Gov. Malloy Announces IBM Collaboration for Launch of P-TECH Model School in Norwalk

Gov. Malloy Announces Collaboration with IBM to Launch State's First P-TECH Model School in Norwalk
Posted on 04/07/2014
Governor Malloy

Students Graduate with High School Diploma and Associate in Applied Science Degree

Governor Dannel P. Malloy has announced that Connecticut’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High School will open in Norwalk in September. Known as a P-TECH model school, the six-year academy is a collaboration with IBM, Norwalk Public Schools and Norwalk Community College. Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) will serve grades 9 to 14 and enable students to graduate with both a high school diploma and a no-cost Associate in Applied Science degree that will put graduates on the path to a good job.

Created by IBM and partners, P-TECH schools are innovative public schools that bring together the best elements of high school, college, and career.  There are no tests or screening required for admission. The new school in Norwalk will be located at the Norwalk High School, and graduates will be first in line for jobs at IBM.

"As Connecticut industry and government realign for the 21st Century, it has become clear that there is a skills gap in our national and state economies," Governor Malloy said. "However, Connecticut is home to many industries that will be growth and innovation sectors over the next 10 to 20 years, and we must prepare our students with the skills they need to succeed in that workforce. We can begin by partnering with IBM to develop our first P-TECH model program in Norwalk, and work with other major employers to replicate this model elsewhere in the state."

Governor Malloy first mentioned plans to better prepare students for college and career in his State of the State address, when he talked about plans to work with IBM and other in-state companies to develop a Connecticut version of P-TECH - IBM's acclaimed school reform initiative. He reiterated that commitment in announcing the Transform CSCU 2020 initiative – a comprehensive plan to create a world-class education system. One significant goal of Transform CSCU 2020 is to improve the ability of high school students to enter and complete degree programs at the system’s institutions and to go on to secure jobs with wages sufficient to support a family in Connecticut.

Since then, Governor Malloy, state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, President of the Board of Regents Gregory W. Gray, Ph.D, David L. Levinson, President of Norwalk Community College, and Manuel J. Rivera, Ed.D, Superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools, have worked with IBM to create a Connecticut P-TECH initiative.

Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President, IBM Foundation, said each NECA student will be matched with an IBM mentor who will help the student understand how classroom learning has real-life application to the workforce. In addition, IBM will organize worksite visits, speakers, and internships to help the students gain the experience needed to work at IBM or another technology company.  

“Education is key to America’s economic growth and competitiveness, and a high school diploma is no longer enough," Litow said. "IBM is committed to helping Governor Malloy and his team create a new model of education that will equip students with the 21st century skills to be successful. P-TECH students gain both a rigorous academic education and the workplace and technology skills that many top employers require."

State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Dr. Gregory W. Gray, President of the Board of Regents, echoed the Governor’s message about the future of public secondary and higher education in Connecticut. It’s essential that our schools find new and innovative ways to prepare our students for 21st century careers," Pryor said. "As we realign student learning to better prepare our young people for success in the global economy, opportunities such as the P-TECH program offer them a distinct competitive advantage. We are grateful to Governor Malloy, IBM, and our many partners for collectively creating this opportunity for Norwalk students.”

“This collaboration between business, public schools, and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities is the next step in creating a world-class higher education system in our state," Gray said. "Through programs like P-TECH, we can build a system that not only prepares students for jobs of the future, but also provides incentives to keep the best and brightest of our students working and living here in our state.”  

September Launch for Norwalk Early College Academy

Norwalk Early College Academy will launch in September and will operate as a “school within a school” at Norwalk High School.  Like students in other P-TECH schools, NECA students will participate in an integrated sequence of high school and college classes, and engage in workplace learning activities such as mentoring, job shadowing and internships. Students will graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate in Applied Science degree from Norwalk Community College (NCC) within six years. The program will use a lottery process to admit approximately 100 students from throughout Norwalk in its initial 9th grade class, and will grow by approximately 100 students each year.  More information about the program and application process will be available shortly.  

“NCC’s role in the Norwalk Early College Academy will make it possible to educate a new generation of STEM workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” said David L. Levinson, Ph.D., President of Norwalk Community College and Vice President for the Community Colleges of the Board of Regents for Higher Education.  “Connecticut faces a serious shortage of workers with STEM skills, yet many high school students are unaware of the wide range of STEM opportunities, or are under-prepared for college level work in science and math.”

“We are extremely pleased to be the first school district in Connecticut to partner in developing a P-TECH model program,” said Dr. Manuel J. Rivera, Superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools. “The opportunities that will be available through the Norwalk Early College Academy fit perfectly with Norwalk’s emphasis on making sure all students are prepared to reach their highest potential for college and career. NECA students will develop skills and experience that are in demand today, and will set graduates on a path to life-long success in a globally competitive society.”

The first P-TECH school created by IBM and partners opened in Brooklyn, NY in 2011. Its success prompted President Obama to applaud the model in his 2012 State of the Union address, and to visit the school in October, where he said, "This country should be doing everything in our power to give more kids a chance to go to schools just like this one.”

IBM's second P-TECH school, called Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, opened in Chicago in 2012 and was featured in a recent Time magazine cover story that said the school "is redefining what it means to be educated in the 21st Century."

The P-TECH model was designed to be both widely replicable and sustainable as part of a national effort to reform career and technical education, and IBM has prepared an electronic playbook to help other companies, schools districts and colleges with the tools and content they need to replicate P-TECH schools across the state. There are 8 schools modeled on IBM's P-TECH blueprint currently in operation: the original P-TECH in Brooklyn; five in Chicago, and two more that opened in New York City in September, 2013.  In addition, the State of New York is expanding its commitment to P-TECH, opening 16 schools this September, with 10 more slated for September, 2015.