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Greater Southern Tier STEM Academy

Background

Greater Southern Tier STEM Academy (GSTSA) is a Boards of Cooperative Educational Services(BOCES) high school in Corning, NY, that services students with shared educational programming from 12 school districts. GSTSA first implemented the P-TECH model in September 2016. Since then, there have been five cohorts who have experienced the innovative education model that addresses education access and workforce development challenges. Students have four STEM degree pathways to choose from Advanced Technical Education, Health Care, Clean Energy, and Information Technology. 

Approach

The goal of the case study is to provide an example of the P-TECH model outside of the IBM industry partner context. Over several months, IBM worked in partnership with GSTSA to take a deep dive into understanding the implementation of the P-TECH model. GSTSA provided nonidentifiable student-level data with key academic metrics by academic year. Additionally, IBM interviewed nine individuals representing different parts of the P-TECH model – from students or alumni to industry partner representatives.

Results

GSTSA has done well in making this education model fit their particular context. It is no small feat to facilitate a program in which students are traveling from different counties to attend high school, all while getting students’ schedules set up to attend college classes. Several people spoke about the struggle of getting a balance between the high school and community college schedule in the interviews. 
The first cohort to begin the six-year program was retained up to almost 80%, with some drops at the fifth and sixth years. Many students opt into going back to the local high school to finish school with their friends or leave early to join the military.
Despite the drops in retention, 34% of Cohort 1 students graduated high school with a high school diploma and AAS degree between four and five years. 
Additionally, 44% of Cohort 2 graduated with high school and AA degrees, showing an upward trend in students graduating with degrees. Of the entire population that graduated, about 60% are female, which is an encouraging sign reflecting increased women’s participation in STEM.

Recommendations

  • — 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

Resources