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by Rashid F. Davis

Research informs my perspective on teaching and learning, and the numbers speak for themselves. Wages for men without high school diplomas have declined 66 percent since World War II, while the chance that they will ever have any job at all is down 23 percent. Even for those who finish high school and go to community college, as many as 93 percent fail to complete their two-year degrees after six years of struggle. And one wonders why students who require remedial work in science and math even register at all, as ninety-nine percent may fail to complete even their first semester.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. Unemployment among the poor and undereducated is far higher than the national average, and persists even during “good times.” There are at least two reasons for this:

  • The majority of good American jobs require some form of post-secondary education or training; and
  • As a cultural institution, the corporate workplace – where most of the good jobs are – operates on middle class values and behaviors.

As a result, young people from difficult circumstances must overcome the dual challenges of getting an education and navigating unfamiliar waters to move from poverty to meaningful, long-term employment. My job is to make that happen.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., teacher Tanya Spence (right), Principal Rashid Ferrod Davis (left) and IBM Citizenship Vice President Stanley Litow prepare for a class at Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), a new type of school sponsored by IBM that helps students attain the skills for careers in the technology industry. The new school, which opens on September 8, 2011, is a collaboration between IBM, the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York. IBM is helping develop the teaching curriculum and providing individual mentors for every student. (Bob Goldberg/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

In Brooklyn, N.Y., teacher Tanya Spence (right), Principal Rashid Ferrod Davis (left) and IBM Citizenship Vice President Stanley Litow prepare for a class at Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), a new type of school sponsored by IBM that helps students attain the skills for careers in the technology industry. The new school, which opens on September 8, 2011, is a collaboration between IBM, the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York. IBM is helping develop the teaching curriculum and providing individual mentors for every student. (Bob Goldberg/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

I lead the new Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, New York. P-TECH is a grade nine through 14 STEM Pathway institution that confers both the high school diploma and an Associate’s degree in technology at no cost to the student. P-TECH is designed to prepare its graduates with a rigorous education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects plus the real-world skills of the corporate workplace. To do that, we’ve had to create a new educational model – reaching across various divides to civic, community, and corporate partners on behalf of our children.

P-TECH is the result of a collaborative effort among the New York City Department of Education, The City University of New York, the New York City College of Technology, and IBM. The school’s academic program centers on challenging classes, longer days, and a longer school year. But P-TECH also will immerse its students in “real-world” learning, courtesy of the IBM mentors assigned to each student and teacher, and to me. I will be mentored by both an IBM business leader and someone from the New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA). In turn, I will coach a principal mentee from NYCLA to complete the cycle of teaching, learning, leadership, and research.

Relationships

As an educator, I want to shepherd my students through their transitions from members of what the Harvard Pathways to Prosperity study calls “the forgotten half” to personifications of potential. That means understanding who they are, where they’re coming from, where they need to be, and – most importantly – how to reach them. As a Principal, I need to lead my faculty by example – helping them to understand our mission, apply the latest research, and serve as role models for our students’ success.

Finally, as a student of education research, I am anxious to observe our finest principles put into practice – the preparation of our young adults “to lead productive and prosperous lives.” I am also excited to witness the birth of a new model for American public education. This model is characterized by collaboration among educators, students, parents, communities, and employers, and a focus on relevant job skills. It is informed by leading-edge scholarship. It is repeatable and scalable to serve communities across the nation where change is desperately needed. The P-TECH model is not just about being successful, it’s about being significant. Our children deserve nothing less.

Rashid F. Davis is the founding Principal of New York’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH). Mr. Davis was formerly Principal of the Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy (BETA), which was recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek as one of America’s best high schools.

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September 27, 2013
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January 3, 2012
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It to bad we don’t have more educators with passion like Rashid. This is a trait that is becoming short in supply.

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Posted by: John Galt
 
October 11, 2011
1:06 pm

Mr. Davis,

You are a real trend setter! Your love for our students, your motivation and knowledge base have made this possible and these three, plus the support from all stakeholders will guarantee success. Congratulations!!


Posted by: Rosemarie Appleton
 
September 30, 2011
5:35 pm

My brother Rashid. All the best to you and your school. Keep pushing for excellence in teaching, learning and citizenship.


