HFM PTECH designated a program to watch

by Eric D. Randall

On Board Online • November 20, 2017

By Eric D. Randall

The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES' Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) program has been designated as one of 25 national models of Innovative Successful Practices by the AASA-The School Superintendents Association and The Successful Practices Network.

Centered on project-based learning, the four-year-old program allows students to choose their own "pathways" to high-skills jobs in different career clusters. Like other P-TECHs, HFM PTECH (which omits the hyphen) includes college-level, credit-bearing coursework and partnerships with industry.

"The data is clear; our PTECH model for high school education works," HFM BOCES District Superintendent Patrick Michel said. "Our students have seen tremendous success, and we look forward to sharing our model with other school districts to benefit students both locally and nationwide."

In 2014, a consortium of HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, and business partners collaborated to launch the first of two PTECHs. In 2016, the consortium partnered with SUNY Cobleskill to launch an Agriculture PTECH.

"The P-TECH model is transformative," said state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. "Students in these programs go from thinking they can't, to knowing they can - they can graduate from a high school program with rigorous academic standards, they can earn a college degree, and they can land a well-paying job. The program is helping students from all backgrounds look forward to what's possible, instead of focusing on what may have happened in the past. It's truly a win-win proposition for everyone involved."

A case study of the HFM program is underway. It is in the running to be one of five schools to be highlighted at two national conferences in 2018.

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