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RTC Medical Prep – Hands on Learning with . . . Cadavers!

There’s a good reason why medical science was chosen as the magnet theme for the new Richard T. Crane (RTC) Medical Preparatory High School on the city’s Near West Side. It is located adjacent to the Illinois Medical District (IMD), the largest urban medical district in the United States. The IMD is home to medical research facilities, labs, a biotechnology business incubator, universities, and more than 40 health care-related facilities.

RTC freshman have had their first glimpse of what the district offers to students at their new magnet high school. 


This past Halloween, the entire school – its freshman class – headed to nearby Rush Medical Center for a “Day at Rush.” They did medical “rotations” in different departments of the hospital, learning to intubate patients, take blood pressure, and listen to hearts and lungs with a stethoscope. They also spent time in the Rush Cadaver Lab, where they saw real muscles, bones, a heart, and lungs up close. Rush served lunch to the students, and Rush University faculty gave a lecture on microbiology and immunology. 


The Day at Rush was a highlight for many families – one emailed Principal Fareeda Shabazz to say, “Thank you!  My son can’t stop talking about all that he learned!” 


The students were well-prepared for their visit to Rush, thanks to the required course for all freshmen at RTC, Principles of Biomedical Science, which was developed and is supported by the renowned national program, Project Lead The Way (PLTW). PLTW requires that all teachers take intensive training over the summer and that the school have up-to-date computers, use PLTW software, and purchase the special PLTW kits needed for the program’s hands-on, project-based learning activities. 


RTC has plenty to offer students seeking a challenging and engaging learning experience. World languages include Spanish and Chinese. All classes are available at the honors level. For ninth graders who completed algebra in eighth grade, the school offers pre-AP geometry. Students who wish to complete five years of mathematics during their four years at the school can take advantage of summer math programs.


The school is receiving high marks from parents of its first cohort of students. Whether students are high-performers seeking accelerated courses, or require support to fulfill their potential, the new school is meeting their needs.


One RTC parent shared that, “The school is a 10 in giving kids the opportunity to explore their dreams and find their niche.” One of her son’s teachers has given him personalized coaching in note-taking as preparation for future college success and the rigors of record-keeping in the medical profession. Her son “is confident in who he is . . . and now has a passion for being a professional in the medical field.”


Another of the school’s first group of parents is delighted that her daughter is enrolled exclusively in advanced and honors level courses; she finds the academic rigor of the school “intense, but worth it . . . [with] lots of homework,” and recognition for top-performing students.  


Click here for more information about the school. For additional information about Chicago’s magnet high schools, see the 2014-2015 CPS High School Guide, available from the Office of Access and Enrollment (OAE) at 125 South Clark Street, 10th floor, or 773-553-2060, or on the OAE website