P-TECH is an innovative program that is taking shape across the state.
"In a P-TECH 9-14 school, students earn a high school diploma, an industry-recognized associate degree, and gain relevant work experience in a growing field. The schools create a seamless program for students to acquire the academic, technical, and workplace skills and knowledge that employers need. The unique culture of a P-TECH 9-14 school is built upon high expectations for students and adults alike. Students see themselves as "college students" and "on a career pathway" from the moment they begin 9th grade. Likewise, teachers, partners, and parents work together to ensure that every student graduates fully prepared for the 21st century workplace." (www.ptech.org/model)
Key Elements of the P-TECH 9-14 Model
Focus on Careers: A student's experience in a P-TECH 9-14 school is shaped by the goal to prepare them to move into high-potential careers. Informed by current and projected industry standards, students take part in high school and college courses aligned to their career goals. Mentoring, workplace visits, job-shadowing, and internships are integrated into each student's preparation for the identified jobs. Engaged employer partners commit to ensuring that graduates are experienced enough in their chosen field to be considered "first in line" for jobs.
Focus on College Degrees: Recognizing that a college degree is essential for success in the 21st century economy, P-TECH 9-14 schools aim to provide every student with a pathway to an industry-recognized associate degree. Students and teachers are aware of the academic and personal standards needed to succeed in college, and college coursework is thoughtfully integrated throughout the six-year program. In addition, it is free to students and families.
Redesigned High School Experience: While P-TECH 9-14 schools offer a seamless and integrated six-year experience, the redesign of the high school program goes well beyond the length of the program. The model restructures nearly every aspect of schooling, including curriculum, instructional practices, faculty roles, support structures, the daily/weekly schedule, and long-term goals for students.
Diverse Student Body: P-TECH 9-14 schools are purposely open to all students, Young people from low-income families, first generation college students, students with disabilities, students of color, female students interested in male dominated STEM fields, and English language learners. The school partners recognize that students will arrive with widely varying skill levels and experiences. As such, they work specifically to create support systems that help all students achieve their long-term goals.
Shared Decision-Making: A P-TECH 9-14 school relies on developing and sustaining healthy partnerships with and among the school district, college, and the business employers. Successful partnerships are characterized by shared responsibility and decision-making, close collaboration, and honest communication.