Each year, Texas School Business honors 12 school districts and their innovative programs for an annual publication known as Bragging Rights.
Splendora Independent School District gained one of those 12 coveted spots when it was chosen for publication, due to the biotechnology program taught by Splendora High School instructor Ron Riley.
The multifaceted biotechnology program, which was funded with help of a grant approximately three years ago, allows students the opportunity to raise algae, as well as differing forms of bacteria for biofuels, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
The program serves as one of the many career and technical programs offered by the district, to help expand student horizons following high school.
“This is a big deal,” said Splendora ISD Superintendent Genese Bell. “There are great things going on in public schools in the state of Texas and to have one of our programs mentioned is just awesome.”
Bell went on to call the biotechnology program one of the “hidden jewels” within the district.
The program has grown considerably since initially being proposed as an aquaculture program before transforming into a program focusing on algae production. The biotechnology program has also grown in popularity, gaining more and more student participants each year.
The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare students for the highly competitive global biotechnology market. The program relies on algae cultivation to teach students about advancements in various career fields, including biodiesel production and species selection.
“Our kids are doing such awesome science out there,” said Bell.
Ultimately, the district would like to get more students interested and eventually allow the program to grow to include an engineering aspect.
School officials have been proactive on the matter, even traveling to other school districts to gain some insight on effectively expanding the program.
School Board member Dan Muirhead commended Riley for his work with the program, speaking of the importance of supporting each educator’s vision to allow them to be more successful in their endeavors.
View original article at: Splendora ISD biotech program gets ‘Bragging Rights’