DENVER — Transforming a place like Lincoln High School in southwest Denver can't be easy in the middle of a pandemic for Principal Antonio Esquibel.
"At our school we're in the midst of trying to re-configure, re-think who we are," Esquibel said.
Lincoln High School sits in the middle of a community that is 95% minority and mostly low-income. Esquibel is now offering something different for families called Pathways in Technology otherwise known as P-Tech Academy.
"One of the things about our community is we have a lot of families that are involved in business," Esquibel said.
P-Tech Academy offers a focus on business education and teaching students how to be smart with money. Esquibel said his program is unique in Colorado because it's the only one like this that also offers an Associate's Degree in Business to students while still in high school.
"It's just not about trying to get kids across the finish line for a high school diploma or even the Associate's Degree," Esquibel said. "It's really trying to change a trajectory of poverty."
Nathan Angeletti is a business teacher who will lead the P-Tech Academy instruction.
"What this opportunity really does is it allows students to come into a classroom environment where they can get instruction on topics and especially in mindset where we can dig down deep enough to break the inter-generational poverty," Angeletti said.
Angeletti believes this is the time to make a change at Lincoln, even during a pandemic.
"It's not the perfect time to start it, but it's the right time to start it," Angeletti said. "We need to mix things up for kids to give them what the modern world is asking of them."
The P-Tech Academy will also work with local industry to offer students learning and working experiences. The Associate's Degree is being offered through the Community College of Denver.
"We need to provide as many different opportunities as we can so that students can have a real shot at success," Esquibel said.
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