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Eighth-graders explore career-tech options at GBHS
Interest grows in biomed science pathway
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Travis McAtee, a science teacher at GBHS, shares information with eighth-grade students about the Biomedical Science Pathway that will be added to the Career & Technical Education offerings beginning in the Fall of 2019. - photo by photo courtesy of Great Bend USD 428

In preparation for high school enrollment, eighth-grade students were given the opportunity to browse career and technical education electives recently at Great Bend High School’s Career Adventures Fair. Organized by the guidance office, this was a valuable time for students to sample the coursework and content of the Career & Technical Education (CTE) elective options and, maybe most importantly, hear first-hand accounts from students enrolled in the pathways, said Rachel Thexton GBHS guidance counselor. 

“I can point to the class names on a page all day, but when an actual student shares their experiences and excitement the content comes to life,” Thexton said. “Giving eighth-graders an opportunity to hear from all the pathways opens their eyes to subjects they might not have thought they would enjoy.” 

A Career Pathway is a series of classes that are related to a group of occupations and careers. The purpose of Career Pathways is to create clear educational plans of study from high school to post-secondary education to the workplace. Students who complete a series of classes in a particular pathway will be better prepared for post-secondary education that will lead to a career in the field.

In Kansas, 16 career clusters and 31 pathways have been identified. Courses are offered in three levels: introductory, technical and application.

New in the fall of 2019, the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science Pathway will be available to GBHS students. This rigorous four-year program is designed for students that have an interest in pursuing a career in a medical/health related career field. The pathway includes a series of four classes to be taken each of the years in high school. Along with these four classes, students are strongly advised to enroll in additional science courses such as biology, advanced biology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy and physiology. When completed, these students will have a tremendous amount of experience to prepare them for challenging coursework at the college level, Thexton said. 

Early interest showed significant numbers from both eighth-grade and freshmen/sophomore students who are eligible to apply for the pathway. Applications will be reviewed soon. Between GBHS science instructors Travis McAtee and Andrea Stalcup there is a capacity to accept nearly 100 students into the pathway. 

“We are encouraged and excited about how many students have shown interest in the program,” said McAtee. “We truly feel like it can be a great thing for our kids interested in health careers.” 

Another new career pathway approved for the fall is for future teachers.

More information about the Career and Technical Education Pathways can be found in the GBHS Program of Studies 2019-2020 booklet, or by calling the GBHS guidance department, 620-793-1616.

Additional reporting by Susan Thacker, Great Bend Tribune.

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Eighth-grade students explore the Digital Media offerings at GBHS by taking a photo in front of the green screen.