March 01, 2013

Partnership good for students, community

By: John Cavalier and Robert Blackman

Source: Times Union

As long-standing and passionate believers in, and supporters of, the incredible nanotechnology-driven economic growth that is transforming the Capital Region and the rest of New York, we could not imagine a more exciting and timely announcement than the new partnership between Tech Valley High School and the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

At a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo's vision and leadership are raising New York's globally recognized nanotechnology industry to new heights, this is just the type of forward-thinking collaboration that is so often discussed, so desperately needed — yet seldom realized.

This opportunity for our children to spend each day learning and exploring cutting-edge technology amid the world's foremost hub for innovation in our own backyard is the proverbial "match made in heaven."

On its own, Tech Valley High School is a transformational example of next-generation STEM education. With a nationally recognized curriculum that places a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, TVHS is providing unique training to prepare students for higher education and, eventually, the high-tech workforce.

For those students to also have access to CNSE's one-of-a-kind ecosystem for nanotechnology education and innovation is extraordinary. Leveraging the NanoCollege's global leadership in nanoscale science, and engineering as part of the TVHS curriculum, utilizing CNSE's world-class laboratories and cleanrooms, and collaborating with the world's biggest high-tech companies provide the ingredients for a revolutionary model for STEM education in the 21st century.

We remember well the dedication and commitment of those involved in the early discussions for Tech Valley High School, which was initially located at MapInfo. It is notable that the two sponsoring organizations, Capital Region BOCES and Questar lll BOCES, had been making plans separately when they decided to cooperate and put the best interests of the students first, in order to launch TVHS.

Similarly, we applaud TVHS and CNSE for seeing the value of joining together to provide critical education, training, and outreach to support our increasingly nanotechnology-driven economy, and for developing this alliance in a way that insures that students are best served by the effort.

As businesspeople, we recognize the importance of this cooperative effort and are pleased to know that so many others in our community fully support this collaboration. To see unrelated issues raised by those with questionable motives or outside agendas is neither constructive nor useful.

It has been said that "the best way to predict the future is to create it." We believe that is the essence of this partnership, and also the launch pad for a new and exciting generation.

John Cavalier and Robert Blackman are members of the TVHS Foundation Board.