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01/21/2014
NYSERDA Awards Grant to Clean Technologies Early College High School
Opportunities for students expanding to four career pathways beginning in 9th grade

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded $200,000 to the Ballston Spa Central School District to support the expansion of the district’s Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School (ECHS), a NYS Pathways in Technology Early College High School (NYS P-TECH). 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.

“We truly appreciate NYSERDA’s support as we continue to expand our Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School”, said Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D., Superintendent of the Ballston Spa Central School District. Further, “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 Clean Energy Training for High School Students 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, NY and the expansion of the Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries ECHS to include participation of students in grades 9 and 10.

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, and/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.

"NYSERDA is proud to support the Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School 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," said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "This program supports Governor Cuomo’s priority to encourage students to pursue STEM degrees, and develop partnerships with the private sector that will grow New York’s economy and create high-skilled jobs.”

The Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries ECHS continues to leverage its relationship with over 25 leaders in business and industry, the New York State Education Department (NYSED), 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 Governor Cuomo as a New York 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.

The program is currently enrolling students for next year’s junior class, as well as freshmen for the fall of 2014, as the program 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.

“Hudson Valley Community College was pleased to partner with the Ballston Spa Central School District to establish and develop the Early College High School, and in three short years has witnessed and facilitated the program’s growth to other districts in the Capital Region. With this grant from NYSERDA, we enter a new chapter of expansion with additional study opportunities for participants. The bottom line is we are getting students into the educational pipeline and preparing them to be the workforce for the vitally needed clean technology and energy efficiency jobs that will shape our economic future not only locally, but throughout the State of New York as well. An additional bonus for these students is the chance to complete high school and gain college credit at the same time”, said Andrew Matonak, president of Hudson Valley Community College.

The Ballston Spa CSD 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. Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART in Malta, NY hosts the Early College High School and is a LEED-certified HVCC classroom building at NYSERDA’s Saratoga Technology + Energy Park® (STEP®) campus in Malta that uses renewable energy sources.

For additional information, please contact Stuart Williams, Coordinator of Community Relations, Ballston Spa CSD at 884-7195 ext. 1305 or swilliams@bscsd.org.