CUMBERLAND — With Maryland being home for more than 500 biosciences companies, the Allegany County Board of Education announced last week that it will participate in a program that will bring biomedical class offerings to county high school students.
Considered one of the fastest-growing career fields in the state and across the country, educators say that offering biomedical sciences will give interested students the opportunity to learn more about the field and to prepare for a possible career.
“It is projected that nationally 80 percent of future careers will somehow be tied into biomedical sciences,” said Karen Bundy, director of secondary programs.
Bundy gave a presentation on the program, known as Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences, during the regular monthly meeting of the school board.
“We have a planning grant for the program and we will need to buy the equipment and train the teachers,” said Bundy.
The Maryland State Department of Education issued the multiyear grant that supplies $40,000 for each of the county’s three public high schools to offset the initial startup costs of the program.
“We are pleased that this program is being funded and we are going to have it here in Allegany County,” said Bundy.
A group of about 20 to 25 eighth-graders, known as a cohort by educators, will be sought out in February to participate in the first class offering to be taught to the eligible 2014 incoming freshmen.
Following the ninth-grade course, which will be Principles of the Biomedical Sciences, eligible students will be able to take additional courses each year.
Under the program, eligible 10th-graders will be offered a course called Human Body Systems. At the 11th and 12th grade levels, classes with honors credits will be available in Medical Intervention and Biomedical Innovation, respectively.
Students who take the course offering all four years of high school will receive four transcript credits from Stevenson University, a Baltimore area college. The board is working with Frostburg State University and Allegany College of Maryland in an attempt to establish articulated credits for the coursework as well.
Stevenson University will also provide the training for the teachers.
The program will allow students to explore the concepts of human medicine and introduces topics such as physiology, genetics, microbiology and public health.
“It’s into the plants, soil and environment; there are so many things attached to it and they’re expecting many careers,” said Bundy.
The coursework promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics and creates a groundwork for bioinformatics, mapping and analyzing DNA and the study of nanotechnology in fighting cancer.
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