Early College/Smart Scholars

Funded by New York State Education Department/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

04 ECSS2013Throughout the academic year, NU College of Education pre-service candidates provide tutoring services to students enrolled in the ECSS program. The goal of the program is to provide students early remediation in high school and eliminate remediation that is often needed during the freshmen year of college. This often deters these types of students from completing a college program.

The summer camps afford students opportunities to explore career options, learn about various career clusters from entry level to high level positions in different careers. Students engage in various hands-on activities and real-life applications that allow students to have a deeper understanding of the academic, financial and employment requirements necessary to enter that particular career field.

Students are taught how to look at job predictions for the next 10 years as reported by the United States Department of Labor. This enables students to see salaries, the type of schooling required, the parts of the country where jobs will be needed, and how many jobs are expected. Field trips to local industries/businesses/organizations lets students observe the workplace and speak with employees in those areas of work.

Eighth grade students are recruited for the program from Gaskill and LaSalle Prep Schools. An informational session is held on campus for prospective students and their families in the spring of each recruitment year outlining program benefits and expectations.

The program is in its fourth year of existence and supports four current cohorts of 25 students each in ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades. The ninth and 10th grade cohorts come to campus four times during the school year and attend an annual two-week on-campus summer camp that supports an overnight component.

Tenth grade students are receiving activities that focus on applying for colleges, writing skills, introduction to finding research, different styles of writing a college paper, essay writing, and technology preparation for online learning.

Current 10th grade students take their first NUSTEP college course on campus in the summer. Courses are offered over a two-week period during morning sessions and students receive tutoring assistance during afternoon sessions to assure success in their coursework.

Current 11th grade students take two NUSTEP college courses on campus in the summer. Courses are offered over a two-week period.


Cori Cuddahee and Katie Chilberg, Niagara Falls High School Early College-Smart Scholars Teachers


Patricia Wrobel, Assistant Dean of External Relations, College of Education, Niagara University, pwrobel@niagara.edu

Dr. Michael Lewis, Grants Coordinator, Niagara Falls City School District, mlewis@nfschools.net


Gr. 10

  • 100 percent replied, yes, when asked after attending the summer program, “Do you have a better understanding of the Early College/ Smart Scholars Program?”
  • ¾ of the students said, yes, when asked, “Did you enjoy the Early College/Smart Scholars Camp?”

Gr. 9

  • 85 percent answered, yes, when asked, “Did you feel comfortable being on a college campus?”
  • 4 cohorts of high school-aged students are currently enrolled in the Early College Smart Scholars Program.