Spotlight

Patrick Bohman

Cred. '07, MA '08

Portrait of Patrick Bohman

Young Alumnus Brings Zeal to Career Technical Education Path

By Heidi Sciutto, Fall 2009

Starting his third year as chemistry teacher at Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School (HPHS), Patrick Bohman is knee-deep in initiative.

 

Starting his third year as chemistry teacher at Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School (HPHS), Patrick Bohman is knee-deep in initiative.

“We’ve been trying out new strategies and models,” he said and laughed. “Now I have to find a way to make them sustainable.”

HPHS, a unique small high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District, opened in fall 2005 to all students in the Sacramento region interested in pursuing health care as a career. Bohman taught the second group of sophomores in 2007 and celebrated the founding class’ graduation in June.

The school was conceived in 2002 to address the extreme regional shortage of qualified health care workers in the Sacramento area while the school district was seeking to develop a network of small high schools focused on career technical education with a multiple pathways approach. A collaborative design process took shape to create HPHS as a 500-student campus that provides an early college prep orientation, rich with relevant academic, leadership, and hands-on experiences—using health care as a theme—for mostly under-served students.

With the open campus and cooperative atmosphere, Bohman said he feels lucky to have found a place to “pursue something unique.” In addition to teaching chemistry classes, Bohman has engaged with his colleagues to create a biotech program that develops specific skills for a health care career, particularly in biomedical imaging. He also participates in a Saturday Academy program, bringing students to UC Davis Medical Center for special hands-on instruction, and he purposefully fosters relationships with local health care professionals who can serve as mentors and future employers of HPHS graduates.

In just two years at the school, Bohman helped register and tutor students for the SAT; revitalized a peer mentoring program that pairs freshmen with upperclassmen; served as faculty sponsor for both the Multicultural Club and the Health Occupations Students Association; and ran a program with another teacher that allows the high school students to be instructional assistants at a neighboring elementary school.

“Everyone has a voice at HPHS,” Bohman said. He enjoys the school’s distributed leadership model where ideas and accountability are peer-driven rather than “top down.”

“The level of ownership that the teachers have for their students is incredibly high,” Bohman said. “It makes for a very collaborative, very fulfilling environment for me personally, and it is transformational for the students.”

With a heart for service, a brain for science, and an outgoing personality, Bohman didn’t originally set out to be a teacher. Growing up in Mountain View, California, with both parents involved in health professions, he signed on as a pre-med major while an undergraduate student. But when he was a junior, Bohman realized he wasn’t as motivated or passionate as the students sitting next to him in “gigantic” introductory classes at the University of Washington.

Bohman soon found his passion when he was invited to teach a “college survival skills” class for freshmen and something clicked. He audited teaching credential program classes while completing his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and his path to be a teacher—rather than a doctor or researcher—became clear. “I realized I wanted a service-related career with direct interaction and immediate feedback,” he said. “The kids rely on me to help them. It’s like instant gratification for me.”

Bohman earned his teaching credential and master’s degree at the School of Education. He credits Rick Pomeroy and his advisor Heidi Ballard as “amazing” mentors, and he has fully committed himself to his students at HPHS. “Nothing matters more to me than making my students feel successful,” Bohman said.

Bohman’s advocacy, fresh ideas, and enthusiasm for his experience in the School of Education caught the attention of the School’s newly formed Alumni Council last spring. Selected as a finalist for the first Distinguished Education Alumni Award, Bohman was invited to join the Council for his “young alum” perspective.

“The School of Education is such a wonderful place,” he said. “I want to make sure alums can stay connected even after they move away.”

 

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