With a recent groundbreaking and industry professionals expressing a desire to collaborate with the school, interest in the Center for Research in Engineering, Science and Technology – the new high school in the Paradise Valley Unified School District – continues to grow. “We like to create world-class thinkers, and this program supports that thought,” said Superintendent Jim Lee at the school’s groundbreaking last month. “It will be the epitome of STEM programs in the district, state and nation.”
The school, on the campus of Paradise Valley High School at 40th Street and Bell Road, will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It is scheduled to open in August 2010 with about 150 students from northeast Phoenix and throughout the Valley.
Phoenix proposed a grant two years ago to encourage Phoenix high schools to offer programs that could increase the number of high-school graduates planning to pursue STEM-related careers and post-secondary education. Having a limited number of students graduating from Arizona colleges entering STEM-related fields is a major threat to Arizona’s economy, said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. “This has been about job creation, too,” he said. “Now we get to put lots of people to work.”
The new school hopes to play a role in the northeast Phoenix community by doing service projects with local technology-and engineering-related businesses. Making sure the community benefits is a big part of the school’s mission. “We’re asking a lot of our community – to have faith in something that’s brand new – and we want to be sure that we maintain that level of trust,” said Kathy Lahlum, an adviser to the school.
PROGRAMS OF STUDY
Each year, 35 to 50 students will be accepted into one of the three programs of study:
- Biotechnology (research and development) – Students will focus on the agricultural, ethical, genetic, medical and technological components of biotechnology.
- Biotechnology (sustainability) – The school will emphasize reorganizing living conditions, reappraising economic sectors or work practices, using science to develop new technologies and environmental lifestyle changes needed to sustain Earth through the integration of economic, environmental and social spheres.
- Engineering – Students interested in biomechanics, aeronautics and a myriad of other engineering specialties will participate in activities, project and problem-based learning.
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