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Cool School: Program at Bear Creek High School gives students hands-on medical experience

Bear Creek High School is the first school in the Jefferson County School District to offer a 4 year biomedical program.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The biomedical program at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood is the first-of-its-kind for the Jefferson County School District. The curriculum is part of a program called Project Lead the Way where public schools across the U.S. can partner with, higher education institutions, and businesses to get more students interested in careers involving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM.

“I want to become a pharmacist when I grow up,” said sophomore Emily Chambers.  “And it is helping me learn more about the human body and solutions that I never thought of before.”

Credit: Byron Reed

Chambers is in her second year of taking the biomedical classes and is looking to explore career opportunities in medicine.

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“I think the medical field always needs more people and I think a lot of my classmates agree that we all have an interest in the medical field,” Chambers said.

Teachers say it's also helping to fill shortages within the medical profession.

“Within medical industries, we’re looking at shortages all over the place and we need everything from the CNA’s to those doctors,” said Biomedical Innovation teacher Kim MacTaggart.  “Our society, we need this so the kids are really learning how they can grow in this field.”

Credit: Byron Reed

The school started the classes in 2011. Through the program, students have an opportunity to be mentored by health professionals from medical facilities like UCHealth and Anschutz Medical Center.

“Having those connections can help, especially when you are going into college,” said senior Aaron Truong.  “You can talk to them (and) they can help you out and those connections are really vital.”

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“We recognize that education can’t only be confined to the walls of a classroom,” said Bear Creek Principal Lynn Torr.  “And so the more community connections with business and community agencies and organizations that our kids can get exposure to so they get that real-world experience and application…that’s absolutely critical.”

Credit: Byron Reed

“It also helps them get set up for a career in the health industry,” said biomedical teacher Dani Mongan. “And so having something that they can do in high school to get themselves ready for college or a health profession after high school is really cool for them to be able to experience.”

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The school also offers other Project Lead the Way programs like Engineering, Digital Electronics, Architecture, and Aerospace Engineering.  Their hope is to guide students down career pathways that they're most passionate about. 

Credit: Byron Reed

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“This is such a small fraction of their lives, we hope we’ve created experiences that they need so that they can go off into college, go into the workforce, go into the military, whatever that next option is for them feeling confident, prepared and full of hope and optimism for their future,” Torr said. 

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