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Paving the Way with P-TECH 535
Rochester Public Schools

Rochester Public Schools has received a two-year, $1 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Education to design and open the first Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) school in the state of Minnesota.

P-TECH 535 will be Minnesota's first version of a pioneering school model aimed at preparing young people with the academic, technical, and professional skills required for 21st Century jobs and ongoing education. P-TECH 535 represents the best of what public-private partnerships can look like, with students taking high school and college coursework simultaneously, as well as engaging in industry-guided workforce development. Students will participate in a range of workplace experiences, including mentorship, worksite visits, and paid internships.

P-TECH 535 spans grades 9-14 and enables students to earn both a high school diploma and a no-cost, two-year postsecondary degree or industry credential. While P-TECH 535 encompasses six years, students can move at their own pace, enabling some to accelerate through the model in as little as four years. 

“P-TECH 535 is just one more way that we are working to meet the needs of our students in Rochester Public Schools,” said Superintendent Michael Muñoz. “Our vision for our P-TECH graduates is that they have the academic and professional skills required to either continue their education in a four-year postsecondary institution or secure employment into entry-level careers in one of our two pathways; Computer Information Systems and Licensed Practical Nursing.” 

The first cohort of P-TECH 535 students will be enrolled in fall 2021. We anticipate 25-30 students will be enrolled annually in each pathway. Application for P-TECH 535 enrollment will be open to all Rochester Public Schools students that will be in 8th grade beginning Fall 2020.

P-TECH 535 will follow the “school within a school” model. The location for the P-TECH programming has not been determined at this time. Initial community partners are IBM and Mayo Clinic.  In the coming months, we will be seeking additional community partners.

Information about becoming a P-TECH 535 Student

  • The first co-hort of students will start in Fall 2021. This means our current 7th grade students will be the first students to apply to P-TECH.
  • An application for P-TECH 535 enrollment will be open to all Rochester Public Schools students who will be in 8th grade in Fall 2020. Interested students will be asked to complete a short application during their 8th grade year. The short application will ask for basic demographic and contact information, how a student heard about P-TECH, and why a student is interested in P-TECH.
  • Students will only be able to apply and enroll in P-TECH 535 when entering 9th grade.  If, however, a student changes their mind at any point after they are enrolled, they may un-enroll and return to their home high school.
  • There are no pre-requisites required to apply.
  • There will not be a test or specific academic grade requirements in order to be accepted.  
  • More information about the program, when applications are available, and/or how to volunteer will be forthcoming.