Greater Southern Tier STEM Academy (GSTSA)is a Boards of Cooperative Educational Services(BOCES) high school in Corning, NY, that servicesstudents with shared educational programming from 12 school districts. GSTSA first implementedthe P-TECH model inSeptember 2016. Sincethen, there have been five cohorts who haveexperienced the innovative education modelthat addresses education access and workforcedevelopment challenges. Students have fourSTEM degree pathways to choose from AdvancedTechnical Education, Health Care, Clean Energy,and Information Technology.
The goal of the case study is to provide anexample of the P-TECH model outside of the IBMindustry partner context. Over several months,IBM worked in partnership with GSTSA to take adeep dive into understanding the implementationof the P-TECH model.GSTSA provided nonidentifiablestudent-level data with key academicmetrics by academic year. Additionally, IBMinterviewed nineindividuals representing differentparts of the P-TECH model – from students oralumni to industry partner representatives.
GSTSA has done well in making this educationmodel fit their particular context. It is no smallfeat to facilitate a program in which students aretraveling from different counties to attend highschool, all while getting students’ schedules setup to attend college classes. Several people spokeabout the struggle of getting a balance betweenthe high school and community college schedule in the interviews.
The first cohort to begin the six-year program wasretained up to almost 80%, with some drops atthe fifth and sixth years. Many students opt intogoing back to the local high school to finish schoolwith their friends or leave early to join the military.
Despite the drops in retention, 34% of Cohort 1students graduated high school with a high schooldiploma and AAS degree between four and fiveyears.
Additionally, 44% of Cohort 2 graduated with highschool and AA degrees, showing an upward trendin students graduating with degrees. Of the entirepopulation that graduated, about 60% are female,which is an encouraging sign reflecting increasedwomen’sparticipation in STEM.
— Have more interim conversations with students about their post-high school goals to help with retention rates
— Continue to have more partnership meetings to make sure there is alignment between all partners to help with program development
— Provide more workplace learning opportunities for students, such as internships or mentorships that relate to their field of study