AP + PLTW Achievement: A Student Success Story

Kim Rodgers is a PLTW Biomedical Science Teacher and athletic trainer at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona. Along with teaching the four PLTW Biomedical Science courses and acting as advisor for both the HOSA-Future Health Professionals and Sports Medicine Club, Kim enjoys spending time with family on the beach and running with friends.

Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona, began the PLTW Biomedical Science journey in the fall of 2012 by implementing Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS). I was excited to share the amazing curriculum with students. The majority of the students were incoming freshmen who chose the class after reading a short description in the course guide. I had completed Core Training, where I learned a new STEM curriculum and a different teaching style. I was provided tools to facilitate the inquiry-driven activity-, project-, problem-based (APB) format. The students loved the format and continually impressed me with their abilities to solve the problems they encountered investigating Anna Garcia.

Each summer for the next three years, I completed Core Training for the next course in the PLTW Biomedical Science sequence. I returned to school in August, ready to embark on the adventure of each new class with my returning students. We learned together … successes, botched labs, and everything in between. Teaching all four courses has given me the unique opportunity to watch my students grow as individuals during their high school careers and beyond. May 2016 marked the graduation of our first cohort to complete all four courses in the program’s sequence.

In the program’s first four years, we’ve achieved many accomplishments:

•             All courses are now recognized as Honors level.

•             We have ever-increasing enrollment.

•             We have an AP + PLTW student recognition winner!

Last year, I urged students enrolled in PLTW Biomedical Science and Advanced Placement courses to register for the AP + PLTW student recognition. Students are eligible by completing a combination of Advanced Placement and PLTW courses and meeting requirement scores on AP and PLTW End-of-Course (EoC) Assessments. The purpose is to link the academic challenge of AP courses with career pathways in PLTW courses. Qualification demonstrates to colleges and employers that a student has an interest – and is ready for advanced course work – in this discipline.

Emma Eddy, 2016 alum and member of the inaugural PLTW Biomedical Science four-year cohort, was awarded the AP + PLTW student recognition.

Emma is one of 1,300 students nationwide – including 325+ biomedical students and approximately 39 in Arizona – to earn this recognition. Emma explained how PLTW Biomedical Science has influenced her:

“I started PLTW Biomedical Science as a freshman to open up my horizons when it came to health professions. I knew I wanted to go onto the medical field, but I did not know much about different professions within the medical field. The PLTW Biomed program opened my mind to a plethora of different jobs and options, with different variations of education level. Throughout my four years of courses, this program put me on a track for medical school with an informed idea of what I wanted to do. Because of the combination of PLTW Biomedical Science and many other science classes, I got a jump in my classes and my learning, which has allowed me, as a college freshman, to be taking upper-level classes in my desired profession.”

Congratulations to all who earned the AP + PLTW student recognition! I am excited to continue to provide students with the authentic experiences provided through the PLTW Biomedical Science curriculum.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.