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Tomball Star Academy
Pathways in Technology Early College High School
Healthcare Pathway
The Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Pathways in Technology Early College High schools (P-TECH) initiative offers an open-enrollment program that creates workforce pathways aligned with high-demand, high-wage fields throughout the state. Students enrolled in the P-TECH program work toward an associate's degree while gaining hands-on work experience.
Texas P-TECH programming is inspired by the national effort to refine career and technical education. Industry and Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) partnerships with P-TECH campuses ensure that students graduate college- and career-ready. Business and industry partners provide career mentoring, host site visits, offer paid internships to enrolled students, and serve on advisory councils to improve the alignment of programming with workforce needs.
Students who graduate from the P-TECH program enter the workforce with proven, in-demand skill sets, making them top candidates in their chosen industry.
Program Characteristics
  • 25 student cohort per grade level, beginning with the incoming 9th grade class of 23/24 (C/O 2027)
  • Program option under Tomball Star Academy
  • Every student at each grade level will have an industry mentor
  • First-in line, priority interviewing opportunities with HCA Tomball 
Pathways in Technology is open to all students and is designed to support students who
  • are motivated to challenge themselves with in-depth college-level coursework and internships
  • are comfortable in classes focused on academics and workplace learning
  • are open to accepting career-focused academic guidance from dedicated, collegiate teachers and professors
  • want to attend college but need a no-cost solution (tuition and textbooks)
  • live in the Tomball Independent School District
Available Program Outcomes
  • Industry-Based Certifications: EKG, Phlebotomy, Patient Care Technician
  • Level 1 Pre-Professional Certificate (Awarded by Lone Star College System)
  • Associate of Science Degree (Awarded by Lone Star College System)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Focus of the Tomball Star Academy P-TECH?
The Tomball Star Academy P-TECH is designed to prepare students with the knowledge, experience, skills and professional ethics needed to be successful in health care careers.  Our program provides students with a seamless pathway from high school, to post-secondary education, to employment in the healthcare industry.  Students earn a high school diploma, including certifications, and have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Science Degree. Students engage in work-based education and experiences at every grade level.
Who is the Business and Industry Partner?
HCA Houston Healthcare – Tomball is our business and industry partner.  HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball’s commitment is not supplementary.  The partnership is a core component of the P-TECH.
Below is a list of the kinds of investments HCA Houston Healthcare-Tomball is making to support our school
  • A HCA Healthcare – Tomball liaison to serve in planning, advising, and ensuring commitments are implemented.  
  • Work experiences that include mentoring, site visits, speakers, experiences at the facilities, paid internships
  • Commitment to priority interviewing and first in line for jobs for graduates.  
  • Collaboration with the high school and college partner to ensure that work experiences are integrated with high school and college coursework.
Who is the Institute of Higher Learning (IHE) Partner?
Lone Star College – Tomball is our college partner, also referred to as the Institution of Higher Education (IHE) partner.  Lone Star College – Tomball’s commitment is not supplementary.  The partnership is a core component of the P-TECH.  Lone Star College – Tomball’s partnership enable students to:
  • Earn an Associate of Science degree – tuition free while in high school.
  • Earn as many as 60 hours of tuition-free college credit.
  • Eliminate thousands of dollars in college tuition costs.
What is Dual Credit? 
Dual credit programs allow high school students to enroll in college courses for credit while still in high school. College credits earned through dual credit can be applied toward high school and college graduation and can be transferred to other colleges or universities. The P-TECH is an early college high school where students can earn dual credit in a number of academic areas including math, science, English, government, history, and more.
A dual credit program benefits students in a number of ways
  • Provides a head start on postsecondary core requirements.
  • Lowers the cost of college because courses successfully completed when initially taken are tuition-free.  Textbooks for all courses are also provided to students at no cost.  
  • Expands the variety of classes available to high school students.
  • Allows access to college facilities/activities–such as fine arts performances, career development services, Lone Star social opportunities, computer labs, Lone Star college libraries, and learning skills/tutoring services.
  • Provides greater opportunities for a coordinated, seamless education.
  • Serves as an introduction to college life.
  • Allows for an easier transition to college.
  • Builds students’ confidence and self-esteem.  
What are the differences between the Tomball Star Academy Early College and the Tomball Academy of Innovation P-TECH?
Both programs are innovative open-enrollment high schools that allow students an opportunity to receive both a high school diploma and an associate degree.  Each school recruits and enrolls historically underserved students, targeting at-risk and economically disadvantaged. Early College and the Early College P-TECH provide students from grades 9 through 12 the opportunity to complete a course of study that combines high school and dual credit college courses.
The hallmark of the P-TECH model is its career focus and the provision for work-based education.  In addition to the early college academic, diploma and degree opportunities, the Tomball Academy of Innovation P-TECH program: 
  • Enable students to earn health profession based certifications and/or a health professions occupational skil
    Will college credits transfer to a 2 or 4-year college or university?
    College credits earned through the P-TECH may be transferred to a public college or university in Texas.  Credits could be transferred to out-of-state public and private colleges or universities depending on the institution’s credit transfer policies.  

