Science program launched under new leadership at Bell-Jeff
A result of a new partnership with the Amgen Foundation, the free program includes teacher professional development workshops, curriculum and supplies as well as a three-week loan of research-grade lab equipment.
The program offers a hands-on, inquiry-based molecular biology curriculum designed to introduce the excitement of scientific discovery to students, who will have the chance to explore the steps involved in creating biotechnology therapeutics. Bellarmine-Jefferson High School will be one of 80 California school participants.
“The Amgen project allows students to use extremely delicate and expensive tools that could only be used in college level or beyond,” noted Antonio Kim, who teaches biology and religion classes.
“Bell-Jeff students will be learning with cutting edge technology in our biology classes,” added new principal Michael Stumpf. “I am excited for what this program will mean for our students; this is a beginning of a new era for Bellarmine-Jefferson High School.”
Stumpf, 41, who previously spent eight years as assistant headmaster for student life at Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, told The Tidings that the biotech experience program planned for all tenth grade biology students deals with contemporary issues that often have ethical ramifications.
“When they talk about working with DNA and some of the engineering that goes on in science today, it also gives us an opportunity for our religion teachers to talk about some of the ethical issues in these areas I would definitely want them to explore,” said Stumpf. “It would be an opportunity for students to have a conversation about very current events in science that have to do with our faith.”
A native of Erie, Pa., who got his secondary teaching credential in social studies at Indiana University on a football scholarship where he was an offensive lineman, Stumpf said that his Catholic faith has helped him survive life’s challenges, including the “physically and emotionally demanding” time during college freshman football camp.
“Any time in my life since then, when things are tough, I think back, ‘It’s not as tough as that,’” shared the principal, who is positive about boosting Bell-Jeff’s enrollment with initiatives that include updated infrastructure technology to handle anticipated future implementation of a one-to-one student/computer program.
“It’s all based on faith that grace will be there for us,” said Stumpf. “It’s very important to me when I went into Catholic education to really have a faith-centered community, and I felt that at the recent retreat with the teachers. I think the team aspect is very important. You can’t do it yourself.”