Posted by: Derek J. Smith
 
September 27, 2011
10:00 pm

Rashid
Your goals and aspirations for your students mirror your own — achievement through hard work, perseverance, and believing in yourself. I look forward to working with you and your P-TECH students and staff via the CCNY Petrie Math Institute. Grace Julian


Posted by: Grace Julian
 
September 9, 2011
1:55 pm

Mr Davis, once again you are leading the way for our students by giving them access to new and innovative learning. We need champions such as yourself to keep motivating our students to succeed on a higher realm. Your advvocacy also includes enlisting the the support of like-minded individuals and corporations to make your ideas come to life. I witnessed your success at BETA High School in the Bronx and am sure that you will succeed in graduating more at-risk youth, majoring in academic areas that are not typical of studernts from our communities. Congratulations!


Posted by: Michelle A. Danvers Foust
 
September 8, 2011
4:08 pm

Way to go Rashid! Best of everything to you, your staff and your very lucky students.


Posted by: Deirdre DeAngelis
 
September 8, 2011
11:11 am

Congratulations, Rashid and your team. Great news about innovation — and collaboration — that matters. May it inspire other school districts and companies to follow in the footsteps of the NYC Dept.of Education, The City University of NY, the NYC College of Technology and IBM and launch similar schools.


Posted by: Sean Gresh
 
September 8, 2011
10:43 am

I have personally witnessed so many wonderful things that Mr. Davis was able to make happen while being the principalof BETA, and I have no doubt that he will continue in the same vein at PTECH. He is driven to make sure that each student succeeds.


Posted by: Donna Jack
 
September 8, 2011
2:17 am

I couldn’t be any more excited for this opportunity for my son. What a blessing….thx Mr.Davis for all your hard work and determination thus far


Posted by: Kerschelle Gall
 
September 8, 2011
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I couldn’t be any more excited for this opportunity for my son. What a blessing….thx Mr. Rashid Davis for all your hard work and determination thus far


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September 8, 2011
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I couldn’t be any more excited for this opportunity for my son. What a blessing….thx Mr. Rashid Davis for all your hard work and determination thus far and to come.


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September 7, 2011
10:23 pm

I am so very PROUD of Mr. Davis!!!
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Posted by: Richard E. Pelzer II
 
September 7, 2011
8:12 pm

Truly inspirational and may God continue to grant you that innate desire that you possess to make a difference in our future leaders.


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September 7, 2011
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Posted by: Charles Gallo
 
September 7, 2011
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Good luck to you all on this very important initiative. SPecial thanks to IBM for leading the way on this.


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13 Trackbacks
 
March 10, 2014
4:54 pm

[…] Crossing the “Great Divides” to Save Our Children […]


Posted by: P-TECH: Where We Are Now | Citizen IBM Blog
 
July 12, 2012
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April 2, 2012
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[...] to meet the teachers who would be helping shape their education. We also were fortunate to meet Principal Rashid Ferrod Davis who demonstrated his commitment to his students and to P-TECH’s mission with a moving [...]


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January 19, 2012
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[...] fascinated me was how the program is providing guidance and support to help these young people negotiate their transition into our country’s middle class and integrate themselves into a larger community beyond their current geographic and psychological [...]


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December 6, 2011
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November 21, 2011
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November 14, 2011
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November 7, 2011
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[...] in the technology industry. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring P-TECH’s principal, Rashid Davis, and have seen first-hand the excitement and hope that he and the school have inspired in the new [...]


Posted by: How Private-Public Partnerships Can Lead Through Innovation | Citizen IBM Blog
 
November 2, 2011
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[...] class, their teachers and their mentors. But if P-TECH’s remarkable 100% attendance rate, the inspired leadership of the school’s principal and teachers, and the dedication of IBM’s volunteer mentors is any indication, those years will [...]


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October 27, 2011
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October 4, 2011
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[...] in partnership with The City University of New York and the New York City College of Technology. New York’s P-TECH opened this fall, and will confer both the high school diploma and an Associate’s degree in [...]


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September 14, 2011
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