P-Tech, a new education model

CNC report from New York
Added On March 15, 2013

Better known as P-Tech, Brooklyn, New York-based Pathways in Technology Early College High School has earned national attention for its innovative program.

U.S. President Barack Obama even endorsed the workings of P-TECH high school in February.

Lifestyles has more.

P-Tech is an IBM-backed, six-year program for New York City public high school students.

Students start the program in ninth grade.

Apart from getting a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, IBM will provide a better chances for an entry-level position in a company.

SOUNDBITE (English): RASHID DAVIS, Founding Principal of "P-tech"
"Before we had any student at all, we map backwards from every employee at IBM in information technology that had an associate’s degree. That involves thousands of skills to New York City College technology and then matches those skills to two specific degrees, computer information systems and electric mechanical engineering technology."

This project provides students more practice experience before their college life.

“We're targeting them towards taking computer science classes at the college level. We know exactly what classes they are taking. We talk to the professors about what the kids will be seeing in the college classes. So we're better able to prepare them succeed in the college classes instead of just going in not knowing."

This donut-picking robot is made by Devante Williams, Sabih Abhyyan and Mohammad Ison, three ninth grade students.

Usually, an assignment like this would be undertaken by college students.

Thanks to the P-TECH program, with professional advice from IBM teachers, they finished the job in two months .

“The robot is programmed to pick up donuts of the ring and score points with these claws. For this, the funding we had was I think was like, how much? 1,200 dollars? Yeah, 1,200 dollars. After school, we spent about 2 to 3 hours on the robot.”

The school believes that their model can be replicated for other industries other than IT.

Aside from science, engineering and math, its English course also dips in innovation in teaching.

"Another program that makes I think our school unique, because this is a technology school, is something called Achieve3000 that we use, which actually, they take a baseline test and then it determines their reading level. And then based on that reading level, it will give them any article that I want to send them, tailored to their reading level. So that's meant to increase their lexical level. So the technology just allows us to individualize the instruction."

Still, there are many challenges to face for the students and P-TECH.

SOUNDBITE (English): RASHID DAVIS, Founding Principal of "P-tech"
“The biggest challenge is that they are for 13, 14-year-olds and we want to remind ourselves to be cognizant of their adolescent development to make sure that we are allowing them to grow and have fun and become productive citizens, but also to really meet where they are academically so they can earn skills for both college and career ready."

Because of its success, the P-Tech teaching model has started to spread in different cities and states across the U.S.

The first batch of P-Tech students will graduate in 2017.