June 11, 2004
The U.S. Department of Education has recognized Mesa’s East Valley Institute of Technology as a national model for career and technical education.
EVIT "is uniquely designed to provide a curriculum that meets the needs of the 21st Century," Susan Sclafani, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, wrote in the May 28 issue of The Review, a federal newsletter sent to educators throughout the country.
"They’re looking to us as the pacesetter of what career and technical education should be," said EVIT Superintendent Sally Downey.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, schools such as EVIT are required to focus more on improving students’ academic achievement.
"Arizona’s EVIT model exemplifies the direction the new vision proposes," Sclafani wrote. "The school rigorously strives to achieve its mission: ‘To provide a productive, technically trained workforce that meets the market-driven needs of business and industry.’ "
EVIT offers a range of training from culinary arts and auto mechanics to broadcasting and drafting. Every class incorporates academic subjects, such as math or writing, and teaches students a practical application of those skills.
More than 700 students from East Valley school districts completed programs at EVIT this spring, and about 700 are enrolled in summer classes currently under way. Enrollment is expected to near 3,000 this fall.
Sclafani and other federal officials toured EVIT this spring. Students told them the practical application of academic skills in fields such as firefighting and cosmetology makes their education more relevant.
Morgan Gleckler, 16, who will be a senior at Mesa’s Mountain View High School, is taking a summer course in interior design. This fall, she plans to divide her time between Mountain View and EVIT.
"It’s more projects than handouts here," Gleckler said. "It’s really doing."