This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) is the next level of education, combining the attributes of high school, college, and the professional working world in the form of dual enrollment in high school and community college.
Students enrolled in the PTECH program will take classes at both their home high school and at the Innovation Center. Mentor events for the program primarily take place at the Innovation Center.
Existing as a partnership between K-12 public schools, community colleges (AIMS, FRCC), and industry partners (Tolmar, Agilent, IBM) - the PTECH program combines an associate's degree, a high school diploma, and real-world practices to offer a complete experience for students. Together, SVVSD, Aims, FRCC, Tolmar, IBM, and Agilent will work together on developing appropriate curricula to meet the needs of the medical and pharmaceutical industries, while also identifying pathways to completion of a 4-year degree at Colorado colleges.
As a State Representative (now the 43rd Governor of Colorado), Jared Polis pitched PTECH on the floor of the US House of Representatives, in support of the initiative.
There is neither cost nor prerequisites to the students and families for the PTECH program.
There is a P-TECH program (called FalconTECH) at Skyline High School that began in 2016. The program has 153 students enrolled, with 135 IBM mentors participating.
Students are provided the opportunity to earn their Associate of Applied Science degree from Front Range Community College, in addition to their high school diploma, while receiving guidance and internship opportunities through IBM.
"The P-TECH program at Skyline has given students an actual reason to come to school and learn. These kids have solid academic and career goals which are tangible and attainable in high school. I have never seen such confidence and pride in students when they can look ahead and see their future happening before their eyes," explains Louise March, P-TECH Counselor at Skyline High School.
P-TECH at Skyline focuses on computer information systems with options in programming, database administration, and web design/development.
"At first, I joined P-TECH to make my parents proud and help out financially so my mom and dad would not have to worry about paying for my college. But in my sophomore year, I started to realize that I am doing P-TECH for me and my future. I am excited to begin my career and possibly work at IBM or continue on and pursue a Bachelor's degree. I am giving myself choices," states Andrea Soto Garcia, a junior at Skyline High School.
A second PTECH program is targeted for Frederick High School this fall 2019. Students in the program have the opportunity to earn a no-cost Associate degree in biochemistry from Aims Community College.
Interested students need to apply for the P-TECH program (called WarriorTECH) and then begin coursework in the 9th grade. For 2019, there are 35 spots available in the P-TECH program at Frederick High School.
This program involves mentorship and internship opportunities with Tolmar and Agilent Technologies (industry partners). Tolmar develops and delivers innovative therapies and inventive solutions to advance patient care. Agilent delivers complete scientific solutions, helping customers achieve superior outcomes in their labs, clinics, business and the world they seek to improve.
SVVSD is also in the planning phase to open a third P-TECH program at Silver Creek High School which will be focused on Cybersecurity.