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Bel Air High Biomedical Sciences Program to receive state award

The Maryland State Department of Education has selected the Biomedical Sciences Program at Bel Air High School to receive the 2015 Career and Technology Education Outstanding Secondary CTE Program of Excellence, Harford County Public Schools announced Monday.

The department's Division of Career and College Readiness is recognizing the BAHS program for its work in preparing students for careers and further education, HCPS said in a news release.

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The annual CTE awards event, to be held April 28 at the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor in Baltimore, recognizes outstanding programs, student organizations, change agents, business partnerships, distinguished service and national award winners.

Outstanding CTE programs at the high school and community college levels are judged in four areas: program description, learner outcomes, program outcomes and integration with systemic reform, according to the news release.

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"This program exemplifies a quality CTE program because it combines a rigorous curriculum, motivated students, dedicated teachers, and strong administrative support. This is a powerful blend of factors that ultimately prepares students for their next steps toward college and careers," Susan Garrett, supervisor of Career Programs and Art for Harford County Public Schools, said in the HCPS release.

Bel Air High School's program, in partnership with Project Lead The Way, is designed to address the projected critical shortage of qualified science and health professionals and is for the motivated and serious student who desires rigorous post-secondary education and training. Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization promoting STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – education in elementary, middle and high schools around the country.

At Bel Air High School, students begin the Biomedical Sciences Program in 9th grade and take one subsequent course each year after. The course sequence for the program includes: Principles of Biomedical Sciences, Human Body Systems, Medical Intervention and Biomedical Innovations.

To enhance the program, guest speakers, extra labs and study halls are offered to all students. Guest speakers have included nutritionists, neurobiologists and respiratory therapists.

Seniors take part in the biomedical innovations class, in which they blend classroom learning with independent study, working with mentors at area hospitals, private-sector companies and at local military research installations such as Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, as reported in an article about the program published by The Aegis earlier this month.

According to HCPS, other highlights of the Biomedical Sciences Program include:

• More than 200 Bel Air High students participate in the program;

• Students in the program had a 100 percent passing rate on the state Biology HSA;

• Biomed program students' GPAs are on average .6 points higher than the school and class GPAs;

• Students in the program complete mentorships and internships with industry professionals;

• Students have been invited to local, state and national conventions to present their work and represent the Biomedical Sciences program.

• Biomed graduates have had more than $11 million in scholarships offered;

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• Former Biomed students have been published or are currently working on being published and obtaining patents for their work;

• The program is one of 16 in the nation and two in Maryland to be given the honor of becoming a Project Lead the Way Model School.

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