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Paging all future medical students

PARKER - If you are interested in medicine or want to learn more about the ever-changing medical field, the Douglas County School District has a class for that.
Applications are being accepted for the Fall 2013 Pre-Medical Class held at Chaparral High School.  This specialized program exposes students to medicine through lectures and on-hands experiences and is open to high school juniors and seniors from any Douglas County high school who meets the class prerequisites.    
Chris Stirrup, the Pre-Medical class advisor and a math teacher at CHS, started this class about six years ago.  Stirrup was at a doctor’s appointment and asked his doctor if he would be interested in coming to speak to a group of honors students.  The doctor said no, and instead offered up his boss, Dr. Pete Baker.  Stirrup worked with Dr. Baker and CHS Principal Ron Peterson to get the class off the ground.  The first year started with 35 students, and has grown to 114 at last count.
Stirrup maintains a Facebook page for the class, where he posts pictures, video and other news from lectures and field trips.  Students who took the class re-connect with Stirrup, including two girls who are graduating from nursing school this spring.  These two future nurses already have interview opportunities from the doctors who lectured at this class.  
“I also have three kids that were in the first class who are now in medical school,” said Stirrup.  “As this program continues to grow, it means a lot for juniors and seniors sitting in class to have the chance to hear or learn something that inspires them to go off into medicine."
Stirrup is quick to point out that this is class takes commitment and is geared toward introducing students to all aspects of the medical profession.  
“We meet three days a week at 6:00 AM for a 45 minute lecture and have various field trips scheduled for Saturdays,” he said.  
The guest lecturers are not just doctors—they are nurses, technicians, geneticists and other people who work in and around the medical field.  
“We even had a Navy Seal come in this year who was a paramedic for Seal Team 18,” said Stirrup.  “Every one of the kids was completely dialed into his story.”  
But there is more than just lectures.  The field trips include visits to the cadaver lab at Rocky Vista University, where their medical students volunteer to work with groups of 8 to 10 DCSD students around a cadaver.  They start with the back and spinal cord, then work on the upper and lower limbs and finally the thorax.  
“Students are able to hold the actual spinal cord.  They can hold a human brain.  They are seeing various types of cancer, what the human brain looks like after a stroke and implants like artificial knees and hips and pacemakers.  It is a full exposure to the human body,” said Stirrup.  
Parents are also invited to come along on these field trips.   
This class would not be possible without the collaboration and support of several community businesses and organizations.  COPIC and CEO Dr. Ted Clarke has provided financial backing that allows Stirrup to offset a large portion of the class costs.  Dr. Cassy Wiggins from Summit Orthodontics is also a big financial contributor.  
“Rocky Vista University and Dr. Walter Buck are unbelievable sponsors,” explained Stirrup.  “They set up the use of their cadaver labs for us for free for the past three years.”    
The Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) open their interactive operating rooms and provide campus tours and advice for students who are interested in applying for medical school.  Parents also provide support for the program, including Kevin Keyser, whose pictures are featured in this story.   
All applications must be completed and submitted by April 30, 2013.  The class is limited to 120 students and is already filling up quickly.  Questions should be directed to Chris Stirrup at christopher.stirrup[at]dcsdk12[dot]org
October 14, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category:

District News

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DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

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DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

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