IBM Launches Plan to Take P-TECH Schools Nationwide

IBM, along with its partners, has launched an effort to take its innovative P-TECH school model nationwide to create as many as 100 schools by 2016.


IBM announced that it is expanding the scope of its P-TECH technology schools education to include schools across the country.

Indeed, Big Blue’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) that began in Brooklyn, NY, a few years ago is now spreading to nearly 40 schools around the nation and could grow to an estimated 100 schools by 2016, the company said.

The growing number of P-TECH schools follows the opening in 2011 of the nation’s first grade 9-14 school that blends high school, college and career into one. IBM, which designed the school, partnered with the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York (CUNY), and the New York College of Technology to create P-TECH in Brooklyn. Since its launch, Brooklyn’s P-TECH has above-average attendance, with more than 170 students, or 65 percent of the school, enrolled in at least one of 12 college courses last year. To date, 60 percent of fourth-year students have earned more than a semester’s worth of college credits. Six students are on track to graduate next spring–two years ahead of schedule.

The six-year program combines academic rigor with career focus, where graduates will earn a high school diploma and a no-cost, industry-recognized associate’s degree, and will be first in line for jobs with the employer partner. Students are paired with mentors from the business community and gain practical workplace experience with paid internships. The innovative education model is designed to fill in-demand jobs in the United States, and ensure young people are college- and career-ready in the skills of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

With the IBM P-TECH model gaining ground, IBM, together with many P-TECH schools and CUNY, introduced a new digital playbook, making publicly available a formula that is reinventing high school in the United States and preparing students to enter the workforce with marketable skills that many employers now require.

The new Website, which includes more than 30 tools and 15 case studies, is designed to help school districts, higher education institutions and businesses establish new P-TECH schools across the nation by replicating IBM's public-private partnership education model.

The online playbook comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 10 new P-TECH schools are slated to open next fall, with IBM providing the tools, training and support to each participating school. The site was shown to an audience of 100 school and business leaders from New York’s P-TECH schools, including representatives from the 10 new schools just selected by the State Education Department and Gov. Cuomo, at a recent training session at SUNY Plaza in Albany, hosted by the New York State P-TECH Leadership Council and the Public Policy Institute. New York State Education Commissioner John King, Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, and Stanley S. Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation, spoke at the event.

“The extraordinary replication of the IBM P-TECH model in New York and around the country proves that school and business leaders can create powerful public-private collaborations that will help meet the country’s need for skills,” said IBM’s Litow, in a statement. Litow is also vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs at IBM. “This new playbook will give principals, schools and companies a detailed framework to provide our children with the 21st century education they need and deserve.”

More than three years after opening the first P-TECH school, IBM, partnering with CUNY, developed a P-TECH virtual playbook in an effort to share their knowledge, best practices and lessons learned to help public-private partnerships that are currently developing a P-TECH school or are interested in adopting one. The program is designed to be both widely replicable and sustainable.

The P-TECH schools Website’s 31 tools serve as a guide for public-private partners at every stage of the program–from launching to sustaining a school. Highlights include helping schools develop a skills-based curriculum and helping companies prepare students for future careers. The site also includes 15 case studies from the perspectives of P-TECH principals, school staff and business leaders on a range of topics including how to lead a school, supporting students in their college classes, mentoring students and examples of skills-based internships.

There are currently 27 P-TECH model schools in New York, Illinois and Connecticut. New York State plans to launch 10 more New York schools next fall and proposed tripling the number of P-TECH schools by 2016.