Longmont High School is set to launch a new advanced placement business program in the 2023-24 school year, which will offer students the opportunity to earn an associate degree in addition to their high school diploma.
Students will start Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, in ninth grade, and complete the program in four or five years.
“We’ve identified approximately 35 students — incoming freshman to Longmont High next year to be part of that cohort,” said Jeff McMurry, principal of Longmont High School. “We are seeking a fully-funded, fully-transferable Associate of Arts degree in business through Front Range Community College.”
The P-TECH program will also include mentorship and paid internship opportunities with the school’s partners — the city of Longmont, the Longmont Chamber of Commerce, the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County and the Longmont Economic Development Partnership.
“We kind of see it as a three-year job interview, where students are showing all of those skills,” McMurry explained. “They actually do the internship their junior year, and we’ve seen it with other St. Vrain P-TECH programs, where oftentimes students are offered a position within their company, so that’s something we’re excited about.”
Students will learn about accounting, economics, business collaboration, time management, executive functioning and communication, he said.
The internships will offer students a chance to learn skills that can’t always be taught in the classroom, McMurry explained.
“The real-world application that our students are going to be exposed to — again, not just later on in their high school career, but early and often — communication is going to be one of the key skills that they are going to be working on,” the principal said.
Longmont High School plans to spend the early spring meeting with its partners to recruit mentors, said Anne Atherton, assistant principal at Longmont High School.
“We’ll have a three-week kickoff program this summer to connect students with our business partners and their mentors,” Atherton said. “We’ll also be touring Front Range Community College, and students will be getting their Front Range IDs before they even get their high school IDs, which I think is pretty cool.”
Students will take their first business classes in the fall at the high school, and then their first Introduction to Business class at college in the spring of 2024.
P-TECH programs are now offered at four schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District — Skyline High School, Frederick High School, Silver Creek High School and now Longmont High School.
“Right now, there are over 435 students participating in P-TECH, and we’re just growing with starting a new program here at Longmont High,” Atherton said.
The school held a meeting in January to teach community members about the new program.
“The students and the parents were just really excited for this opportunity,” she said. “College is getting more and more expensive, and really the business focus is pretty versatile, and so it connects with a lot of different students’ interests and backgrounds.”