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Developing Career Based Academies in Rural America

The new $62 million, 300,000 sf High School will be located on a new site in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

Flexibility was built into the design of the new high school. With an opening enrollment of 1,500 students, the school was designed to easily expand to accommodate a total of 1,800 students. The curriculum delivery method will be an Academy Structure. The design is reflective of the school’s “Career Cluster Program.” A section of the new building will serve as the Freshman Academy for core classes for underclassmen. Students are then able to specialize in specific programs and electives based on their “career cluster” track and can gear the electives towards specific careers they intend to pursue. Included Academies are: General Studies, Arts/Communication, Business, CTE (career and technical education)/AG (agriculture), Health, Human Services and S.T.E.M.

CTE Academy and Project Lead the Way’s mission is to ensure that Mt. Vernon students succeed in the increasingly high-tech and high-skill global economy.

Mt. Vernon High School has base much of its curriculum on the University of Illinois’ Career Cluster Model. Career Clusters are groups of occupations and industries that have in common a set of foundational knowledge and skills. There are 16 nationally recognized clusters within which are multiple career pathways.


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