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ACPS Welcomes 3rd P-TECH Cohort at Celebration Dinner

September 19th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

The Allegany County Public School System hosted the 3rd Annual Celebration Dinner for the next P-TECH cohort on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at the Allegany County Culinaire Café.  P-TECH, which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, is a high school and beyond (9-14) model, which combines high school, college and the world of work.

The program’s mission is to provide students with a free education that starts in grade nine, continues through high school completion with a high school diploma, and culminates in the attainment of an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Computer Techcnology with a Cybersecurity option within two years of graduating from ACPS.

“The P-TECH program is made possible through a strong partnership between Allegany County Public Schools, Allegany College of Maryland, the Western Maryland Health System, and other businesses and industries in Allegany County”, stated Dr. Kim Kalbaugh, ACPS Chief Academic Officer.  “We want to recognize and thank our industry partners and members of the P-TECH Steering Committee for their diligence and innovative spirit in assisting ACPS with designing the program, as well as their continued efforts to move the program forward.”

Mr. Jeff Blank, Interim Superintendent of Schools, provided the welcome and offered greetings from the Board of Education to the students in the 3rd cohort of the program.  During the evening, students and their families had the opportunity to meet members of the P-TECH Steering Committee, ACM instructors, mentors, and other community stakeholders who have been invested in supporting, growing, and sustaining the program in Allegany County Public Schools.   

Dr. Cynthia Bambara, President of ACM, also provided welcoming remarks to the students and guests as she spoke about the collaborative partnership that makes this program a success. Dr. Bambara recalled her time at a recent P-TECH conference in New York where she was able to meet and interact with individuals an international level that are committed to P-TECH opportunities for students. 

Mr. Jonathan Hutcherson, P-TECH business partner, spoke to the guests and informed students of the growing employment needs in the Cybersecurity field. Mrs. Lynn Ketterman, parent of a P-TECH student in the first cohort, spoke to the group about the opportunity that P-TECH has afforded her son. “My son enjoys the program, and because of the expectations, he is motivated to take his grades seriously and is now an A B student.” 

Ms. Melissa Kaye, P-TECH Coordinator, informed the group that participating students will gain workplace skills and have access to mentoring and internship experiences.  Autumn Becker, Director of the IT Center of Excellence and a member of the P-TECH Steering Committee, collaborates with ACPS to create partnerships with many local IT professionals and companies. Several of these include the Western Maryland Health system, Allegany County Government, Allegany College of Maryland, Exclamation Labs, First United Bank, Frostburg State University, Higher Logic, IBM, Inquest, Northrup Grumman and Willets Systems. “We also work on essential job skills such as eye contact and a firm handshake,” said Ms. Kaye. “One of our students was accepted in the Summer of Stem job shadowing program by using his essential skills from the P-TECH program during his interview.”

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