Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is a new type of school that brings together the best elements of high school, college, and the professional world.
Offered at Silver Creek High, it is a model that allows students to earn a high school diploma, as well as a no-cost associate degree focusing on cybersecurity from Front Range Community College. This program includes significant mentorship and internship opportunities with our industry partners, giving students a head start on their careers after completing the program. Students enroll in 9th grade and complete the program in 4-6 years.
- Silver Creek’s P-TECH will focus on a cybersecurity pathway, providing a foundation for careers in related fields.
- P-TECH students will be allowed to matriculate through the 14th grade.
- Students in P-TECH will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree from Front Range Community College.
- P-TECH students will also receive mentorship and internship opportunities with CISCO, and Seagate Technologies.
- SVVSD, Front Range, CISCO, and Seagate Technologies will work together to align the curriculum to meet the needs of cybersecurity careers in related fields and identify pathways to completion of a 4-year degree at Colorado colleges.
What is RaptorTECH?
RaptorTECH is a Pathways in Technology Early College High School or “P-TECH” school. Students graduate with a high school diploma from St. Vrain Valley Schools and associate of applied science (AAS) degree from Front Range Community College. Students also receive mentorships and internships with Seagate Technologies, Comcast and Cisco (“Industry Partners”). The AAS degree is free of cost to students.
How does RaptorTECH work?
We will actively recruit students beginning in the 8th grade. Students who complete the application process and are admitted to RaptorTECH will begin the program in the 9th grade. They will enroll in college courses as early as the second semester of the 9th grade, utilizing concurrent enrollment to simultaneously receive high school and college credit for their course work.
What AAS degree will be offered?
RaptorTECH offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in cybersecurity. Along with college courses, students receive mentorships and internships through the Industry Partners to provide real-world experiences to supplement their academic coursework.
Why does the program extend to a 13th and/or 14th grade?
The 13th and 14th grades allow students additional flexibility in the timing of their degree pathways. Students who are focused on finishing both degrees quickly will have the ability to finish within the traditional four-year timeframe (please note, this may require students to complete courses over the summer). Students who are engaged in multiple elective courses or extracurricular activities, or students who need additional time to grasp difficult concepts, have more time to complete their degrees.
Who will teach RaptorTECH classes?
A combination of St. Vrain Valley Schools teachers and Front Range Community College faculty will teach RaptorTECH classes. All courses will be taught at Silver Creek High School for at least the first two years of the program.
What are the acceptance criteria?
There are no formal acceptance criteria. All applicants will be considered. Applicants are required to fill out the online application and submit two letters of reference from adults (one teacher and one non-family member adult). We will accept up to 35 students for the 2021-22 school year. If we receive more than 35 applications, we will accept students by weighted lottery.
Are the FRCC courses taught at Silver Creek or at FRCC? If at FRCC, how will students get there?
Courses will be taught at Silver Creek, FRCC, and the Innovation Center. We have structured the program so all 9th and 10th-grade courses will be taught at Silver Creek. Many students have their own transportation by the 11th and 12th grades. We will also bus students between Silver Creek, the Innovation Center, and FRCC, as necessary.
Do students take time away from the regular high school curriculum? Does it take longer because students are taking more classes?
Students will take more classes and that is why the program may take up to 6 years to complete; however, we frontload the high school classes so a student will finish his/her high school graduation requirements (24.5 credits) in the standard four years. The 5th and 6th years are designed to enable students to finish the remaining courses needed to complete the associates degree (60 credits).
Do the high school diploma and the AAS come at the same time, at the end of the 4-6 year period?
Yes. We will confer both degrees simultaneously after either 4, 5, or 6 years, depending on the individual student.
Is it true that all of a student’s high school classes have to be honors or AP level?
No. We will customize courses to the level of each student; however, we will encourage students to take honors or AP courses, when appropriate, in order to allow them to get “dual credit” (high school and college) for the courses.
How much time will students have for unrelated electives in this program, like art or music?
Students will be encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities and elective classes. The 13th and 14th grades give us a great deal of flexibility in this regard. If a student wants to participate in more activities, s/he may take courses during the summer or it may take longer to finish the AAS degree.
Is a certain GPA required to stay in the program?
We have no firm requirements for staying in the program (no GPA threshold, etc.). Our goal, truly, is to work with students every step of the way. That said, we reserve the right to set appropriate academic and disciplinary boundaries. We will gauge this on a case-by-case basis.
What kind of counseling support do the kids get?
We plan to have a dedicated counselor for RaptorTECH. The counselor will help students navigate high school and college scheduling requirements. The counselor will also help with communicating with parents and recruiting students.
This sounds pretty demanding. What happens if it doesn’t work out, and a student drops out of the program – is his/her high school diploma still delayed? Will s/he have fallen behind in regular courses?
If a student chooses to stop participating in RaptorTECH, s/he will be treated like the other “regular students” – no stigma, no penalty. So long as s/he has not failed any high school courses, s/he should remain on track for graduation after the 12th grade.
Are credits transferable to 4-year institutions?
The college credits will be granted through FRCC – even for the AP courses. Just like any other student at FRCC, many, but not all, FRCC credits will be transferable to four-year colleges, and the number of transfer credits applied will depend upon the college major selected by the student.
Are any industry certifications offered through RaptorTECH?
Yes. Industry certifications will be embedded throughout the curricular scope and sequence of RaptorTECH. So far, the following certifications are being considered for the program: Cisco CCNA Cyber Ops, Cisco CCNA Security, Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Security+, Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA), SANS GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), Network+ (CNA).