As Brooklyn P-TECH – IBM’s first P-TECH school – celebrates the graduation of six students with their high school diplomas and college degrees two years ahead of schedule, we reflect on what makes P-TECH so special, and look ahead to the model’s expansion across the U.S. and abroad.
Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs. Mr. Litow is a former Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools.
Last week, I had the distinct privilege to visit Newburgh, a city situated on the Hudson River and just a short train ride north of The Big Apple. It was a chance to witness
firsthand what everyone has been clamoring about: just what is happening inside a
Otherwise known as Pathways in Technology Early College High School, P-TECH has earned much praise for innovation in education from just about everyone, including President Obama. For me, the question was whether the success of the Brooklyn model could take flight in less populated areas. Could this model work in other communities across the state, particularly in troubled regions? I was determined to find out.
Twenty-three years ago this May, I graduated from Morehouse College as part of the largest class in the college’s history through 1992. Features in national media outlets told the stories of several young leaders from the Class of 1992, including why they had chosen Morehouse over such schools as Cornell and Stanford, the commitment to service that Morehouse had instilled in them, and their plans for making the most of themselves and doing their best for their communities. On Commencement Day this year, Morehouse’s President acknowledged my work with P-TECH, and what we and our partners are doing to help level the playing field for a new generation of young leaders.
Today, our school celebrates its first graduating class – six extraordinary young people who, through talent and tenacity, are finishing the six-year P-TECH program in just four years, and beating the odds. After accepting the P-TECH challenge of rigorous academics, extended school days, summer sessions, workplace learning, mentoring and internships, each of these graduates has earned either a high-paying job with IBM, or acceptance to a four-year college or university. Four of the six are the first in their families to graduate college. Each of them personifies what it means to redefine oneself based on one’s
P-TECH is redefining possibilities for 17 and 18-year olds so that by their mid-20s their lives have different trajectories than those of their peers from similar socio-economic backgrounds and previous generations. The success of these six students shows that achievement gaps can be closed when young people have access to equitable opportunities and resources. We look forward to more of the types of public-private partnerships that are reinventing high schools as engines for success.
Continue reading to meet the P-TECH Class of 2015.
At the height of last year’s Ebola outbreak, the citizen engagement team at IBM Connections in Sierra Leone put their talents in technology to work, creating a way for citizens to report Ebola-related issues and concerns via text or voice calls.
The people behind the project – which provided real-time insight to the government and helped health care companies more effectively deliver trial vaccines – were not only highly skilled IBM employees. They were volunteers.
Across the country and the world, companies like IBM are putting their unique business muscle to work for the greater good. These pro bono volunteers – top-notch professionals in technology, public health, systems engineering, logistics, manufacturing and more –
are using their industry-leading skills and relevant issue expertise to help nonprofits
Yesterday at the White House, I participated in an event – convened by the White House, Points of Light and the U.S. Department of Commerce – that brought together corporate and nonprofit leaders for a change-making expo. We showcased some of the newest tools and innovations in pro bono service.
When most of us talk about “tools for transformation” these days, we’re usually referring to software as a service or specific types of business or operational strategies. At the Atlanta Community ToolBank, we certainly use digital and conceptual “tools” to help us serve our clients. But our client touch point is physical tools. We are America’s largest tool-lending organization. We maintain an inventory of physical tools that we lend to other nonprofits to enable community-based service projects.
We began our partnership with IBM during their Centennial Celebration of Service in 2011. Since that time, IBM experts have helped us develop strategies for efficiency, growth and collaboration with other nonprofits so that we can continue to provide our essential service. IBM and the Atlanta ToolBank eventually entered into a partnership that involves an annual consulting grant to help us refine operations and expand our impact across Atlanta. This critical strategic “tool” has been made possible by an IBM Impact Grant.
P-TECH, the IBM-led grades 9-14 schools model, is expanding rapidly because of its seamless integration of high school, college and career, and the concrete path to opportunity the model provides for students. There are 27 schools currently operating under the P-TECH model in the United States, and this week, Australia announced it will open two P-TECH schools with IBM’s help in Ballarat and Geelong in 2016. The Australian Financial Review has just published an in-depth article about how this truly innovative high school model has been implemented in the U.S., specifically focusing on one of IBM’s four partner schools in Newburgh, New York.
Located in a school district burdened by high crime and low incomes, Newburgh’s Excelsior Academy is providing its inaugural class with a promising path to a college diploma and fulfilling career. Highlighting how Excelsior Academy blends academic and workplace skills development into a well-rounded education, the Australian Financial Review article illuminates the P-TECH model’s potential to increase the skill level and career preparedness of graduates throughout the country and, eventually, around the globe.
Cliff Archey is IBM’s Education Program Manager at Excelsior Academy in Newburgh,
All organizations need skilled leadership. Nowhere is this truer than in the nonprofit sector – especially in the creative and arts economy. Managing a creative enterprise can be difficult in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and balancing the creative process with business needs is always an issue. But in the nonprofit world, creative organizations have the added challenges of cultivating new donors and audiences; growing (or even surviving) in an era of cutbacks in the arts; and staying ahead of evolving community demands.
Arts organizations need funding to survive, but simply handing over checks is not a sustainable solution – either for donors or beneficiaries. The sustainable solution that
aligns with the way IBM integrates corporate citizenship into overall business strategy
is to engage nonprofit leaders in the dialog of expert leadership. To do that, we recently collaborated with the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC) and
The Wharton School on Designing Leadership – a leadership development program for executives in the arts, culture and creative sectors. This partnership was enabled by an IBM Impact Grant.
As Superintendent of North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System, I lead a district where thousands of employees are committed to ensuring every student receives a quality education. But we do not work alone. It is an endeavor that also includes parents, students and community partners.
It was in that spirit that our community began developing a new strategic plan in spring 2014 when several hundred people gathered on a Friday night to talk about the future of public education in our county. That discussion was followed by an online survey that attracted 11,000 participants, a town hall meeting of more than 750 people and months
of debate among a working group of parents, teachers, students, community leaders
As a teacher at Brooklyn’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), I’ve seen first hand how engaging young people unleashes their potential and enables them to transform themselves. Most of our students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and enter P-TECH (an open admissions school) with a variety of academic and social issues. But with constructive engagement through our integrated program of classroom and workplace learning, our students are achieving amazing things!
In addition to rigorous course work and essential mentor/protégé relationships for each
P-TECH student, our program includes workplace and other instructional opportunities that give our students a heads-up view of the world outside of their neighborhoods and beyond the scope of traditional schooling. That’s why our students and I were so excited to visit IBM’s Thomas Watson Research Center as part of the company’s Local Education Outreach Program. It turns out that IBM leads the world in patents, and our students’ visit to one of IBM’s creative innovation nerve centers proved to be a mind-opening experience for them…and for me!
President Obama’s proposal to provide free community college across the U.S. is expected to cost upwards of $1.4 billion in 2016 and $60 billion over the next 10 years. Can America afford it? The real question is: How can we not?
In my latest article for The Huffington Post, you’ll read about the latest data showing a disturbing and widening gap in college completion rates between the nation’s rich and poor students. But you’ll also read about an innovative and collaborative solution that’s helping everyday students – many from low-income families – unlock their potential for success.
Find out how this innovation that’s connecting education to jobs has grown from one to
27 schools in less than four years, and will scale to reach 100,000 students nationwide
by 2016. And learn why Congress must fund and modernize the legislation that provides critical funding for programs that prepare our young people to enter the real 21st
A former Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Schools, Stanley S. Litow is
IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President
of the IBM International Foundation.