When Gwinnett County Public Schools begins the 2019-20 school year in the fall, students at one high school will be learning the ins and outs of the medical profession.
The McClure Health Sciences High School, which is named for former Gwinnett school board member Robert McClure, is set to open later this year in the Meadowcreek cluster. The school is designed to mix medical and health coursework and industry experience in its curriculum.
Enrollment at the school, which is located at 3921 Club Drive in Duluth, is expected to be open to only students only in the Meadowcreek cluster.
“We’re right on track to open McClure Health Sciences High School with a viable curriculum that is aligned with the heath care industry, and we’re looking forward to ensuring that all of our freshmen who enter graduate on time with a variety of post-secondary options,” McClure principal Nicole Mosley said.
The school’s goals are to make sure students have industry or pathway certifications and college credit in health sciences when they graduate from high school, and can go to college or the workforce with needed knowledge and skills in the health sciences protection.
“We know this is going to be an innovative school that, honestly, for lack of a better word, is really going to be a hallmark health sciences school in the nation,” Mosley said.
The school is still under construction, and Mosley said the facility is about 86 percent complete; officials expect to receive a certificate of occupancy later in the spring semester.
Officials are in the process of hiring faculty and other staff members, with internal hiring within the district happening now and hiring of employees from outside the district expected to happen in spring.
Mosley said the school will have a registered nurse on staff whose duties will include organizing seminars featuring health care professionals and volunteer and internship opportunities for students.
“We have a local school health sciences coordinator that will be on-site making sure all of those programs are arranged and aligned with the curriculum,” Mosley said. “We’ll also have another industry person, the health sciences coordinator for the district.
“Both of them will be on-site at McClure High School to ensure that we’re really meeting the needs of the industry as well as (Gwinnett County Public Schools’ AKS curriculum).”
School officials are also meeting with students, families, community members and health professionals about the school. The curriculum is also being worked on.
Students are expected to learn about CPR, first aid, first responder services, HIPAA, MS Office, the latest issues in the health sciences field, and medical ethics and law.
The school’s principal said the traditional school courses, such as language arts and math, will have a health-related feel to them. That means teachers will use health texts in language arts classes and medical and health terminology will be used in problem-solving.
“Everything will be taught through the health sciences lens,” Mosley said.
The curriculum will include Advanced Placement, dual enrollment, a seminar series featuring health care professionals, case studies, internships and capstone projects. Health sciences training and certifications will also be available. Students will also have a chance to learn how to be bilingual health interpreters.
The school facility is designed to encourage high-level learning and collaboration, Mosley said, with college-level lecture hall and health sciences lab spaces and 42 standard classrooms.
“The health sciences classrooms really mirror what medical and nursing schools look like,” the principal said. “You’ll walk in and you’ll see the mannequins, you’ll see the IV units. It looks like a standardized training center they use in all of the research institutions.”
There will also be a full-sized gym and activity room where students can learn about human physiology while they work out.
Plans for school operations, school culture and expectations are also being put together. School colors and a mascot, crest and logo have not been chosen yet and plans are being worked on for summer staff development. School schedules are also being finalized. McClure staff will provide academic plan counseling to students as the school’s opening approaches.
Once the school year begins, student leaders and ambassadors will be chosen.
But ultimately, the school’s goal will be to get students to take a deep dive, inquisitive look at health sciences education and to encourage them try and figure out why health issues happen.
“The aim is for them to learn all facets of the health industry as well as understanding the importance of examining knowledge and asking the why,” Mosley said.