P-TECH gives high school students two years of college at no cost

P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) is a new model of education connecting high school, college and the world of work through college and industry partnerships. It’s a model that gives students a high school diploma, plus two years of college during their thirteenth and fourteenth high school years – at no cost to them.  What’s more, it’s a model that’s improving the economic competitiveness of the United States.

Bill Before House and Senate To Make P-TECH a Reality in Colorado

Bill HB 15-1270 is a bi-partisan piece of legislation sponsored by Representative Foote (D) and Representative Duran (D) in the House of Representatives, and Senator Woods (R) and Senator Todd (D) in the Senate. The bill creates a formal framework for implementing P-TECH schools in Colorado and other districts nationwide.

Regina Renaldi, Area III Assistant Superintendent and Patty Quinones, Executive Director of Innovation for the district, testified in favor of the bill before the House of Representatives Education Committee this past March 18th. Their testimony is crucial to passage of the bill, since the bill expires in 2017.

The expectation is to open the first P-TECH school in Colorado during the 2016-2017 school year, with additional schools in the district becoming P-TECH schools down the road.

“P-TECH lets us create a school that runs from grade nine through grade 14, with students receiving their high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree,” said Regina Renaldi, Area III Assistant Superintendent, St. Vrain Valley Schools.

IBM and Front Range Community College to Partner With District

IBM has already worked with P-TECH schools in New York and Chicago and will partner with St. Vrain once the bill passes. IBM will offer mentoring, internships and curriculum guidance, with Front Range Community College acting as a satellite campus for the district’s P-TECH school or schools.

Skyline High First P-TECH School in Colorado

Initially, there will be a single P-TECH school: Skyline High School, as well as The Innovation Center. Founded in 2007 as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) center, it prepares students for successful careers in those fields.

Parents and Community On Board with P-TECH

With the support of parents in the district, students can choose strong post secondary careers in computer science and geospatial technologies. P-TECH gets students involved and employed in the community right out of high school in crucial STEM fields.

“A more relevant, technology-based, career oriented curriculum is needed for the students to be prepared for the 21st century workforce,” said Regina Renaldi, Area III Assistant Superintendent, St. Vrain Valley Schools.