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Brooklyn High School Gets Presidential Nod

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TWC News: Brooklyn High School Gets Presidential Nod
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Brooklyn's P-Tech High School is basking in the limelight after getting a mention in President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday night. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

At P-Tech High School – that's Pathways in Technology Early College High, to be exact – students and staff are glowing after the school was referenced in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

"At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York City Public schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computers or engineering," the president said.

The six-year program combines high school and college courses, and gives P-Tech grads a leg up in the hunt for technology jobs with companies like IBM, which helps fund it. Its mention by the president was seen as a badge of pride and wonder.

At first I was like, 'Whoa, president talking about our school? Out of all the schools in Brooklyn?'" said Kiambu Gaul, a 10th grader at P-Tech.

It's the kind of endorsement that educators dream of, especially after giving birth to a school like P-Tech, one of 12 public-private partnerships in the city whose students are chosen by lottery, with no pre-screening.

"Just the mention of a president who also echoes the belief that the high school diploma is no longer enough, and that we need to make sure that students leave with a post-secondary credential, is incredible," said Rashid Davis, principal of P-Tech.

"I kind of pinched myself, to say, 'Really? He's talking about this as a national model?'" said Cass Conrad, the director of school development for CUNY who helped develop the P-Tech curriculum. "I think it's really the idea of rethinking how to use the high school years and rethinking what kinds of programs will help us develop a really high-skilled workforce."

Two more schools, one offering associate degrees in nursing and one offering associate degrees in the energy sector, are slated to open this fall. It might be the beginning of wish fulfillment for the president, who wants to see more schools like P-Tech on the horizon.

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