TROY — Hudson Valley Community College and Questar III BOCES celebrated the grand opening of a new high school on Hudson Valley’s main campus in Troy on Sept. 10. The innovative school is the first New York State Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) and Smart Scholar Early College High School to be hosted on a community college campus in the Capital Region, and will allow students to earn up to 63 college credits — at no cost — while completing high school.

The Questar III and HVCC STEM High School, first announced last spring, enrolled its first class of 54 students this fall, and is anticipated to serve an additional 70 students each year going forward. Housed in Hudson Valley’s Lang Technical Building, which underwent $3 million in renovations to prepare for this transition, the high school is open to students across seven counties and 46 school districts looking for pathways to well-paid careers in the fast-growing, in-demand STEM fields of computer information systems, engineering technology, environmental science and protection technology, and health sciences.

These pathways are offered through the New York State Pathways in Technology, P-TECH and Smart Scholars-Early College High School, SS-ECHS programs funded through grants from the State Department of Education. P-TECH is funded for $3 million over seven years and Smart Scholars–Early College High School is funded for $870,537 over five years.

These grants provide the unique opportunity for colleges to partner with public school districts on new initiatives that allow students to earn college credits while completing their high school diplomas, putting students on a fast track to a college degree and saving families thousands of dollars in potential tuition costs. Students can earn college credits toward an associate degree at no additional cost to their families – with tuition, fees, books, and instructional materials covered.

Questar III and HVCC STEM High School students began classes on Sept. 8 and study in classes with their fellow high school students, as well as in blended classes with college students. High school courses are taught by Questar faculty, while college-level courses are taught by Hudson Valley faculty. A key component of the new school is engagement with local companies, such as the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, whose involvement adds real-world experience and industry knowledge to the students’ education. Professional development opportunities, increased access to college coursework, and strong project-based learning at 9th and 10th grade levels are additional benefits.

“Hudson Valley is immensely proud to partner with Questar III to create this innovative high school,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Dr. Roger Ramsammy. “As a college committed to finding new ways to train the workforce of tomorrow, as well as increase access to education for everyone in our community, we are thrilled to offer the opportunity for students to get a head start on training for well-paid, in-demand careers, as well as provide another way for employers to establish a pipeline of talent prepared to fill the jobs that help our economy grow for years to come.”

“Today we celebrate the realization of our dream to establish a STEM high school on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. It is a small high school with big ideas and aspirations for our students and region. We will provide students with life-changing experiences preparing the next generation for high-demand and high-reward fields including computer information systems, engineering technology, environmental science and protection technology, and health science. Thank you to President Ramsammy, Hudson Valley Community College, our local school districts, and our business partners for joining with us to make this high school a reality. The graduates of our high school will help the local economy grow in high-need areas.” said Questar III BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz.

Hudson Valley already partners with local school districts on several P-TECH programs. It houses the Clean Technologies Early College High School at its TEC-SMART extension center in Malta in partnership with the Ballston Spa Central School District, collaborates on the Riverfront Partnership with Troy High School; and partners with Capital Region BOCES to offer the Capital Region P-TECH school. The college also partners with several other local districts on pathway programs that allow high school students to achieve college credit while still in high school.

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