GOV. MALLOY INAUGURATES NORWALK EARLY COLLEGE ACADEMY, STATE'S FIRST IBM-AFFILIATED P-TECH MODEL SCHOOL
Students to Graduate with High School Diploma and Associates Degree in Applied Science
(NORWALK, CT) - Led by students who proudly showed off their classrooms, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today visited Connecticut's first Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) - the IBM-affiliated Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA).
The six-year academy - a collaboration among IBM, Norwalk Public Schools and Norwalk Community College - formally opened its doors on August 27 with approximately 90 students in Grade 9. Following the IBM P-TECH model, NECA will add one grade each year and ultimately serve grades 9 to 14. This will enable students to earn within six years both a high school diploma and a no-cost Associates degree in Applied Science. The model is designed to put young adults on the path to a good job in a growth industry; NECA graduates will be first in line if they choose to apply for jobs at IBM.
"Connecticut's first P-TECH model academy connects high school, college and industry to ensure that our students are both college and career ready," said Governor Malloy. "Our state is home to many industries that are growth and innovation sectors, and we must prepare our young people with the skills they need to succeed in that workforce. Partnering with IBM to develop Norwalk Early College Academy is a great step, one that I want to continue by working 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 earlier this year, when he talked about the opportunity to work with IBM and other in-state companies to develop a Connecticut version of P-TECH, IBM's acclaimed public-private school reform initiative. He reiterated that commitment in announcing the Transform CSCU 2020 initiative - a strategic plan to invest additional funds into the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) 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, Ph.D, President of Norwalk Community College, and Manuel J. Rivera, Ed.D, Superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools, worked with IBM to create the first Connecticut P-TECH school: NECA. The academy was formally announced on April 4, 2014. First Niagara Bank and the Be Foundation recently provided partnership grants for the new academy.
"The P-TECH model enables students to earn college degrees as extensions of their high school experience -and positions students for success in their careers. This program helps young people develop the skills and aptitudes required to excel in today's world. It also pairs youngsters with a mentor who helps to demonstrate and explain how classroom learning applies in the real-world workplace," Commissioner Pryor said. "We are pleased to assist in offering Norwalk students this experience and thank the many partners involved in bringing this opportunity to realization."
Created by IBM, P-TECHs are innovative grades 9 - 14 public schools that bring together the best elements of high school, college and career. There are no special tests or screening required for admission.
Each NECA student is being matched with an IBM mentor who will help their protégés understand how classroom learning has real-life application to the workforce. In addition, IBM is mapping the workplace and technical skills of some of its job positions into the academically-strong curriculum. The company is organizing worksite visits, providing speakers, and eventually offering skills-based paid internships to help the students gain the expertise and experience needed to work at IBM or other technology companies, or pursue further education.
Said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President, IBM Foundation: "We applaud Governor Malloy, his team, Norwalk Community College and Norwalk Public Schools for embracing this effective and innovative model. P TECH-modeled schools such as this one in Norwalk will prepare the next generation of young adults with strong academics and critical workplace skills they need to be successful in 21st century jobs, and to pursue successful careers."
Norwalk Early College Academy is an academy within 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 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 used a lottery process to admit students from throughout Norwalk in its initial 9th grade class, and will grow by approximately 100 students each year.
"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're extremely pleased to be the first school district in Connecticut to launch an early college model school," said Dr. Manuel J. Rivera, superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools. "The opportunities that will be available through Norwalk Early College Academy fit perfectly with our emphasis on making sure all students are prepared to reach their highest potential for college and career. We're grateful to all our public and private partners for their support in helping to turn NECA into a reality."
The first P-TECH school created by IBM and partners opened in Brooklyn, NY in 2011. 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. Its success prompted President Obama to applaud the model in his 2012 and 2013 State of the Union addresses, and inspired a Presidential visit to the Brooklyn school in October 2013, when 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."
There are now 27 schools modeled on IBM's P-TECH blueprint currently in operation: the original P-TECH in Brooklyn; five in Chicago that opened in 2012; two that opened in New York City in September 2013; Connecticut's NECA in August 2014; two in September 2014 in New York City; and 16 new schools throughout New York State that opened in September 2014. At least 10 more schools in New York State are slated for opening in September 2015. By September 2015, it is expected that there will be 40 P-TECH schools serving 40,000 students in the United States.
For Immediate Release: September 12, 2014
Contact: Samaia Hernandez
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