gmhTODAY 10 gmhToday Sept Oct 2016 - Page 25

Gilroy Unified School District Teens Gravitate to Bioscience A 2016 study reported that U.S. bioscience firms employ 1.66 million people, making this industry a leading performer in our nation’s economy for the past 15 years, with stronger job growth than other knowledge-driven, technology-based sectors and the private sector overall. (bio.org). Looking ahead, demand for medical scientists and biomedical engineers is expected to continue growing at an annual rate of 8 percent and 23 percent respectively through the year 2024 (bls.gov). Gilroy High School’s Biomedical Science Academy provides an education pathway for our local youth to explore these exciting fields of study. According to Superintendent Debbie Flores, “I can’t say enough about this academy. By the time they graduate, our students have completed eight AP/honors classes in Science and four AP/honors classes in Math. Our young women and men are graduating the academy well prepared for college degree programs in the biosciences. Most are pursuing Pre-Med and Biotechnology degrees in college.” The Biomedical Science Academy was submitted for the California School Boards Association’s (CSBA) Golden Bell Award. Jennifer Spinetti is program coordinator for the Biomedical Science Academy, a teacher in the program, and GUSD’s Teacher of the Year (2016). She will be honored at the Santa Clara GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN County Teacher Recognition Celebration on Thursday, September 29th at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell (sccoe.org/trc). Dr. Flores added that “The academy model has been so successful and the interest from students is so strong that we’re considering starting a second academy, with an Engineering and Computer Science focus, at another one of our high schools.” Students Flourish in Early College Setting Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) is the highest performing early college academy in California, rated number ten among all high schools in California. Now in its tenth year, GECA is a school within a school, established with Measure P funds and housed on the Gavilan College campus. Freshmen take all of their required high school classes, which may include various AP/Honors classes, plus one to two college-level courses. By junior and senior year, they’re taking mostly college-level classes and studying alongside Gavilan’s college students. They typi- cally graduate high school with the equivalent of, or most of, an AA degree. Some go on to graduate early from college. Dr. Flores noted that GECA is not for every student, but those who are “highly motivated, independent thinkers committed to academic rigor” will flourish in this learning environment.   SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 gmhtoday.com 25