene. Following these presentations, students gained hands-on experience by rotating through stations where they analyzed various pieces of evidence from the crime scene. Students collected blood and hair samples, ran fingerprint comparisons, analyzed DNA, and ran field tests to determine if drugs were involved in the crime.
Senior student, Aaron Combs, is in his fourth year of the program. Combs stated, “Each year has a different focus and because of this I am now very interested in the field. The biomedical program allows someone to experience the field even if they are not initially interested, but once in the program they will gain something out of it. Mountain Ridge High School is the only school in the Deer Valley Unified School District that offers this program.”
By allowing students the opportunity to use project-based learning, collaborate with peers, integrate technology, and apply coursework to real-world situations, Mountain Ridge High School students are better prepared to excel in a competitive global arena after they graduate. The school is located at 22800 N. 67th Avenue in Glendale. To find out more about this extraordinary school, visit the website at http://www.dvusd.org/Domain/41
By Debbie Moore CTE, Career and Technical Education Marketing Educator/Teacher on Assignment Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale, AZ