IBM has announced that they have partnered with the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York (CUNY) to open “P-Tech” – Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn.
Rashid Ferrod Davis is principal of the school.
“It’s a unique model,” he said.
“A 9-through-14 model, an actual six-year school.”
Where traditional high schools finish at 12th year, the P-Tech college runs for two more years beyond that. Graduates will also then receive an associate’s degree from a nearby technical college.
Steve Kastenbaum at CNN reports that the school focuses on giving students a strong foundation in math the sciences. The school wants to qualify students for jobs in the tech industry when they graduate.
“The goal is to say that a high school diploma is not enough,” said Davis.
“In order to be competitive, students definitely need to leave with job-readiness skills so that way they can really have a shot at middle- and high-income lifestyles.”
The school is open-admission and it is the New York City Department of Education that assigns students to the high school based upon students’ choices.
Mayor Bloomberg’s 2012 State of the City address outlined his plans for education in 2012. One of his administration’s proposals include the opening three additional 9-14 models like P-Tech.
Davis told the New York Times:
“At P-Tech, we have a workplace-learning curriculum, a 90-minute course that every student takes daily in which they learn the real-world skills of the corporate workplace.
“A cornerstone of the workplace-learning curriculum is the mentoring portion that allows every ninth grader to be paired with a professional from IBM for the year. The students interact face to face and online through Mentor Place, IBM’s online portal for mentoring.”
While students are expected to stay at the school for six years instead of the traditional four, they leave with a free associate’s degree in applied science and the promise of being first in line for job openings at IBM.
Stanley Litow, IBM’s vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, said that schools like P-Tech open up social mobility opportunities for poor students.
“We’ve been designing this for all kids, not just a few kids, designing it in a way that it doesn’t cost more than the existing system.”
14 million jobs are set to be created over the next ten years for students who have associate’s degree skills, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Davis wants to see his P-Tech students filling some of those positions.
“It’s challenging, but it’s also thrilling,” Davis said.
“It’s the idea of how do we make sure that we are working with all constituencies – the community, parents, junior high schools, high schools, college, industry, teachers – everyone that says public education is important.”