HVCC, Questar III To Create STEM-Focused High School In Troy
A new STEM-focused high school for students across the Capital Region is coming to Troy. Questar III BOCES is teaming up with Hudson Valley Community College to create a new program this fall that will serve students across 46 school districts in seven counties. Students will choose between four education tracks taught by HVCC faculty in the college’s renovated Lang Technical Building, and graduate with both their high school diploma and up to 63 credits toward an Associate’s Degree at the college.
Announcing the school Thursday, HVCC President Roger Ramsammy says the goal is to fast-track students for careers in STEM, particularly for those fields in dire need of workers in the Capital Region. To do that, Ramsammy says it’s important to pique students’ interests early on.
“If you get students at middle school, you can really put them to the challenge, and [direct them], and keep them motivated to some end result that is beneficial to them, to the region, to their families, and to whatever organization they choose to be part of," says Ramsammy. "And that’s our job here at the college: to make sure that we are the link to everything that’s good in life.”
Questar III BOCES District Superintendent Gladys Cruz says the new school will accept about 70 students a year, in four- and six-year tracks including: computer information systems (web development), engineering technology (with a focus on civil engineering), environmental science (with a focus on clean energy management), and health sciences.
In addition to their classwork, Cruz says students will have access to all tutoring, support services, and activities at HVCC, as well as first-hand experiences with local partners like the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, and the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence.
“This school will include a wide range of academic and workforce experiences, including mentoring, worksite visits, and internships," adds Cruz.
This isn’t HVCC’s or President Ramsammy’s first foray into high school programming. The college already houses the Clean Technologies Early College High School at its TEC-SMART center in Malta, and collaborates on similar programs with both Troy High School and Capital Region BOCES. But Ramsammy says this is their most extensive effort yet, and the first on its central campus. Thanks to nearly $4 million in grant funding from the New York State Department of Education, it also comes at no cost to local school districts – tuition, fees, books, and more are already covered.
As it works with middle schools to identify its first class of ninth-graders, Ramsammy hopes the school will appeal particularly to girls and students of color, traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields.
"This is an opportunity for us to help expand and give those minorities and women an opportunity to fill a slot that wasn't available to them," says Ramsammy. "It's an opportunity for them to be educated and [be] given the type of support that our college has, so that they can grow, and graduate in something that's more productive than they might have ever even had a chance to be given."