Creating Pathways To A Brighter Future



P-TECH and SS-ECHS Programs Create an Opportunity for High School Students To Earn College Credits and Get an Early Start on Innovative Careers

Join us at our Virtual Information Night for Prospective Student, Parents, and Families on March 13th  from 6-7 pm!

This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Questar III & HVCC STEM High School located on the Hudson Valley Community College campus in Troy.

Parents and families of eighth grade students interested in attending our school next year are encouraged to attend via Zoom.

Application deadline is March 22nd.

Giving Students a Leading Advantage

P-TECH and SS-ECHS prepare students for in-demand jobs in STEM careers. The models directly address both education and workforce development skill gaps by providing innovative approaches to high school and college education while engaging corporate partners and local communities for student success.

The programs are designed to give students historically underrepresented at the postsecondary level the opportunity to get a jumpstart on their college education and their future career.

Click here to see the alignment between P-TECH/ECHS and growing STEM careers in the Capital Region. 

Questar III has partnered with Hudson Valley Community College on several Pathways in Technology, P-TECH (6-year) and Smart Scholars – Early College High School, SS-ECHS (4-year) pathway programs that will be housed on the Hudson Valley Community College campus. Along with industry partners, Tech Valley High School is a valued partner in this new initiative. These programs allow institutions of higher education to partner with public school districts to create an opportunity for students to earn college credits while also completing their high school diploma. The programs will assist students on the path to a college degree while saving their families thousands of dollars in tuition costs.

Key Benefits:

Combines the best elements of high school, college and work-based learning.

A rigorous, relevant and cost-free education focused on the knowledge and skills students need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers.

Workplace learning that includes ongoing mentoring by professionals (P-TECH) in the chosen career sector, worksite visits, speakers and internships.

Intensive, individualized academic support by K-12 and college faculty within an extended academic year or school day that enables students to progress through the program at their own pace.

An opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree (P-TECH) from HVCC, a college that is the industry standard for targeted jobs in a high-tech field.

Students will see several benefits from the partnership between the two institutions – obtaining up to 60 credits or an Associate Degree within 4 to 6 years at no additional costs to districts, courses taught by college faculty, professional development, increased access to college coursework, strong project-based learning backgrounds as 9th and 10th graders, and additional course access for students in all programs due to shared staff.

Similarities / Differences


  • 4-year curriculum
  • 24-60 transferrable college credits
  • No mentor requirement/component
  • 51% of students must be from target school districts in Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties


  • Located on the HVCC Campus
  • No cost to families
  • Available to students from all local districts
  • Supported by industry partners including the Artificial Intelligence Center for Excellence and Tech Valley Center of Gravity
  • Fully aligned with HVCC's Computer Information Systems (CIS) program
  • Focused on in-demand industries and jobs (web developers, engineers, environmental scientists)
  • Dual enrollment - college coursework begins no later than 10th grade
  • Articulation agreements with more than 50 colleges to transfer credit
  • Workplace visits, internships, students first-in-line for job opportunities
  • Courses taught by college faculty and/or HS teachers with adjunct status
  • Access to all academic, social, planning and other supports provided to HVCC


  • 6-year curriculum
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree
  • Every student assigned an industry mentor
  • Priority given to average cohort graduation rates below 82% per state grant

The Tech Valley Center of Gravity is a vital partner from Capital Region industry that will serve as a bridge to its 17 resident companies and various industry partners. TVCOG is a makerspace, prototyping center, manufacturing incubator, STEAM education center, creative community and nonprofit that provides low-cost access to equipment, tools, technology and space, as well as business expertise, education and resources.

Take the tour and see what Tech Valley Center of Gravity is all about –

Contact Us

Which program are you interested in?

Frequently Asked Questions


Pre-Program/Application Process


What are the characteristics of a successful student?

Successful students are: 

  • passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and the pathways of the P-TECH and ECHS programs  
  • motivated to explore new and exciting ways to learn, able to succeed in a non-traditional classroom setting
  • interested in the rapidly growing fields of web development, engineering, environmental, or health sciences
  • work well in a highly collaborative environment 
  • interested in a program that is designed for students who want a different high school experience


How large is the cohort size? Approximately 70 students will be eligible to enter the programs each year. This includes 45 in P-TECH and 25 in ECHS.


What are the application requirements? Students need to complete an application and submit two recommendations, including one from a teacher and one from a school counselor. There is also a required interview if a student is selected. While the program is primarily focused on students entering as 9th graders, 10th grade students may also be considered for enrollment depending on their individual circumstance and our ability to appropriately provide course work for them. Ultimately, we want to make sure the program is the right fit for the students, and the students are the right fit for the program. 


What is the application timeline?  

  • Application deadline – March 22, 2024 for 2024-25 school year
  • District-wide lottery conducted – March 29, 2024 for 2024-25 school year


Do I need to attend an informational session to be considered? It is recommended that families attend an informational session because this is a 4- or 6-year commitment. Sessions will be promoted through our website and social media. To view a livestream of a previous information session, click here


When are the information sessions? Virtual Information Night’s and In-Person Open House’s are scheduled between November and March for the following school year, and are designed for interested eighth grade students and their families. For a list of upcoming events, click here


What is the cost of the college courses and will students have access to the same services as HVCC students? Students can enroll and participate in the program at no cost to families – tuition, fees, books, and instructional materials will be covered. They will have access to all academic, social, planning and other supports provided to all Hudson Valley Community College students.


