By: Adriana Dominguez
Marking the beginnings of medical careers, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (HCISD) opened the Harlingen School of Health Professions (HSHP) facility this past December.
Dressed for the historical occasion, students filed in for their first day on the new campus with excitement and discovery. The new facility features state-of-the-art rooms and labs where students will have the opportunity to apply knowledge and procedures that they’ve learned in class.
“I’m very excited about the hands-on equipment,” said Angelica Montes eighth grade student. “I look forward to using the surgical lab and the patient care room. Also, I look forward to getting to work in my field of study – surgery. I want to be an anesthesiologist.”
Jacob Harms, who hopes to one day become an endodontist, is most excited about the wealth of resources available to him at the new facility.
“We have every piece of equipment that we could possibly need here at our disposal; from the chairs to the little things such as toothbrushes, said Harms. “We also have many computers at our disposal and an excellent library, as well as, knowledgeable teachers that we can use as resources for information.”
The college-like atmosphere throughout the facility will foster the collaborative style of learning, which will prepare students for a post-secondary education in the medical field. Along with furthering their medical education, students will be able to choose one of six areas of study in their sophomore year to focus on throughout their high school career. Schools of Study include: The School of Pharmacology/Biomedical Technology, The School of Dental Science, The School of Patient Care, The School of Medical Science Research, The School of Sports Medicine, and The School of Surgical Procedures. Students will also have the privilege to work with local medical professionals to observe real-life medical practices.
“The opening of the Harlingen School of Health Professions facility marks yet another milestone in our transformational journey as it opens up countless opportunities for our students to get a head start in a career in medicine and the medical school process,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “I want to thank the Board of Trustees for their commitment to excellence and their commitment to choice within public schools. By advancing our schools our students remain on the path to global achievement.”
At HSHP it is essential that students have opportunities for collaboration, as much of the design and curriculum of the school is based on project-based learning. Classrooms will enhance their medically focused curriculum with a design aimed at exposing students to the different medical areas so they can see what’s being learned in the class and how it’s incorporated into that field.
Solidifying its opening, a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on Dec. 17. Over 400 members of the community including Senator Eddie Lucio, Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell and Valley Baptist Health System President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Manny Vela were present to celebrate the event. With the support of the community apparent, it was a memorable day for all as it marked the collaboration that took place to between the district and community members.
“What happens here changes public education and expands the educational opportunities that we can afford our students,” said Board President Greg Powers. “It took a collaborative effort of many individuals to achieve what you see here today. We want to thank those members of our community who volunteered their countless hours to participating in design meetings to bring this vision to a reality.”
The inaugural year of HSHP marks the beginning of a new world of possibilities for Harlingen students. During its initial year, the legacy class is comprised of eighth and ninth grade students with the campus designed to add an additional grade level each year until 12th grade is reached with a maximum enrollment of 550 students. The design allows students to be able to continue their enrollment from eighth grade to the completion of their senior year. To enroll in the campus, students had to be accepted through an application-based process.
The campus curriculum and mission aligns with the district’s strategic plan. Created through a collaboration between district officials and over 800 Harlingen community members, the plan’s main themes include developing learning environments conducive for collaboration; creating curriculum to fit the individual needs of students; opening specialized and unique schools for students at all levels of education; and to align high school programs with post-secondary endorsements and certification programs for college and career readiness. HCISD Board of Trustees adopted the plan during their regular February 2014 meeting.
For more information on HSHP please visit www.hcisd.org/HSHP or call 430-4078. To find out about HCISD’s additional Schools of Choice visit www.hcisd.org or call 430-9500.