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Benchmark 1: School Design

Purpose of School Design

The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) shall establish school structures and policies, regularly convene leadership teams, and ensure adequate staff capacity for the successful implementation and sustainability of the P-TECH program.

Design Elements

  1. Student Cost

    The P-TECH program shall be offered at no cost to students.
  2. School Location

    The P-TECH location shall be
    1. on a college or university campus; or

    2. in a high school—as a standalone high school campus or in a smaller learning community within a larger high school; or

    3. at a central location, such as a CTE center. The central location is not the home campus where students are enrolled

  3. Student Cohorts

    P-TECH students shall be placed in a cohort for core classes to the extent possible; this does not exclude non-P-TECH students from enrolling in the same class. 

  4. Flexible Scheduling

    The P-TECH program shall provide flexible, individualized scheduling that allows students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and enables a student to combine high school courses and college-level courses with the goal of earning industry-based certifications, certificates, and/or an associate degree, and engage in appropriate work-based learning at every grade level.

  5. TSIA Testing Site

    The P-TECH shall be a TSI assessment site or shall be in the process of becoming a TSI assessment site. The P-TECH shall provide opportunities throughout the year for students to take the TSI assessment.

  6. Leadership Team Strategic Priorities

    The P-TECH shall establish a leadership team that includes high-level personnel from the school district, campus, business/industry, and institution of higher education (IHE) with decision-making authority who meet regularly and report to each organization. The leadership team shall develop long-term strategic priorities for the P-TECH program along with a work plan for how to achieve programmatic goals in coordination with district and campus improvement planning. Regularly scheduled meetings—in person and/or virtual—must address the following topics:  

    1. Establish and maintain the role each member will play in the design, governance, operations, accountability, curriculum development, professional development, outreach, sustainability, and continuous monitoring and improvement of the P-TECH

    2. Collectively develop an MOU and review annually for necessary revisions

    3. Share responsibility (between the school district, business/industry partners, and the IHE) for meeting annual outcomes-based measures and providing annual reports to their district and IHE boards, as well as to the public

    4. Monitor progress on meeting the Blueprint design elements, including reviewing formative data to ensure the P-TECH is on-track to meet outcomes-based measures

    5. Guide mid-course corrections as needed

  7. Leadership Team Key Roles

    The leadership team shall include leaders from the district, campus, business/industry partner, and IHE who have decision-making authority to execute changes toward this end: 

    District leaders (may include):

    1. Superintendent

    2. Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, or equivalent position

    3. P-TECH principal or director 

    4. P-TECH liaison to the IHE or department chairs 

    5. School-business partners or CTE Director

    6. School counselors

    7. Parent representative

    IHE leaders (may include):

    1. College or University President or Provost 

    2. Department chairs for core academic disciplines

    3. Liaison to the P-TECH or dual credit officer 

    4. Advising or student support director

    Business/Industry Partner (may include):

    1. CEO/president 

    2. Education/community outreach specialist or leader of relevant community organization, such as a Chamber of Commerce or non-profit organization

  8. P-TECH staff

    P-TECH staff shall include the following:

    1. A P-TECH leader who has authority over course and instructor scheduling, staff and faculty hiring, and budget development

    2. An IHE liaison with decision-making authority who interacts directly and frequently (in-person or virtually) with the P-TECH leader

    3. A business/industry partner liaison with decision making authority who interacts directly and frequently (in person or virtually) with P-TECH leader and the dual credit provider

    4. Highly-qualified P-TECH teachers who work directly with the P-TECH students, which may include high school faculty who must meet faculty requirements that are set by the regional accrediting association of the community college and/or university to teach college-level courses, instructors for virtual college courses, and instructors for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses

    5. Highly-qualified P-TECH high school counselor who collaborates directly and frequently with the IHE advisor or liaison to support P-TECH students. The P-TECH counselor and IHE advisor shall jointly support P-TECH students through IHE course registration and shall monitor high school and college courses and transcripts to ensure programmatic requirements for both the high school and IHE are met

  9. P-TECH Staff Professional Development

    The P-TECH shall implement an annual professional development plan (i.e, calendar of events/ activities) for teachers and staff, focused on research-based instructional strategies for increasing rigor and college- and career-readiness, that is based on needs assessment of student data, and includes both high school and dual credit teachers. Professional development should include, but is not limited to the following: 

    1. A mentoring and induction program for newly hired staff, providing them with the instructional and interpersonal skills and capacities needed for success in a P-TECH

    2. Faculty opportunities for P-TECH teachers and higher-education faculty to receive extensive support through regularly scheduled formative peer observations and collaboration opportunities with feeder pattern focus group and/or IHE faculty 

    3. An externship program to expose teachers, counselors, and/or administrators to experiences in careers in the pathways identified by the P-TECH

    4. Opportunities for joint training among P-TECH and higher-education college advisors and faculty (e.g., course requirements and addressing layered wrap-around supports for students)

  10. Sustainability Structures

    Sustainability structures shall be identified and implemented to address and minimize the challenges of staff turnover and potential fluctuations in funding.

  11. Advisory Board

    The P-TECH shall establish an Advisory Board that meets regularly and includes representatives from a variety of stakeholders such as school board, community, economic development partners, relevant industry subject matter experts for program pathways, and the IHE to provide support and guidance to the P-TECH in resource acquisition, curriculum development, work-based learning, and student/community outreach to ensure a successful academic and career pipeline. 



Leadership Team
Strategic Priorities

  • P-TECH/IHE leadership meeting agendas 
  • School board and board of regents’ presentations 
  • Document(s) outlining the strategic priorities for the current academic year and/or long-term priorities of the P-TECH partnership


Leadership Team
Key Roles

  • Description of each member and role in committee 


P-TECH Staff

  • P-TECH leader/liaison meeting agendas and relevant materials 


P-TECH Staff

  • Mentor/induction program plans 
  • Annual training or professional development plan with P-TECH and IHE faculty 


Advisory Board 

  • Meeting agendas and minutes, with action items and decision logs
  • A list of strategic partners with each member’s organization, title, and role in providing work-based learning for students by grade level