The Power of Partnerships
P-TECH was created in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education, City University of New York, NYC College of Technology, and the IBM Corporation. A steering committee composed of the partners worked to build the school's innovative 9-14 public-private partnership model. The essential element of P-TECH is these partnerships, which inform every element of the school.We are privileged to have such deep, excellent support from our partners. Pictured here: Cass Conrad (CUNY), Bonne August (City Tech), Principal Rashid Davis, Josh Thomases (DOE), and Stan Litow (IBM).After many years of involvement in education and other philanthropic efforts, IBM leadership came to the conclusion that, in order to have a lasting impact, their involvement must be both sustained and systemic. Short-term projects based mostly on writing checks proved to have only limited success. At the same time, the Office of Postsecondary Readiness at the Department of Education was beginning to seek new approaches to Career and Technical Education (CTE). The so-called "next generation of CTE" consists of an emphasis on both college and career readiness skills and competencies through closer alignment with industry and higher education as well as focused pathways that bring students through postsecondary education to a solid career. With the addition of CUNY and their landmark success in opening great early college high schools (P-TECH is the eighth), the steering committee began meeting roughly one year before the school officially opened in September 2011. The college partner City Tech—a leader in hands-on technical education—joined as the location was confirmed in Brooklyn.
From community engagement to lesson planning, P-TECH benefits from each partner's contributions. In school, we often wonder whether the lessons we devise, the instruction we deliver, the curriculum we plan, is really going to be relevant outside of the buildings. At P-TECH, we have the answer, or it can easily be found: our technology teachers email frequently with the college professors at City Tech; human resources pros from IBM keep us informed about trends in hiring and what they look for; and the Department of Education shares research and best practices in education reform.
And the partners' involvement did not end when the school opened, not in the least. Students will, of course, be taking college courses at City Tech, each students will be paired with a mentor from IBM or another corporation, and the big-picture thinking around the school's future will always be collaborative. In addition, IBM and City Tech have liaisons in the school frequently, and they join the staff in everything: from lunch duty to curriculum planning.
P-TECH is more than the sum of its parts—but the parts are impressive, too. We strive to bring together the best elements of high school, college and the workplace, and this is made possible through the vast contributions of our partners.