June 15, 2007

VUMC to host science and math ‘high school’

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Tony Bland

VUMC to host science and math ‘high school’

Thirty-three public school students from Nashville will attend a part-time science and math high school this fall hosted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A collaborative project of VUMC and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), the School for Science and Math is supported by grants and other sources outside of the public school budget. It is designed for students who “enthusiastically seek” an advanced, challenging curriculum that will prepare them for 21st century careers.

“The School” is the newest addition to several programs offered by the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach (CSO) under the direction of Virginia Shepherd, Ph.D., professor of Pathology. Participating students will be in grades 9 and 12 next fall, with classes starting the week of Aug. 20.

“We look forward to providing a research-centered curriculum and experience that may be unlike any other in the United States,” said school director Glenn McCombs, Ph.D.

“Our Vanderbilt-MNPS partnership could potentially serve as a model for other universities and urban school districts across the country.”

More than 200 students from 35 middle and high schools applied to attend the new school. Invitations were sent to 25 ninth graders and eight 12th graders. Criteria for admission included high state science and math test scores and course grades, and recommendations from teachers and counselors.

One day a week, the ninth graders will receive instruction in the classroom and the laboratory from Ph.D. scientists. The remaining four days of each week, the students will be at their regular high schools.

The seniors will begin with a seven-week summer research project June 11.

During the academic year, they will prepare for national science competitions and journal publications and apply their projects to community outreach programs.

“This is an exceptionally rigorous program,” said MNPS Director Pedro Garcia, Ed.D.

“Students will essentially be enrolled at two high schools, taking demanding courses in each. It will provide students an exciting opportunity to study at one of our nation's premier research universities.”

Ninth graders are expected to commit to all four years. New ninth and 12th grade classes of up to 25 students each will be selected during the next two years until all four grades are filled.

For more information about the school, visit www.science-outreach.org/school.