Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)
Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) are innovative open-enrollment high schools that allow students least likely to attend college an opportunity to receive both a high school diploma and a credential and/or an associate degree. The hallmark of the P-TECH model is its career focus and the provision of work-based education. P-TECH programs:
- Enroll historically underserved students, targeting at-risk and economically disadvantaged
- Provide students grade 9 through 12 the opportunity to complete a course of study that combines high school and post-secondary courses
- Enable students to earn a high school diploma, along with an associate degree, Level 1 or Level 2 certificate, or industry-based certification within six years
- Offer age-appropriate work-based learning opportunity in every grade level
- Allow students to gain work experience through an internship, apprenticeship, or other job training program
- Align to regional workforce needs, guiding students into high-demand, high-wage careers
- Partner with Texas Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) and regional businesses and industries, giving students access to post-secondary education and workforce training opportunities
The P-TECH Blueprint provides foundational principles and standards for innovative partnerships with colleges, universities, and industry. The P-TECH Blueprint contains six benchmarks outlining the design elements that each P-TECH campus must implement before serving students. Additionally, outcome-based measures in Access, Attainment, and Achievement provide guidance for P-TECH program implementation and continuous improvement efforts.
P-TECH Blueprint Revision 2021-2022
Texas Education Agency (TEA) is in the process of revising the current P-TECH Blueprint. During the fall of 2020, a P-TECH Landscape survey was released for public feedback. In the spring and summer of 2021, the TEA held 12 P-TECH focus groups from February until June to dig into he strengths and challenges of the design of the P-TECH Blueprint and input on the current OBMS. The recommendations of each focus group will be balanced against the needs of carious stakeholders across the state. A public comment period will be available for all stakeholders to review the revised P-TECH Blueprint in late fall 2021 to early spring 2022. More information will be provided through the CCRSM network and newsletter.
The following laws and rules related to P-TECH programs are available below:
Under the authority of the Texas Education Code (TEC) §§29.551-29.557 and the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §102.1095, the TEA developed a designation process for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program. This designation process ensures that public school districts, local education agencies (LEAs), and charter schools operating P-TECH campuses maintain the integrity of the model, which was researched and designated to target and serve students who might not otherwise attend college.
Nearly 6,500 students are served by P-TECH schools. Texas is home to 62 designated P-TECH Schools and has 19 planning campuses for the 2019-2020 academic year. Access to the CCRSM interactive map to locate P-TECHs across Texas HERE.
To launch a P-TECH program, a district must submit a Planning Year Application to be eligible to open a new P-TECH campus, become a member of the the of the TEA's official planning year cohort, and begin serving students the following academic year.
The P-TECH Planning Year Application is open throughout the fall semester. Eligible Districts are notified of their status in the spring to provide 12-18 months of P-TECH planning. Over the course of the planning year, the P-TECH leadership team will receive technical assistance to meet P-TECH Blueprint requirements via an assigned technical assistance coach. By the end of the planning year, all design elements contained in the six Benchmarks should be embedded into school structures.
After meeting the design elements of the P-TECH Blueprint, the P-TECH is ready to serve students and may apply for Provisional Designation. New P-TECHs remain Provisional for four years and are held accountable to Provisional Outcomes-Based Measures (OBM) during this time. The TEA will provide technical assistance to the P-TECH leadership team to promote implementation of the P-TECH model with fidelity. Each year, the TEA will provide OBM data for informational purposes, throughout the Provisional phase so that P-TECHs can respond to challenges and be ready to meet Designated P-TECH OBM criteria.
At the end of the 4th year, the P-TECH must apply for Designation status and must meet the state's Designated OBM criteria. TEA requires Designation renewal annually for each P-TECH campus.
Note: TEA is currently in a phase-in process for the new P-TECH Blueprint. All data are for information and planning purposes only. This information will not be used to determine designation status.
The Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) Advisory Council established in TEC §29.552 (SB 22, 85th Texas Legislature, 2017) has members appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker. The appointees represent school districts/open-enrollment charter schools, institutions of higher education, and business and industry. The Advisory Council is charged with making recommendations to the Commissioner of Education on:
- the establishment and administration of the P-TECH program; and
- the criteria for a campus's designation as a P-TECH school under Section 29.556.