Biomedical Program Incorporates Hands-On Learning

Hannah Dimmitt

The Biomedical program launched two years ago to acquaint students with opportunities in this diverse field. Arriving as a second quarter replacement teacher last year for students taking these courses, Mike Howard took on the responsibility for this entire series of classes.

“[It] was challenging, mostly because I didn’t know the kids, and the kids didn’t know me. It was a tough time for both me and the children. We handled it the best we could, there were some rough patches at the beginning, but once we got to know each other, everything was smooth sailing.”

Howard received his Bachelor’s degrees in Health/Physical Education and Biology from Arkansas Tech University. This background familiarized him with some of the topics he now covers in his classes.

In the Biomedical classes, “Students get more acclimated to careers and lab techniques and content in the medical field,” said Howard.

“They learn science, biology, anatomy, microbiology. They take scientific concepts and attach them to medical careers and the medical field. There are a lot of lab activities, a lot of hands-on learning, and the kids seem to really enjoy that.”

Next fall, with the completion of the new high school, the Biomedical program becomes an anchor of one of the main career focus groups. In total, three career focus groups comprise the concept upon which this new school is being developed.

“I enjoy [being one of the main career focus groups], because I know that there’s a lot of interest in the medical field. Students . . . come out in numbers, and it’s just that much more exciting to me. I know that it’s a growing area and the interest level is [very] high.”

Enrollment numbers confirm this. Student participation in the program has increased each year.

“Every year, more freshmen are joining and the upperclassmen are staying. People hear about it and want to take [the classes].”

Currently, 3 classes are offered. These include Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, and Medical Intervention. The final class, Biomedical Innovations, will be added next year and contains aspects of all 3 previous classes.

Students taking advantage of these classes leave high school with some college preparation behind them.

“They’re leaving the program with lab skills and experiences that most people don’t get until post-secondary education. They have a headstart on their peers when they get into higher education.”