    What are some available program outcomes for students?
    The following can be obtained in addition to a high school diploma:
  • Industry-Based Certifications: EKG, Phlebotomy, Patient Care Technician 
  • Level 1 Pre-Professional Certificate (Awarded by Lone Star College System)
  • Associate of Science Degree (Awarded by Lone Star College System)
  • ls certificate within four years. 
  • Offer work-based learning through and with our partners in every grade level.
  • Connect students to professional mentors from HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball.  
  • Offer graduates first in line interviewing for jobs at HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball.  
Where will students attend class?
The Tomball Star Academy P-Tech will be housed at the Tomball Innovation Center with some courses taken at Lone Star College – Tomball.  P-TECH students will be provided transportation to the Tomball Star Academy P-TECH 
Will students graduate with a high school diploma as a Tomball Star Academy student?
Yes, students will graduate as a Tomball Star Academy student.  Students attending the P-TECH will not be Tomball High School or Tomball Memorial High School students. 

Can students participate in extracurricular activities offered at the high school like sports, band or choir?
No, P-TECH students will not be participating in traditional extra-curricular activities with Tomball High School or Tomball Memorial High School students.  However, there are clubs and intramurals including Book Club, Science Olympiad, Music and Guitar Club, Student Council, Craft Club, History Club, and Key Club among others.
Who can attend the Tomball Star Academy P-TECH?
The P-TECH is open to all 8th-grade TISD students who are motivated and willing to commit to a highly career-focused and rigorous academic four-year program.  The P-TECH is designed to serve students who have the determination to attend college, a strong interest in or passion for a career in health professions and are first-generation college students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. Interested eighth-grade students, who will be freshmen next year, can apply for the upcoming school year.

New for incoming PTECH students!  While there is no longer an age requirement for PTECH students, there might be some courses in the student’s senior year that might be restricted if they are not 18 before March 1st.  Students will still receive multiple certification opportunities and experiences through our PTECH program.  All certifications in which the students are not eligible due to age will be offered after graduation by Lone Star College – Tomball.  
With a small student cohort size of 25, the P-TECH program is only open to current 8th grade TISD students.  Out of district students can apply for the Early College High School option.  Out of district students can apply for waitlist consideration for the P-TECH option.  
Can siblings and cousins of selected or current out of district Early College High Schools students apply for the P-TECH program?  
Only current 8th grade students attending a school in Tomball ISD are eligible to apply for the P-TECH program.  Out of district students can apply for the Early College High School option. Out of district students can apply for waitlist consideration for the P-TECH option.  
Are the vaccination and immunization requirements to participate in the P-TECH program?
The P-TECH program is a partnership between HCA Houston Healthcare-Tomball, Lone Star College Tomball and Tomball ISD.  As such, students admitted into the P-TECH program must be in compliance with all industry (HCA Houston Healthcare-Tomball) and post-secondary (Lone Star College-Tomball) requirements regarding current and future immunization and vaccination requirements.  Both HCA Houston Healthcare-Tomball and Lone Star College-Tomball provide a process to apply and be considered for exemptions due to religious or medical reasons.  Approval of exemption requests rest solely with the individual organization.  
What are the current immunization/vaccination requirements?
HCA Houston Healthcare-Tomball (subject to change)
TB Screening Test             Hepatitis B (3 dates)
MMR (2 dates)                   Tdap (within 10 years)
Varicella (2 dates)              Seasonal Flu (Current flu season)
COVID-19 (2 doses)
Lone Star College - Tomball
Bacterial Meningitis
Are there any other requirements of students in order to participate if selected?  
Students in healthcare industry courses must complete drug screening in order to be on-site at the designated hospital location.  Additionally, students may be subject to further testing upon reasonable suspicion or after a reported injury.  Screenings that are positive for substances tested will result in removal from the P-TECH program.  
How many students will be accepted each year?
The P-TECH will have 25 seats available for each incoming freshman cohort.  If more than 25 students apply, the district will use a lottery system to select the students.  A waiting list would then be used to fill a seat should a student decline the invitation when selected or move prior to the start of the school year.  

How are students selected?
Near the end of the fall semester, an online application will open on Home Access Center (HAC).  If more than 25 students apply, a lottery system will be used to determine the students selected for the P-TECH health profession cohort.  Students will be notified in December if they have been selected to participate in the P-TECH opportunity.  Students selected in the lottery will accept or decline the opportunity in early January.  If needed, students on the waitlist will be notified in order determined by the lottery starting in January.  
Parents and guardians are an important part of the process and need to demonstrate their support. Therefore, parents or guardians of selected students will be required to attend orientation and onboarding meetings.   

How much will tuition, college textbooks, and fees be for students?
All tuition, books, and fees are available at no cost to students and their families. However, students needing to take a dual credit or college credit course an additional time assume tuition and fee costs for that class.   
What support is provided to help students be successful in college-level classes, Tomball Advance Placement (TAP), work-based learning projects and tasks, homework and study demands, and the other challenges of participating in non-traditional, highly focused and rigorous school?
The Tomball Star Academy teachers and support teams are dedicated to ensuring students will receive academic and social support. College success strategies, on how to organize, study, plan, take notes and manage time, will be incorporated in all high school courses. College and career advising will also be provided to discuss and plan future career and educational options and opportunities.  Career mentors from HCA Houston Healthcare – Tomball will be provided to each student.  

The P-TECH program aims to maximize the success of every student. Therefore, students will receive tutoring and instructional support to help them at every level. Students will need to take an active role in asking for help and notifying staff of any issues or challenges they may have along the journey.
Will students be allowed to drive their own car to the Tomball Innovation Center, Lone Star College campus, hospital and other activities?
Yes, students may drive but may not drive other students.