MONROE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - When Monroe Middle students returned to school in August, there were some big changes-- classrooms had a fresh coat of paint along with medical decals, lab coats were required in some classes, and medical and science equipment could be found everywhere.
The school had transformed into a Health Sciences Academy. The Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle School is a result of a partnership between Union County Public Schools and Carolinas HealthCare System.
This partnership is the first of its kind in Union County and aims to teach students things they will need to know in the healthcare field.
The curriculum, while challenging, is broken down by grade level. Sixth graders are enrolled in an integrated neuroscience and health curriculum where they start learning about the brain and spinal cord.
In addition, they are taking medical Spanish as an elective each year which will help in healthcare or in any field they may pursue in the future.
By seventh grade, students will take courses on scientific approaches to problem solving and sports medicine. Eighth graders will learn bioengineering and health technologies.
The school administration refers to the students as scholars to put emphasis on the importance of learning and participating in class.
The mutual respect the students and teachers have for each other has promoted a positive environment for learning and growing.
Principal Denny Ferguson has seen students speak with more confidence about health science. He’s also seen excitement from students, which, can be rare for middle schoolers.
“Middle school is not always the most exciting period for students, but these students are excited to be here,” Ferguson said.