Health Sciences High and Middle College has an excellent bedside manner. Students mingle easily in the warm and friendly environment as they weave through the crowded hallways. The school maintains a professional atmosphere where students learn through healthcare career pathways. At Health Sciences there are no bells. Everyone knows where they need to go and when to get there.
Located in San Diego, California, this charter school with no application requirements serves a racially diverse student body, two-thirds of whom are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch. The entire study body is given rich opportunities to learn. All courses are heterogeneous, and the school is fully inclusive, with no remedial or special education courses or classrooms. The school also offers an exemplar of how extra learning opportunities can expand and enrich the learning time available to every student as they work toward college and career readiness.
Internships play a large role at the school. Students access unique internships that meet their particular college and career interests. Through multiple internship paths, students can “try on” the identity of a healthcare professional or other human services. This helps students make up their minds about the often-pressing question: “What are you doing after graduation?”
For students with interests in advanced healthcare and other human service careers and medical futures, the school also offers students more advanced coursework from local two-year colleges, plus options to take enrichment courses for advancement during the summer. These options are available to all students.
As a health sciences and healthcare careers school, the culture is based on that old physician’s creed: Do no harm. The school uses restorative practices to help students heal strained relationships, making Health Sciences a safe and comfortable to place for learning. For students, the focus on restorative practices begins each fall, when the whole school dedicates the first four days to climate and team-building lessons and activities. During the rest of the school year, members of the staff develop relationships of trust with students through restorative practices such as reflective circles.
In this trusting, supportive, and engaging environment, it is no surprise that this School of Opportunity has a 95% attendance rate.