At a new biomedical academy for high school students, this year new freshmen will figure out how Anna died.
Anna is a mannequin, cordoned off by police tape in one area of a biology classroom. The year’s activities will involve the 47 students in exploring crime scene investigation, post mortem examinations, ballistics, and hereditary and infectious diseases. All of these will be applied to an ongoing investigation into Anna’s “death”.
The course , Principles of Biomedical Sciences, is the introductory class in the program. Students will be required to choose one biomedical elective each year. They will also study the standard science courses. Eventually, the students will take a class devoted entirely to forensics.
It’s a lot to take in on their first day of high school.”They come in with a lot of trepidation,” said Linda Canobbio, the biology teacher who will lead the class. Canobbio also has nursing and biological research experience.
“But I like teaching younger kids. I get to teach them how to work collaboratively and independently, and I get to mold them to the way they need to be. Eventually they’ll be breaking open cells and extracting DNA — pretty advanced stuff for freshmen.”
One of the core missions of the class is to teach independence within the context of the field.
The biomedical track is a counterpart to the school’s STEM program, which started last year. Further down the road, the district hopes to introduce an arts academy as well.
“We wanted to offer this alongside our STEM academy,” said Kevin Kanauss, supervisor of mathematics, science and STEM programs for the district. “We’re excited for this. We wanted more than just an allied health sciences program. They’ll study everything from pre-med to criminal investigation.”