A few months back the Huffington Post, I told the story of Terrance Truitt in “A Smart Way to Close Achievement Gaps, Succeed in College.” Terrance is a graduate of one of EDWorks’ Fast Track high schools, which allowed him to take college courses as a high school freshman and graduate from college at age 20, and with less debt that some of his counterparts.
I talk about Terrance here because of the gem that New York Times has discovered in Crown Heights, Brooklyn – Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-Tech. Like Terrance, students at P-Tech are taking college courses, too, but their goal specifically is to obtain associate degrees in areas such as electromechanical engineering technology or computer information systems. The school has partnered with IBM and New York City College of Technology (City Tech) as part of the Smart Scholars early college high school program. EDWorks is working with the staff in a number of areas, including unit design.
P-Tech follows the Fast Track early college high school model of serving first-generation college-goers and traditionally underserved learners. The school’s student population is about 78 percent black or Hispanic males. That’s a model that has been successful for EDWorks in Ohio, where is implemented nine early college high schools and achieved strong results. P-Tech, though early in its inception, is already seeing similar results. The school’s attendance rate of 94.2 percent ranks them fifth among the 13 New York City high schools that opened in September 2011, and their October year-to-date attendance of 95.8 percent is currently highest among their peer institutions.
Those kinds of improvements get attention from high places. On Tuesday, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan will stop by to get a firsthand look.