NYSERDA Funding Supports Expansion of Ballston Spa’s ECHS Program at TEC-SMART

January 21, 2014

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) at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART. The ECHS has grown regionally from originally serving 25 students and two school districts in 2011 to now serving 110 students from twenty school districts and seven counties.

“We truly appreciate NYSERDA’s partnership 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 as they complete their high school education and gain valuable college experience.”

NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Training for High School Students funding will further increase educational opportunities for at-risk and underrepresented youth from around the region, and the expansion of the Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries ECHS will include participation of students in Grades 9 and 10.

The funding will also support curriculum development, incorporate career experience in clean energy fields, and provide students with advanced college standing and foundation skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), ultimately leading to industry certifications and associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. It also supports expansion of professional development opportunities for teacher education preparatory programs to become model teacher training sites.

"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 Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) awardee, which will provide additional support as the program continues to grow and serve more students.

With the support of industry leaders including Cisco, Global Foundries, TRC, CSArch, Gilbane, Magnolia Solar, and the Building Performance Institute, (and many others), and the support of economic development leaders including the Capital Region Economic Development Council, the Center for Economic Growth, Saratoga County Economic Development Corporation, and the Regional Chambers of Commerce, it is clear that this collaborative model is defining college and career readiness.

The first freshman class will join the program in fall 2014. In addition, the program will be expanded to include four pathways: Clean Energy, Computer Science and Information Systems, Nanotechnology and Semiconductor Manufacturing and Leadership Innovation, and 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 completing an associate’s degree.

"The Early College High School at TEC-SMART is ahead of the curve in its efforts to educate high school students in clean technologies and sustainable industries. We're excited about its growth and our innovative partnership with the Ballston Spa Central School District and NYSERDA. Through our shared efforts, more students are gaining hands-on experience in high technology and STEM-related fields while getting a head start on college," 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. TEC-SMART 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 which uses renewable energy sources.


  • Stuart Williams, Coordinator of Community Relations, Ballston Spa CSD
    Phone : 884-7195, Ext. 1305
    Email : swilliams@bscsd.org