Middle schools may get health science elective

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Staff Writer
Posted 8/10/17

Bradley County Schools may soon be offering health science as an elective in both of its middle schools.

The agenda for the Bradley County Board of Education’s meeting at 5:30 this evening …

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Middle schools may get health science elective

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Bradley County Schools may soon be offering health science as an elective in both of its middle schools.

The agenda for the Bradley County Board of Education’s meeting at 5:30 this evening includes a vote which would allow for the introduction of health science at Ocoee Middle School and Lake Forest Middle School.

“We would like to explore offering more courses at the middle school level,” said Arlette Robinson, Career and Technical Education coordinator for the school system. “We have all these career clusters in the high schools but not as much for middle school.”

If approved, health science classes would be added at Ocoee Middle this coming January and at Lake Forest at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, after the school’s new building is completed.

The middle school courses would be introductory, rather than “full courses of study” like in high school, Robinson said.

“This would feed students directly into our very popular programs at the high school level,” Robinson said.

The health science programs at Bradley Central High School and Walker Valley High School include opportunities such as clinical internships and chances to pursue industry certifications.

Robinson said each high school has three health science teachers, allowing students to specialize in areas of interest such as nursing, emergency medicine, sports medicine and long-term health care.

The middle school classes would introduce students to various health care careers, the study of topics like anatomy and physiology and first aid skills. The idea, Robinson said, is to get kids interested in health care careers early on.

“We see a great need for more career exploration opportunities at the middle school level,” Robinson said. “We are excited to begin, so the students can begin to discover their passions.” 

Both local middle schools would follow a course schedule recommended by the Tennessee Department of Education. Students entering the seventh grade would have the chance to begin a two-year health science course which would have them taking classes over their seventh and eighth-grade years.

The courses would initially be taught by science teachers at the schools. However, Robinson told the school board Tuesday she would “love” to eventually see a dedicated health science teacher at each school.

These classes would join the slate of classes students can choose from as “related arts” electives at the middle schools, which include a STEM class, band and more.

Students at Cleveland Middle School have already been able to take health science classes. The school began offering them in the 2013-14 school year as a pilot for the Tennessee Department of Education.

Today, the idea of offering such a program to middle school students is gaining popularity among school systems statewide, said Robinson.

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christy.armstrong@clevelandbanner.com

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