A principal explains how her school is building its P-TECH program even as it serves its first cohorts of students.

How to build a P-TECH Academy on the go

A principal explains how her school is building its program even as it serves its first cohorts of students

As the principal of a brand new “pathways in technology early college high school” (P-TECH), I’ve had to become comfortable with the idea of building a program even as students are enrolled in it. Fortunately, my leadership team and I understand what our school will look like when everything is in place.

We have a blueprint that we’re implementing one year at a time, so we don’t have to do everything at once. We also have a partner, the Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), that has successfully run a similar program for eight years providing guidance and support. Here’s how it’s working so far and why it’s so important to our students and our community.

Building the plane as we fly—with excellent mechanics aboard

I became principal in July 2022, after the first year of the Ellenville P-TECH Academy’s existence. One of the first things I did was to reach out to Ulster BOCES and the State University of New York (SUNY) Ulster. These are important partners for us. Ulster BOCES helped to write the grant that secured funding to launch our school and has served as a model for us. Our students, like theirs, will take classes at SUNY Ulster and some will even take classes at Ulster BOCES itself.

With the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy at Ulster BOCES serving as a model both in its own operation and in its relationship with SUNY Ulster, we were fortunate to not be starting from scratch, but working to adapt a successful model to meet our own community’s needs. It was important to me to understand what role those institutions play and what expectations they would have of me and my students.

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