In Bastrop ISD, “Their future is our focus” isn’t just a motto. The future of students truly is at the center of every decision educators make. For students looking for what comes next after high school, the district offers a variety of opportunities, including the option for students to begin their college career for free through Bastrop ISD’s P-TECH academies.

The program combines the best elements of high school, college, and the professional world, and prepares students to obtain the high-wage and in-demand jobs of their dreams.

Dr. Steven Henn, work-based learning & P-TECH coordinator for Bastrop ISD, said the district has developed close relationships with a number of businesses in the area for the P-TECH academies. The district currently offers two pathways: Health Science and Advanced Manufacturing.

“Families should know this is a free program—something that the district fully covers all costs for, including transportation, books and registration,” Henn said. “A student can begin their college journey while in high school, and it's a free entry into that space. Plus, the strong business partnerships that we have create a seamless onramp for students to transition from high school into the career of their choice.”

Henn said another critical component Bastrop ISD offers its students is a full-service wraparound support system for the students that helps them understand their high school experience.

“The programs support students throughout their academic needs and challenges and provide a cohort and a community that they can lean on during their high school time,” he said.

See an overview of Bastrop ISD’s P-TECH academy offerings.

Health Science Academy
  • The Health Science Academy offers students the opportunity to complete a Pharmacy Technician Certification.
  • The certification can lead directly to a pharmacy technician job or serve as an entry-level stepping stone to other opportunities within the health care field.
  • Classes are conducted at Bastrop High School.
Advanced Manufacturing Academy
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Academy caters to students interested in robotics, manufacturing and fabrication.
  • The program has close partnerships with Tesla and Acutronic and is currently developing a partnership with Samsung.
  • The academy also has relationships with local providers including TCS Mechanical, a local manufacturing and skilled trades provider.
  • Classes are conducted at Cedar Creek High School.

The benefits and opportunities of the district’s P-TECH programs aren’t only reserved for high school students. In fact, Henn said Bastrop ISD offers K-12 opportunities for students to explore careers throughout their schooling, including 17 different programs of study for students to pursue.

Offering a suite of opportunities for students to pursue learning and explore their passions is critical as more families choose to live and work in the Bastrop area. Bastrop ISD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kristi Lee said the district continues to see strong growth and is one of the fastest growing in Central Texas.

Using funding from the 2021 bond, Bastrop opened two new elementary schools in August 2023. In May 2023, Bastrop residents approved a $321.5 million bond proposal that will fund the construction of two additional elementary schools, the conversion of both intermediate schools into middle schools, and complete major renovations to Bastrop and Cedar Creek high schools.

“We're so appreciative of our community for approving these two bond programs,” Lee said. “It was a critical need, and we think the community, our schools, teachers and kiddos are benefitting, especially since there are projects at every single school in the district.”

Outside the school year, Bastrop ISD offers an 80-hour summer internship program during which students can work for local companies that can provide significant career growth opportunities.

The district has applied for and received grant funding for the internship program for the past three years. To attract students to the program, Bastrop ISD has partnered with local businesses to make sure the pay is worth students' time so they don’t have to decide between making money at a fast food chain or getting industry experience. This summer, internship pay was set at $16 an hour.

“As interest in internships grows, the grant funds aren't necessarily going to grow, but local businesses have said they’re happy to step up and fill in the gap between what the district can pay through the grant funding and what the student salaries might need to be,” Henn said.

The experience offers a high-quality internship opportunity with businesses in the area, including Texas Parks & Wildlife, Centum Oak Realty, the local fire department, Bastrop ISD’s IT department and even the City of Bastrop.

“We have so many opportunities for students to explore what their interests are for a career before they even leave our high school campuses,” Henn said. “I think it's incredible, because understanding what an industry looks and feels like before you leave high school is so critical to understanding whether you want to go that direction and invest money into getting a college degree in that field.”

Interested in learning more about Bastrop ISD’s P-TECH programs and other opportunities for student career growth? Apply online or visit the district website for more information.

The above story was produced by Senior Multi Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.