By Ely Schosek
For some time now, the Springville-Griffith Institute community has been hearing about the new P-TECH program, but not everyone knows what the program is really all about.
P-TECH is a program through Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES that offers a Pathway to Early College High School, which is where the acronym P-TECH comes from. It is a multi-year program that prepares students for careers in advanced manufacturing.
Anyone who has driven past the old district offices next to the middle school has likely seen the ongoing construction that is part of the most recent capital project. Along with extensive expansion to the previous structure’s exterior, the interior has also undergone a lot of changes.
“This is a multi-year commitment for students and their school districts, as students remain enrolled in their home districts for the four years of high school, plus up to two additional years for the completion of the associate’s degree,” according to the P-TECH section of the SGI district website.
Additionally, students in the program will earn a NYS Regents Diploma from their home district while they are receiving precious work experience and training via the completion of an associate’s degree.
“These programs offer project-based, differentiated learning cultures with specialized educators working in tandem with higher education, business partners and component school districts,” the website states.
Students gain additional hours of instructional time intended to “introduce them to industries in the region, project-based learning, career exploration and industry terminology, standards and employment soft skills.” This is the foundation of the program.
“High-rigor STEM curriculum is taught in a connected, collaborative environment, integrated with hands-on learning using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.” Those involved in the program participate in job-shadowing and internship experiences and use 1:1 technology integrated in their educational program.
In order to be considered for the program, the student must be enrolled as an 8th grade student in good academic standing who has shown interest in STEM and P-TECH career pathways. The student must also receive a letter of recommendation from a current teacher and have an application completed by their family and local school district. Disciplinary records are subject to review prior to enrollment.
Ideal candidates for P-TECH Programs are those interested in the real-world applications of math and science, have an ability to respectfully communicate and work with others and are motivated to learn in a challenging work environment.
Other qualities for candidates include interest in using technology to solve challenging problems, the ability to research and acquire new information, eagerness to learn in a non-traditional classroom environment, the desire to learn the professional skills critical for success in the workplace and willingness to work for a college education.
“All E2CCB component school districts may participate in the Co-Ser,” the website states. “The acceptance of students is competitive and each cohort is limited and is closed on the first day of the students’ ninth-grade year.”
All in all, the P-TECH Program is an excellent addition to the SGI community and will benefit students in WNY for many years to come.