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Digital Equity Champions for All Learners: Lytle High School P-Tech Program Builds Career-Ready Digital Skills

In the heart of South Texas, Lytle High School in Lytle Independent School District is championing digital equity to bridge economic, educational, and access divides through its Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH). The program, which began in the 2018-2019 school year, offers opportunities for students to obtain an associate degree and industry certifications, as well as gain work experience in a STEM field, all while completing high school.


  At Risk Economically Disadvantaged Emergent Bilingual Students with Disabilities
P-TECH Percentage 26% 64% 12% 15%
District Percentage 35% 74% 16% 13%

(Lytle P-TECH’s 2022-2023 demographic data, provided by P-TECH Senior Advisor)


Lytle High School is located in a small rural city with limited access to resources and infrastructure, such as internet access. Therefore, its P-TECH program is intentionally designed to support students furthest from opportunities, including those that are economically disadvantaged and/or historically underserved. The purpose of the program, as described by P-TECH’s Coordinator, Jennifer Criswell, is to equip students with career-ready digital skills and break the cycle of poverty.

P-Tech is operationalized as a school-within-a-school model that is offered to all students at Lytle High School. At no-cost to students, the program’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) initiative allows students to explore topics ranging from computer numerical control (CNC) machining, information technology, and business. P-TECH also addresses the digital access divide by ensuring all participants have free and reliable high-speed internet, on- and off-campus laptop access, and technical support services. These resources are provided through a unique partnership with St. Philip’s College, where students can take advantage of the college’s laptop and hotspot loan services. Additional support services provided by St. Philip’s College include tutorial assistance, disability services, and virtual academic remediation.

This CTE initiative features other strong partnerships that facilitate meaningful learning experiences. Through collaboration between local businesses, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Education Agency, and the Lytle Independent School District’s administration, students are able to engage in work-based learning that equips them with industry-aligned skills. By prioritizing both academic outcomes and credentials in high-demand fields, students are positioned to contribute to the economic growth of their communities.

P-Tech has steadily grown over the last 4 years to serve over 100 students and graduated its first cohort in 2023. Students like Abcde Inming have expressed their gratitude for the program, saying, “My school’s P-TECH Program is an incredible experience… [providing] valuable knowledge and skills in CNC machining, as I work towards my associate degree.” When asked about what lessons she has learned through the development of P-TECH, Criswell emphasized that building relationships is key. She shared that being willing to reach out to agencies, organizations, and long-time residents for assistance and information was highly beneficial. She also recommends sharing stories on various channels, including social media, to celebrate success and communicate outside the immediate community.