Students in Biotechnology 1 class


What is biotechnology? 

Click here for an overview of the field. 


How long has BTI been on the Carlmont campus?

BTI’s first cohort was enrolled in the program during the 2015-2016 school year and graduated in 2018.


Are there other schools that have programs like BTI?

We have created a truly unique program. There isn’t a comparable program in the county, and we have not found another program like BTI in the state.

Is BTI a California Partnership Academy?

No, BTI is not a California Partnership Academy. It is a small learning community sponsored by our school, our district, state grants, and private donors.

What are the benefits of being in BTI?

See the Benefits page to learn about the special opportunities we provide.


Do BTI events take place after school? I'm worried I can't take on any other extracurricular activities. 

The sophomore symposium, mentor breakfasts, job shadow, field trips, and bonding events take place during school hours. 


I like science, but I’m not sure I want to pursue a career in science or biotechnology. Is this program right for me?

The biotechnology industry has the need for professionals from many different fields such as engineering, law, human resources, marketing, sales, accounting, investment banking, etc. Most professionals in the biotechnology industry are required to know quite a bit about the field, even if they are not employed as scientists.

Even if you think you might pursue an alternative scientific field, our program will still give you a strong foundation, and the essential lab skills and communication skills you need to succeed in college and beyond.

If I am accepted into the BTI sophomore cohort, can I change my mind over the summer?

Campus-wide, schedule changes will not be permitted after mid-May, 2024; therefore, students who accept our invitation to enroll in BTI, will not be able to drop the program over the summer or in August when we return.  

Do I have to stay in BTI if I decide it isn’t right for me?

We recognize that as students grow, their interests might veer in a different direction. While we hope to have committed students join the program, we would not prevent a student from leaving BTI at the end of their sophomore or junior year. So far, we have had excellent retention.

Can I join BTI in my junior or senior year?

Most of our students join BTI as sophomores, but, if space opens up, we will accept a few applications for our junior cohort. We are unable to accept students into the senior cohort.


What is your retention rate?

Since we launched the program, there have been a few students who decided BTI wasn’t right for them. Most of the students who have left the program, however, left Carlmont to go to other schools. Some moved out of the area.


Are BTI courses academically rigorous?

The biotechnology classes are all dual-enrolled through Skyline College, and the senior Biomanufacturing class is co-taught by a Carlmont teacher and a Skyline College professor. The BTI humanities courses are all college preparatory and comparable in rigor to other college preparatory classes on campus. BTI students tend to be highly engaged and demonstrate great intellectual curiosity. Class time is productive and discussions run deep. You can find more information about our classes on the Curriculum page. The left-hand column has a tab for each subject. Click on the tab and a course description will appear.


What is the homework load like in BTI classes?

Our teachers, like many across campus, are conscientious about keeping the homework load reasonable. All of the biotechnology classes are labs involving specialized equipment and supplies, so most work for those classes must be completed during the school day, which helps balance the workload.

Where do BTI students get accepted to college?

See the BTI Graduates page for a list of where BTI students have been accepted to college.

Do I get a grade bump for any of the BTI classes? How many dual-enrollment credits can I earn from Skyline College?

BTI students can earn up to 9 dual-enrollment credits from Skyline College. These credits are UC and/or CSU transferrable.


Community college UC “grade bumps” will not appear on the Carlmont transcript—a separate transcript must be submitted to the colleges a student is applying to and the colleges will recalculate the GPA. Click here for more details.  


If I am enrolled in BTI, can I take AP classes?

If your schedule allows, you can take AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Seminar, and advanced math classes like AP statistics and Ab or BC Calculus. BTI students are unable to take AS or AP English or social studies classes.

Speak with Ms. Miller, the BTI guidance counselor, if you have specific questions about how many AP classes would fit into your schedule as a BTI student. Ms. Miller can also review the prerequisites you would need to fulfill in order to enroll in the courses in which you are interested. 

Please note that BTI students can earn up to 9 dual enrollment credits from Skyline College. These credits are UC and/or CSU transferrable. Click here for more details.   

But I really want to take AS and AP English and social studies. Is this program right for me?

Students who love the humanities and sciences equally sometimes have a hard time choosing between BTI and the traditional pathway, especially if they want to take AP English and AP social studies. We find that students who choose BTI are almost always glad they did. Our retention rate has been excellent.


You can find more information about our English and social studies classes on the Curriculum page. The left-hand column has a tab for each subject. Click on the tab and a course description will appear. Below are additional questions about the humanities curriculum.   


What level math class can I take if I am enrolled in BTI?

You can take any level of math you would like as long as you meet course prerequisites.

Can I continue to take electives such as AVID, choir, band, or a world language if I’m in BTI?

Yes, but it depends on how many you want and if there are scheduling conflicts. Some classes, especially electives, are only offered one period. When students take multiple classes that are only offered one period, it makes it difficult to get all of their classes to fit during the school day. Speak with Ms. Miller, the BTI guidance counselor, if you have specific questions about how BTI would affect your schedule.

Will I have a chance to interact with students who are not in the BTI program?

Yes, BTI students only take three classes together during their sophomore and senior years, and four classes together during their junior year. Other classes required for graduation and college eligibility are taken with the mainstream Carlmont population. BTI students are also involved in many programs on campus: athletics, performing arts, ASB, AVID, etc.

Can I take biotechnology classes at Carlmont, if I decide not to apply to the program?

Yes, non-BTI students may take Biotechnology 1-2, Biotechnology 3-4, and Chemistry for Biotechnology. Currently, the Biomanufacturing class is only offered to BTI students.


What is the difference between BTI English and other college-preparatory English classes on Carlmont’s campus?

BTI English classes meet Common Core Standards like all English classes on campus.


Unlike other college-preparatory English classes, BTI English classes are science-themed and include literature for the science-minded. Over the course of three years, students may study the following texts:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction, ed. by Arthur B. Evans
These books are taught cross-curricularly in English and social studies and/or science classes:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Careeyrou.

The English curriculum also includes articles about a variety of bioethical issues.


BTI students develop their skills in informative writing by learning how to write about scientific concepts in an accessible way. They develop their argument writing skills by exploring bioethical issues, and they develop their narrative writing skills by telling the story of how they became interested in science. They also write fiction and poetry.


BTI students correspond regularly with experts in the scientific fields, so learning how to maintain professionalism in email communication is important. Our students also participate in a mock interview, and many apply for internships, so resume writing is also an important part of the curriculum.

What is the difference between BTI social studies classes and other social studies classes on Carlmont’s campus?

Like other social studies classes on campus, BTI social studies classes meet Common Core and state content standards. Traditional historical thinking skills are taught and students learn how to analyze primary sources and use them in document-based questions. In addition, during senior year students will apply and make connections between government involvement/intervention and economic ramifications.


The BTI social studies curriculum also integrates topics about science, including issues related to food sources, germs/disease and new discoveries. For instance, when students learn about the world wars, they learn about the development and use of mustard gas in World War I, and the importance of penicillin in World War II. Research projects are modified to emphasize science themes or ethical decision-making as it relates to the biotech industry.

 Students at the California Academy of Sciences – Aquarium
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