The New York State Energy Research
and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
awarded $200,000 to the Ballston Spa
Central School District to support the expansion
of the district’s clean technologies
and sustainable industries Early College
High School (ECHS), a state Pathways in
Technology Early College High School (NYS
The ECHS has grown regionally from
originally serving 25 students and two
school districts in 2011 to now serving 110
students from across 20 school districts and
seven counties, NYSERDA officials said.
“We truly appreciate NYSERDA’s support
as we continue to expand our clean
technologies and sustainable industries
Early College High School”, said Joseph P. Dragone, superintendent of the Ballston
Spa Central School District.
“Students from across the region will now have greater opportunities to engage in one of four career pathways leading to an associate’s degree while they simultaneously complete their high school diploma.”
NYSERDA’s grant supports the development and implementation of educational training programs in renewable energy and advanced technology for area high school students. It further increases educational opportunities for students from around the region at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART in Malta, and the expansion of the ECHS to include participation of students in grades 9 and 10.
Officials said the grant supports curriculum development to incorporate opportunities available in the clean energy fields and to develop program pathways that provide students with advanced college standing and the foundation skills necessary for continued coursework in STEM-related college majors leading to certificates, associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. It also funds the expansion of professional development opportunities for teacher education preparatory programs to become a model teacher training site.
John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA, said his agency is proud to support the ECHS program, “which is preparing students to become the skilled workforce of tomorrow that will meet the growing demands of the state’s clean energy economy.”
ECHS continues to leverage its relationship with over 25 leaders in business and industry, the state Education Department, the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation, and the Ballston Spa Partnership for Innovation in Education Fund to provide sustained funding for the program.
Recently, the program was recognized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a state P-TECH school, providing additional support as the program continues to grow and serve more students from a regional perspective.
With the support of industry leaders including Cisco, GlobalFoundries TRC, CSArch, Gilbane, Magnolia Solar and BPI (among many others), and the support of economic development leaders including the Capital Region Economic Development Council, the Center for Economic Growth (CEG), Saratoga County Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and regional chambers of Commerce, “it is clear that this collaborative model is defining College and Career Readiness,” said NYSERDA.
The program is currently enrolling students for next year’s junior class, as well as freshmen for the fall of 2014, as it expands to include four pathways: Clean Energy, Computer Science & Information Systems, Nanotechnology & Semiconductor Manufacturing and Leadership, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, leading to various Associate’s degrees. A new partnership with Siena College now provides additional opportunities for students to matriculate to Siena College directly from the program or to transfer after first completing an Associate’s degree.
The Ballston Spa district has become a leader in the development of STEM learning in K-12 education, especially in the creation of partnerships with business and higher education via their Partnership for Innovation in Education program, through which the district has developed a variety of new courses, curricula and enrichment opportunities for students, officials said.
Hudson Valley Community College’s TECSMART in Malta hosts the Early College High School and is a LEED-certified HVCC classroom building at NYSERDA’s Saratoga Technology + Energy Park campus in Malta that uses renewable energy sources.