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New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths

Eastmark High School opened in Mesa last week, with about 800 students. (Photo courtesy of Lenny Catalanotto)

PHOENIX — A high school that opened in the East Valley last week is breaking the mold of a traditional school.

In addition to its glass walls, lounging areas and technology rich learning spaces, students at Eastmark High School will get to choose one of four career paths to follow.

“What makes our school very unique is the career-path academy model,” Paul Gagnon, the school principal, said.

Students will work with school counselors to choose one of four career path academies. Teachers will incorporate projects in their classrooms that relate to each student’s choice.

The STEM academy includes engineering, computer science and robotics. The medical academy includes sports medicine, biomedical science and in the future, a certified nursing assistant program.

The fine arts academy will incorporate careers in graphic design and in film and TV, while The business and leadership academy will including marketing and JROTC.

“The goal at Eastmark is that all of our students, not just some, are in one of those pathways,” Gagnon said.

He added the academies were picked based on “what jobs are going to be in high demand in the future.”

Eastmark High School, which sits on 60 acres of land, is within the Queen Creek Unified School District.

It started the school year last Wednesday with more than 800 students in seventh through 10th grade. The school is expected to add 11th and 12th grades over the next few years.

Next year, the school is projected to hold up to 2,100 students.

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