PATERSON, NJ­– Students enrolled in Paterson Public School’s newest academic program ended their summer breaks a few weeks early on Monday, preparing for the inaugural year of PANTHER Academy’s P-TECH High School program.

Announced in 2018, the P-TECH is a new type of high school that combines the core elements of high school, college coursework, and opportunities to participate in the professional world. In addition to their obtaining their high school diplomas graduates of P-TECH at PANTHER Academy will earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field from Passaic County Community College. 

“P-TECH at PANTHER Academy will give Paterson students the chance to gain real-world tech sector experience while earning a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. It’s the chance to get a tremendous head start in developing the skills and knowledge that can lead to innovations that can change the world,” said Schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer. “This two-week program to help students make a smooth transition into P-TECH from middle school is just one way we are working to set up students for success.”  

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P-TECH’s Summer Bridge Program, which will run through August 23 and include team building exercises on a field trip to a natural preserve and a presentation of group projects in the program’s last day, is aimed at helping the students make the transition from middle school to the rigors and expectations of the P-TECH at PANTHER Academy high school. 

At the same time, school officials said, the students are becoming more familiar with their new school environment, as well as their new teachers and classmates.

“All of the teachers and administrators are very excited about this chance to meet the incoming students, and to be a part of the whole P-TECH at Panther initiative,” said Principal Charla Holder, Ed.D. “Because our students will be working collaboratively often, team building among students will be a major component of the Summer Bridge program.”