An article from Good.is explains how the IBM International Foundation, City Tech, and the New York City Department of Education teamed up to bring a progressive idea to life. The Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-Tech, will offer students the unique opportunity to stay in high school for six years. Those students who opt to stay for the traditional four years will earn their high school diploma, whereas those who opt for the additional two years will earn an associate’s degree in computer science. The associate’s degree is provided at no additional cost and the courses are taught during normal school hours. The objective of the six year program is to prepare high school students for a career in Information Technology, or to continue on and pursue a bachelor’s degree.
IBM was involved with the creation of P-Tech’s curriculum, as well as the selection process for the administrative positions. Starting this September, 130 ninth graders will begin their journey at P-Tech. While no specific tests or admittance essays are required to be accepted into the school, students should be enthusiastic about math, science, and computers. In addition to providing project-based academic courses, P-Tech will offer career oriented learning experiences aimed at giving students valuable job skills. Internships and mentoring opportunities will also be available.
The thought of being in the same school for six years might sound overwhelming. However, earning an associate’s degree at no extra cost right out of high school is an offer sweet enough not to be overlooked. Additionally, “real world” job experience is difficult to come by without putting in years of entry level time and slowly moving up the rankings. The president of the IBM International Foundation, Stanley Litow, explains that “Eighty percent of the freshman class comes from low-income homes.” P-Tech will provide a degree and a leg up into a potential IBM position later in life to students who might not have been able to achieve that success on their own.
Do you think having a six-year high school is a good idea? What other companies do you think should try this? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comment box below!