While a high school diploma guarantees that its holder has collected the requisite number of credits for graduation, it does not certify that the holder is prepared for further education or the workplace. A review of college transcripts shows that during the school years 2003 to 2009 68 percent of students in two-year colleges and 40 percent of students in four-year colleges had to take one or more remedial classes.
Whether high school graduates must repeat high school courses in college (at college prices!) or struggle in their freshman classes, poorly prepared high school graduates may cut short their education as did the 52.7 percent of South Carolina high school graduates who prematurely exited degree programs in which they were enrolled at the state's sixteen technical colleges.
IBM's P-TECH 9-14 high school is designed to ensure that high school students are prepared for both future education and successful participation in the world of work.
While the P-TECH high school design incorporates strategies such as business and industry partnerships, project and problem-based learning, and college-level courses that are already found in many high school improvement efforts, a P-TECH high school differs from the typical high school in five specific ways.
1) While the traditional high school may have partnerships with community organizations as well as with local employers, P-TECH requires long-term public-private partnerships with community organizations, colleges and one or more major employers. Each of the partners commits to "responsibility for student success. Together the partners shape the structure and culture of a P-TECH school."
2) The school's STEERING COMMITTEE composed of the principal, faculty and partners is tasked to plan and implement the school's six-year-long program.
3) The P-TECH high school program follows an integrated scope and sequence planned collaboratively by its administration, faculty and partners. The scope and sequence integrates high school and college courses with content mapped to the industry skills necessary for work success and which leads to both a diploma and an industry-recognized Associate Degree.
4) Workplace Learning is pervasive: mentoring, worksite visits, speakers, project days, skills-based paid internships.
5) The students who successfully complete the program are "first in line for jobs" with a guaranteed interview for an entry level position at an industry partner's enterprise. There is no grade point or entrance examination for P-TECH and the AAS degree is at no cost to the student or student's family.
The first P-TECH high school was founded in 2011 in Brooklyn. There are now 204 P-TECH high schools partnered with 586 industry and 87 college partners in the U.S. as well as in seven other countries.
P-TECH 9-14 was developed by IBM but not necessarily to prepare kids for jobs at IBM, according to Grace Suh, the VP for IBM Education. "We'd love them to come to work at IBM, but the idea is that we're giving them the skills they require to do whatever kind of work in whatever place--whether it's IBM or a start-up."
A P-TECH graduate named “Chigozie Okorie likes to say that he’s the ‘high school student who never left high school.’ He’s kidding, sort of: Not only did Mr. Okorie graduate from high school his also collected an associate degree and a full-time job at IBM…And he’s now studying communications at Baruch College and expects to graduate next year.”
IBM’s P-TECH high school model provides its students with what IT people call an end-to-end solution (E2ES). The student begins high school connected to the world of work and post-secondary education; the “future” is actually “now” for the student. This bit of magic is made possible by the transformation of industry, community, and higher education “partner” partners into genuine partners who actually share responsibility for the success of the students along with the school board, the school principal and faculty.
The links in the text are to P-TECH’s information rich P-TECH Website.
P-TECH is the acronym for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The first P-TECH high school was opened in 2011 as a partnership between IBM, City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education.
Remedial Course Taking Information is from a U.S. Department of Education publication Remedial Coursetaking at U.S.Public 2- and 4-Year Institutions: Scope, Experience, and Outcomes. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016405.pdf
South Carolina Technical College completion rates are found in the xl spreadsheet _che-docs_finance_CHEMIS_PFData_Fall2012_PFA_3_4.xls obtained from https://info.che.sc.gov/bi/v1/disp?rui=hh&b_action=xts.run&m=portal/cc.xts&gohome=
A complete description of the P-TECH school model and how the schools work may be found at https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/pTECH/index.html, and http://www.pTECH.org
The brief story about Mr. Okorie’s experience at the first P-TECH high school was found in Abby Ellin’s article, “A High School Education and College Degree All in One,” New York Times, November 1, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/education/learning/a-high-school-education-and-college-degree-all-in-one.html
Dr. John HOlton
Dr. John Holton joined the S²TEM Centers SC in July of 2013, as a research associate with an emphasis on the STEM literature including state and local STEM plans from around the nation.