The TST P-TECH Academy kicked off August 6 with an introductory bridge week, welcoming its first cohort of students.
Students enter the TST P-TECH Academy in ninth grade and begin working simultaneously toward earning a Regents high school diploma and an associate’s degree from Tompkins Cortland Community College. The rigorous and cutting-edge curriculum places an emphasis on project-based learning and STEM, helping students practice collaboration and develop problem solving skills vital to success in the workplace. The two pathways available to students are computer science and advanced manufacturing.
The bridge week aims to give the students and faculty a chance to come together for the first time and get familiar with each other. There will be educational activities that will support the program’s focus on STEM learning. Most importantly, this bridge week looks to help establish the identity of this fledgling P-TECH program.
“The purpose of the P-TECH program is to provide a hands-on learning experience where students engage and collaborate around real-world problems in an academic setting that seeks to unlock their innate creativity, intellectual curiosity and human potential,” said TST P-TECH Academy principal Jon Veenis. “In so doing, students develop and refine specific workplace readiness skills they will continue to draw upon throughout their respective college and professional trajectories. The P-TECH Academy Bridge Week is the first step towards accomplishing that.”
With a class size of around 20 students, P-TECH will feature a low student-faculty ratio. This will allow for a very tight-knit school community between students and teachers that extends to school administration and students’ families.
The P-TECH model is designed to include students from demographics typically underrepresented in post-secondary education and in tech-centric career fields. The 24 students in the class come from seven regional districts and are a diverse group in terms of racial and gender representation as well as cultural and economic diversity. The TST P-TECH Academy is committed to ongoing curriculum development and teacher development in order to ensure a fully inclusive and culturally sustaining learning environment for every student.
A key component of P-TECH is a focus on providing customized and individualized instruction. This very personalized approach means the curriculum can be shaped for each student as they progress throughout the program. “Flexibility” is built into the structure for the school year so that instruction can develop to match students’ needs. This aspect of the program will be a key focus throughout bridge week as P-TECH students and faculty work together to develop the brand-new program.