Ridge View High honored for health sciences magnet school program

Ridge View High School has earned a national award for its magnet program dedicated to the study of health and medicine.

Ridge View’s Institute for Health Sciences (IHS) has been named a National Magnet School of Distinction by Magnet Schools of America.

Institute of Health Sciences Magnet students used their critical thinking skills to build a raft that would float. (Photo provided)

IHS students use their critical-thinking skills to build a raft that will float. (Photos provided)

Magnet Schools of America, a national association for magnet and theme-based schools, selects winners based on a school’s ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socio-economic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme.

At Ridge View High, IHS is open to students in grades 9 through 12. Each year, they study a different area of health science and conduct independent research to build management and communication skills, self-direction and perseverance,  said Jennifer McLeod-Crady, director of the magnet school program.

Real-world settings are set up in the classroom to help students think critically and problem solve, she said.

For example, students study biology and forensics by setting up a mock crime scene and studying autopsy reports. Lessons in genetics and DNA testing are based on treating and diagnosing disease in a fictional family.

Institute of Health Sciences Magnet students begin processing the staged crime scene of Anna Garcia.

IHS students begin processing a staged crime scene.

“Our students redesign emergency rooms, develop public service announcements to help stop the spread of disease in a public setting, and help determine the cause of death of a young woman,” McLeod-Crady said. “Through each activity, students collaborate and use teamwork to develop diverse solutions to these real-world issues.”

McLeod-Crady called the national recognition of the IHS program a great honor for Ridge View High and the Richland Two school district.

The IHS program began in 2008, with the first class graduating in 2012. This spring many of those first IHS students will be graduating from college. According to Ridge View officials, most will pursue careers in fields such as nursing, physical therapy, exercise science and genetic counseling, while others plan to continue their education in medical or veterinary school.

“Because of the support of Richland Two, the Ridge View faculty and administration and our surrounding community, our program will continue to grow and provide opportunities for students interested in the medical field,” McLeod-Crady said.

Funding allocated for the IHS program has allowed for the purchase of the newest lab equipment and latest technology to prepare students for future careers in health sciences, said Ridge View Principal Brenda Mack-Foxworth.

“Students have the opportunity to learn from guest speakers, tour 21st century medical facilities and colleges, and participate in medical internships,” she said. “Receiving this award further validates the innovative, rigorous, and engaging academic excellence our students receive.”

McLeod-Crady will accept the award on behalf of the IHS program on May 5 during the Magnet Schools of America’s 34th National Conference in Miami., Fla.

Categories: Education, Local News, Richland County