McKinley Technical High School, Washington, DC
McKinley Technology High School is an application public STEM-based Title I magnet high school. McKinley offers National Academy Foundation (NAF) Academies in Information Technology (Digital Media, Computer Science), Engineering, or Biotechnology.
The entire biotechnology curriculum is designed to precisely mimic the experience of a research lab, complete with the same equipment used by the professionals in the field. Biotechnology capstone projects are akin to a college-level dissertation. Students pose their research questions, then present their findings in a journal article format. Projects have included work with aquaponics, designing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers, and testing mask efficiency. The Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing Exam (BACE) for biotechnology, for example, includes a practical section where students must perform skills in front of an evaluator, validating their expertise and job readiness.
Senior engineering students must independently identify a problem and craft a solution from concept to prototype. Students have made physical cubic puzzles using state-of-the-art multi-jet fusion 3D printing. McKinley students have created fire suppression systems to minimize fires in electrical outlets. They have created mechanisms to utilize residual energy in batteries before they are discarded. McKinley also has a multi-year project that will orbit a satellite created in-house by McKinley Tech students.
Students have required internship opportunities at companies and organizations, such as National Children’s Hospital, SiriusXM, the Smithsonian Institutes, Accenture, and the American Biotechnology Association. For example, the IT students created a website and a phone application for Verizon to help bridge the gap between customers and their ability to communicate and collaborate on networks. Biotech students shadowed medical professionals through work with Children’s National Hospital.
Through the NAF Academies, McKinley students can take credentialing exams to receive immediate industry validation. These industry certifications and internships have laid the foundation for permanent career paths for McKinley students.