P-TECH Continues Expanding, Opening New Doors for Students
Throughout St. Vrain Valley Schools students are building their future. P-TECH programs in Biochemistry at Frederick, Cybersecurity at Silver Creek, or Computer Science at Skyline, and new this year at Timberline PK-8 are designed to help students maximize their potential and learn valuable skills.
Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is a model that allows students to earn a high school diploma as well as an associate degree. This program supports the creation of a dynamic workforce and provides students the framework and resources they need to successfully complete postsecondary education.
New this school year, Pathway to FalconTECH at Timberline PK-8 provides students the opportunity to participate in a series of introductory to advanced P-TECH courses in computer science and workplace learning, as well as mentorship opportunities with Skyline’s FalconTECH students. Preparing students for FalconTECH includes extensive work around computer science, and supporting them in learning to speak the language of programming. The interim P-TECH and workplace learning courses share many parallels with the Skyline FalconTECH first college course that they will take during their freshman year.
Students in sixth grade dive into coding and programming and learn collaborative and professional skills. By the end of the 2021-2022 school year, all 139 sixth grade students will have completed the introduction to P-TECH course.
“Our P-TECH program has taught me many valuable lessons,” shared Lizbeth Alderete, 8th grader at Timberline PK-8. “Through this program I learned time management, how to use technology to my advantage, and how to be prepared for high school. It’s been a great opportunity and I am thankful to have participated.”
In seventh and eight grade,students explore the computer science strands, preparing them for the FalconTECH partnership with IBM when they will study in areas like algorithms, coding, and history of computing. “It’s been really exciting to see students become proficient and thrive using tools they’ve all scratched the surface of in their day to day learning,” shared Rachel Kissner, Science Teacher, Timberline PK-8.
Three new courses focus on IBM’s Workplace Learning Skills and Learning the Language of Code. They will prepare students for the rigor of college courses in FalconTECH and at Front Range Community College, and will be added to the Pathway to FalconTECH catalog in the fall of 2022. Timberline PK-8 had 35 students apply to FalconTECH for the 2022-2023 school and 30 were accepted, an 85 percent acceptance rate. Additionally, 90 percent of students who applied went through the PTECH program at Timberline.
Skyline High School continues to be the flagship IBM P-TECH school in the western United States. FalconTECH allows students to earn their high school diploma as well an Associates of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from Front Range Community College.
In 2020, 33 members of the Skyline graduating class were part of the first FalconTECH cohort – 15 of these students received their high school diploma, as well as their associate degree. The success of FalconTECH would not be possible without the continued partnership between students, staff, and their industry partners – Front Range Community College and IBM. To date, there are 27 Skyline alumni that are currently working for IBM and 66 students who will complete their paid internship with IBM in the summer of 2022.
“P-TECH is a valuable experience,” stated Greg Stephens, Assistant Principal and FalconTECH Coordinator at Skyline. “There is no other program where students can have a high school experience, a college experience and a real-world experience at the same time. Everything connects in P-TECH.”
Beginning in 2019, WarriorTECH has added three cohorts and students continue to excel in their AIMS Community College courses. They will be gearing up for their first summer of industry internships focusing on resume building skills, interview skills, and workplace soft skills.
P-TECH is a valuable experience for students to participate in because it provides them with post secondary opportunities that they can take advantage of throughout high school. “It gives our students the upper hand as they leave high school, and gives them the confidence that they can indeed pursue higher education opportunities,” shared Ashelie Swanson, Assistant Principal and WarriorTECH Coordinator at Frederick High. In their guided study course, WarriorTECH students have identified community projects which will be showcased to all their industry partners next month.
The newest P-TECH program at Silver Creek High School, RaptorTECH, supports students in developing cybersecurity skills, interpersonal skills, and workplace readiness skills. Students take their RaptorTECH 9 Guided Study course during their first and second semester.
The first cohort of 9th graders are currently taking their first college course – Introduction to Cloud Computing. “We do not intend for our students to just become computer experts through our program, but also to become well-rounded people who are able to contribute to society both professionally and personally,” shared Aaron Basking, RaptorTECH Counselor.
RaptorTECH students meet quarterly with their mentors and engage in cybersecurity activities to learn about each of the industry partners. They also get the opportunity to to be part of a community of students as they are entering high school, which serves as a support network ast they navigate through high school and college at the same time.
P-TECH is a catalyst for students’ futures, preparing them to tackle challenges they never thought possible. P-TECH provides structure and support so students can thrive and maximize their potential.