Magnet program at Alderete Middle School helps launch students into medical pathway
KVIA. Denise Olivas. August 24, 2018.

The first day of class for the Canutillo Independent School District is on Monday, August 27. At Alderete Middle School, dozens of sixth graders will join the Aderete Medical Academy.

This is the second cohort to join the medical magnet school, the first group was part of the inaugural year in 2017.

The academy gives students opportunities to explore different medical fields through hands-on exposure and classroom academics.

Students must go through an application process to get accepted into the academy.

Principal Oscar Rico said the academy was in response to House Bill 5, which requires students to focus on a pathway that they follow starting in middle school and into high school.

"It's an area of industry that has a lot of jobs. So what we do here at Alderete is that we are able to mentor our children," Rico said.

In the classroom, students use 3D imaging to take part in cadaver dissections to learn about the human body. They also learn about the cardiovascular system with interactive technology.    

Learning also takes place outside the classroom with its partnership program with The Hospitals of Providence. It allows students to take field to hospital and learn from medical professionals.

"We want to create critical thinkers, we want to create that mentality in our students that it's never too early to start thinking of a post-secondary career," Rico said.

The academy is for students in sixth through eighth grade and learn about all aspects of the medical field.

In eighth grade Rico said it becomes more challenging because students take high school courses like Algebra and Biology.

As the program develops, CISD said it will have more opportunities for students to collaborate with Canutillo High School and its Bio-Medical pathway coursework.

Rico said the school wants to help mold students into future medical professionals that can see a potential career in El Paso.

"We see on the westside of El Paso that the medical community expanding," Rico said.

With the district's recent A grade rating from the Texas Education Agency, Rico said the medical magnet program is another way to help students succeed.

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