What is the lottery process? Our cohort size for P-TECH is 45 students, and 25 students for ECHS. If the number of applications exceeds those numbers, we will need to conduct a lottery, which would be carried out similarly to how the Tech Valley High School lottery is done – a meticulous process hosted by a third party to ensure no bias.


How can I find out more information? Fill out the contact form on this page to indicate your interest. You can also reach out directly to or for questions. 




Where is the program located? The program will be housed in the Lang Technical Building on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy; view a campus map here.


What outside or support opportunities are available to students as part of the program? The P-TECH and SS-ECHS programs combine the best elements of high school, college and work-based learning. A rigorous and relevant education focused on the knowledge and skills students need for science, technologyengineering and math (STEM) careers. Workplace learning that includes ongoing mentoring (PTECH) by professionals in the chosen career sector, worksite visits, speakers and internships. Intensive, individualized academic support by K-12 and college faculty.

How will transportation be handled? 
We will be working with districts to arrange for transportation to the Hudson Valley Community College campus. For students who drive, we will be working to provide access for them to park on campus if they so wish. 


Who are the business partners and what role will they play in the program? Employers are responsible for identifying mentors (P-TECH), developing substantive workplace and classroom activities and internships, along with future job opportunities. This requires innovative staffing, scheduling, instruction and new relationships among faculty, school leaders and employers. Engagement and involvement from local industry, such as Tech Valley Center of Gravity and the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence is a key component of the P-TECH and SS-ECHS models.  

Home District Connection


What type of schedule can students and families expect? 
It is a full-day program; students will be transported from their home districts in the morning and remain on the Hudson Valley Community College campus until the end of the school day, at which point, they will be transported back to their home districts.

Will students have opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities in their home school district?
 It is our hope that students will be able to participate in extracurricular activities in their home school district if they choose, but is contingent on transportation schedules. 


Program Questions

Do students have to choose a pathway in 
ninth grade? Students will select a program in ninth grade. However, we have worked with HVCC to make sure the courses in the ninth and tenth years are aligned to permit an opportunity for students to switch pathways.


What are the pathways?  

Computer Information Systems (P-TECH) 

Computer Information Systems (ECHS) 

Engineering Technology 

Environmental Science and Protection Technology 

Health Sciences

Do students take Regents exams? 
Yes, they will be meeting all the New York State requirements. One of the goals of our programs is to make sure we are affording students the opportunity to pursue an advanced Regents diploma.


Can students with IEP’s and 504 accommodations apply? Absolutely, we have seen that with great success within our other programsWe would work with each student and their families to make sure that we could meet all the requirements of their IEP or 504 accommodations, but students with IEPs and 504s most certainly can attend and are encouraged to do so.


Can my child continue on to earn a bachelors degree? Yes, the pathways are identified to earn an Associate in Applied Science (for P-TECH) or up to 60 transferable credits (ECHS) and move forward to employment or into a bachelor’s program. Students will benefit from the flexibility offered by HVCC’s articulation agreement with over 50 college institutions; the full list can be viewed here.


Are students able to take classes over the summer or in the spring? There is no requirement of summer-term courses as part of the degree pathways, they are structured so that a student can complete them over the course of a traditional high school year. In the summer before freshman year, students will attend six preparatory sessions that will serve as a bridge to the new program and will start them earning towards a 1-credit College Forum class. 


What degree do they graduate with after the program? P-TECH students will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree; for ECHS, they will earn 24-60 college credits toward an Associate of Applied Science degree from Hudson Valley Community College. Depending on how many credits ECHS students earn by graduation, they will be well-positioned to go on to earn an associate’s degree ahead of schedule. 


Will students follow the college schedule for breaks? For courses taught by high school faculty, class schedules will follow a traditional school district calendar (primarily during the first two years), with the same scheduled breaks and holidays and minimum number of days required. Courses taught by college faculty will follow the college calendar, following breaks and holidays aligned with Hudson Valley Community College’s schedule. However, during times when HVCC is on break and the traditional school district calendar is in session students will still report to the HVCC campus for instruction.  This timeframe will be used for students to explore mentoring and internship opportunities that pertain to their degree pathway.


Can the students also gain a two-year degree in a Health Science field leading them to work? Because of the specialty focus areas of the Health Sciences Pathway, it is less likely that students will be able to complete the full degree course sequence in their four years as an ECHS student, but not impossible.  The courses that students would need for Dental Hygiene are very different than those that a student would need if they were pursuing a Chemical Dependency Clinician pathway. Through enrollment in SS-ECHS, students will have the ability to earn at least 24 credits needed to obtain their Associate’s Degree in their desired field.  The total number of possible credits earned will depend on individual student situations and their ability to manage a more rigorous schedule and the balancing of required high school courses with the courses required for the Associate’s Degree.  

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