Dr. Michelle LaFevre-Bernt has been teaching Biotechnology classes for 14 years. This year LaFevre-Bernt will no longer be teaching Biotech. Instead she is teaching AVID and working as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA).
In 2008, LaFevre-Bernt was asked to start the Biotech program, by a district personnel and the principal at the time. She taught the two-year program for 5 years. Later in 2013, after the new STEM program received plenty of applicants, LaFevre-Bernt was asked to expand the program to a four-year pathway.
“We had so many STEM-Engineering applicants that I was asked if I would be interested in expanding the Biotech program to a 4-year program that would parallel the Engineering program and accommodate students more interested in life sciences/pre-med and nursing,” LaFevre-Bernt said.
As a part of the Biotech community since the very beginning, LaFevre-Bernt shared her favorite parts about teaching Biotech.
“I love seeing students get excited about doing new cool things, learning new and cool things and seeing the value and applications in using Biotechnology to solve some of the world’s problems,” LaFevre-Bernt said.
Senior Iman Yousaf also shared her favorite part about the Biotech program, as well as her love for LaFevre-Bernt’s teaching style.
“I think the coolest opportunity I got to experience through the program has been my Biotech Partners internship at Kaiser,” Yousaf said. “I also loved how LaFevre-Bernt’s class did not stress me out with an excessive workload and how she taught everything step by step in a way that was fun and simple to understand.”
Senior Monserrat Herrera had Dr. LaFevre-Bernt for both biotech and Avid classes since freshman year. “She wasn’t only a teacher to me but a mentor. We have grown to have a close relationship which I am really grateful for.” Herrera said.
Leaving Biotech was unexpected for LaFevre-Bernt. In late June of 2022, she applied for
her new role as a TOSA. In addition to her role as a TOSA she is a part of the Coordination of Services Team (COST).
“My role is to be a data specialist and provide student support. By looking at all the kinds of data we collect as a school and a school district, to target specific students or groups of students that are struggling,” LaFevre-Bernt said. “The second half of my time is spent working as a part of the COST, meeting with teachers and counselors to look at individual students and provide them with additional support.”
The Biotech Academy Pathway is unique in Marin County and LaFevre-Bernt has a variety of plans for the future of the program. Specifically, the footprint she wants to leave behind.
“My biggest hope is that the program is sustainable and continues to have a good reputation on campus,” LaFevre-Bernt said. “Which requires a variety of teachers that can teach it from year to year that are not only committed to Biotech, but they also need to have a career technical education credential.”