Ulster County demonstrates its commitment to this principle by providing high-quality education from pre-K through college, as well as in alternative venues such as continuing education and vocational training, in public and private schools throughout the county. Ulster County school districts share a common belief that everyone has a right to a good education, beginning with basic skills, reinforcing values taught in the home, and involving parents and the community in the learning process.
Elementary and Middle School Ulster County elementary and middle schools provide students with basic concepts of math and science, and progressive reading skills. These schools focus on developing strong writing and communication skills.
High School As students progress through their high school years, the curriculum becomes more specific to the needs of the individual student and his or her planned educational path. College preparatory and job training programs allow each student to chart his or her own success, while meeting new, higher state standards.
Vocational Training Ulster County high schools participate in the BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) program, which guides juniors and seniors through a variety of vocational disciplines. Among the BOCES facilities in the county are a computer center, an audiovisual center, and a modern conference center located in New Paltz. Students attend half days at their home schools and the BOCES Vocational Education Center for training the remainder of the day. BOCES programs offers state-of-the-art facilities and instruction to Ulster County students, either as a foundation for advanced training or for direct entry into a technical field.
The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz is a highly selective college of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley between New York City and Albany. Degrees are offered in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering.
Ulster County Community College (SUNY) Ulster, located in Stone Ridge, offers a wide variety of advanced technical training programs, as well as a comprehensive two-year undergraduate program. Students in technical programs can earn associate degrees or certificates in their chosen field, to get a competitive edge in the job market. Students in academic concentrations earn associate degrees after two years of study, and may then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree. The college has other locations in the county, including a Business Resource Center in Kingston.
Among the other academic centers within easy reach of Ulster County are Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson; Marist and Vassar Colleges, Poughkeepsie; Mount St. Mary’s College, Newburgh; and the State University of New York at Albany.
Most area colleges also offer Adult Education programs. Equivalency programs are available in a number of Ulster County high schools for returning adult students. In addition, the BOCES program offers continuing educational programs for adults, as well as in-service skill training for employees of local companies.