Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your summer break and that the school year is off to a great start for you and your students.

In July, I was pleased to serve as the lead teacher for the BTC Institute’s two courses for teachers – Biotechnology: The Basics and Biotechnology: Beyond the Basics. I received strong support from Tess Reimer, a teacher at Sun Prairie West High School (and, also a former student of mine at Oregon High School), and Aidan Holmes, Associate Education Director for the BTC Institute. It was great to be able to teach with Tess and her support was absolutely amazing. Aidan Holmes was also instrumental in facilitating both courses. Her organization and attention to detail are highly valued. Thanks to both for their efforts this summer — it was so good to be able to work with so many dedicated teachers who are passionate about bringing biotechnology concepts and skills to their students.

Since launching these courses about 15 years ago, I begin each week by stating how much I get out of the experience. I learn so much from our “teacher students” – the questions they ask, the ideas they have, and the fresh perspectives they bring. I am inspired every summer to alter my Biotech classes at Oregon High School.

No offense to my school district, but it is, by far, the best science Professional Development that I receive all year. What makes it special is that we get a chance to share our experiences, ideas, and questions with each other. Often, the groups decide to create a group Google Doc to share these ideas. This is great during the course, but I am often left wondering if the group’s collective knowledge could continue to be shared during the rest of the year.

Additionally, we close each course by sharing ways we can continue to provide support throughout the year. Aidan and I field numerous questions each month about a variety of topics including running gels, lab results, and purchasing lab supplies. We take pride in responding very quickly to these questions and love hearing from other biotech teachers. But, again, we know that so many of us have other ways of running labs, different interpretations of experiments, or other sources for supplies. It would be great to share these questions and take advantage of the group’s insights.

To facilitate this, we have developed a LinkedIn page you can join: BTC Institute Biotech Teacher Network. The concept is that teachers will post questions and share ideas that we can all respond to, developing conversations on-line. Aidan and I will moderate the page. The huge benefit of the page is that this format will allow us to take advantage of the groups’ collective knowledge and experience. It will also facilitate creating new ideas about how to bring biotechnology to our students. I am excited about the possibilities this new page offers all of us

Until next time…

Biotechnology:  Beyond the Basics – 2022

Biotechnology: The Basics – 2022

PETER KRITSCH is an Oregon High School biology and biotechnology teacher who has been serving as an adjunct instructor and consultant for the BTC Institute for many years. He is primarily involved in our teacher training and support efforts. He also assists with the ongoing development of our Biotechnology Field Trips program and serves as an advisor for Camp Biotech I and Camp Biotech II for high school students.