New Health Sciences Academy for SPS 8th Graders at Mercy

By Chris Eidson

Published 03/17 2014 08:18PM

Updated 03/17 2014 10:12PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Starting this Fall, some Springfield Public Schools 8th graders will have a unique classroom.

SPS and Mercy Hospital are partnering for a new program called Health Sciences Academy.

You expect to find nurses and doctors in a hospital.

But starting this fall, SPS students will join them in the Mercy hallways.

"This will be their school for their 8th grade year," SPS Specialist of Choice and Innovation Christine Jones said.

"They'll actually come in the front doors of the hospital and go into their classrooms and they'll spend their entire day here," Mercy COO Jay Guffey said.

It's the newest type of Choice and Innovation program for the district.

"They'll be taught the same curriculum as every other 8th grade classroom, just through the lens of health sciences and exposure to the many, many careers within the medical field," Jones said.

"It's almost like one extended field trip," Guffey said.

Their classrooms will be in the main hospital.

Experts from the hospital will join two full time teachers in educating the 50 students.

They hope the program exposes the kids to all the things you might not think are in a hospital, like a credit union, opening their eyes to all the different jobs available in the health sector.

"Healthcare is one of the largest employers here in our community," Guffey said.

Mercy and SPS hope this partnership inspires the kids to become the future medical professionals of Springfield.

"I think it'd be really neat to see the first student who walks back in here and has that on their resume 'I was a part of the Mercy Health Sciences Academy,'" Guffey said.

"If we can engage students in whatever they're passionate about that niche early on then yes that could lead to potential career paths later," Jones said.

There are information sessions at Mercy Hospital Tuesday night at 6 and 7:30.

They're in the McAuley Conference Center through the main entrance.

This program will start this fall for the 50 8th graders accepted into the Health Sciences Academy.

Applications are available on the SPS website.

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