Chris Van Horne
The Fort Worth ISD now offers courses unique to each high school campus.
Attending high school in Fort Worth isn't what it used to be.
Starting this year, all high schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District will offer courses unique and specific to each campus.
The newest high school is the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, or TABS. Eight teachers will give 100 freshmen students a comprehensive education beginning the first day of school, but the curriculum has a special emphasis on math and science.
Students also get to work with the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center and others -- all while earning college credit in high school.
"They're willing to give up things like athletics and some extracurricular activities for an academic setting," said Troy Langston, TABS principal. "And it's a small setting, so they have more attention spent with them, and they share the same teachers, so they have a different kind of climate, a different culture."
The TABS school is part of the district's new Choices Program, which lets students pick what set of courses and what campus to attend.
At 12 years old, Noel Shastid knew that TABS was perfect for her first year in public school and high school.
"I chose this school, which makes it so much better than the average public school," Shastid said just days before classes started. "On one hand, I could go into science with a great background in science. And on the other hand, I could go into something else and have a good chunk of my science credits done for college."
Shastid said she has a keen interest in science and thoroughly enjoyed the summer TABS program, which took place at UNT Health Sciences just up Montgomery Street.
"We got to touch the human brain," she said. "If that's just the summer program, imagine what's going to happen every year?"
But it's not just the unique approach to teaching specialized courses and focusing on specific topics that makes TABS unique. The other thing is the attire -- all the students have their own white lab coat.
"You feel really science-y; you feel really smarter wearing a white coat," Shastid said.
"We're just going to look different, we're going to feel different, and it's going to be a little different in the classroom," Langston said.
The district hopes those difference will help students perform in the classroom and beyond.
The students started the school year off with a special flag-raising ceremony on Monday. The school replaces an alternative school that used the facility prior to this year. Students will spend the week picking a school mascot, another school color and getting hands-on in the science heavy curriculum.