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School Improvement Grant

 

Nicole Lindeman

Transformation Officer

Office of School Transformation

William S. Hackett Middle School

45 Delaware Avenue

Albany, NY 12202

 

E-mail: nlindeman@albany.k12.ny.us

Phone: 475-6518

 

With the help of a $3.3 million State Education Department grant, the City School District of Albany is bolstering its ongoing efforts to raise student achievement at Albany High School and William S. Hackett Middle School.

 

The School Improvement Grant, awarded in August 2011, supports a variety of programs and staff positions at both schools. For the 2011-12 school year, the grant provided $1.6 million to Albany High, $1.4 million to Hackett and $289,000 at the district level. The district also can, and will, apply for School Improvement Grants for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

 

The district received the grant after State Ed identified both Albany High and Hackett as persistently lowest-achieving schools because they consistently under-perform on state exams. The enhancements the grant supports at both schools are in line with State Ed’s review of each school as well as the district’s strategic plan, “A Vision for Tomorrow.”  

 

Continuing to transform Albany High School

Efforts to restructure Albany High began in September 2010, when the U.S. Department of Education awarded the district a three-year, $7.5 million grant to divide the school into four smaller, themed academies. The School Improvement Grant supplements the school's transition, which officially began with the start of the 2011-12 school year.

 

The state grant:

  • Continues the position for overseeing school-improvement efforts, held by Dale Getto since the start of the 2010-11 school year.

  • Strives to raise academic rigor by increasing chances for all students to take advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, as well as project- and inquiry-based learning.

  • Provides more supports and training for teachers who work with students with disabilities and students for whom English is not a first language.

  • Supports expanded use of teaching with technology.

  • Supports summer camps for incoming freshmen to ease the transition from middle school to high school (click the highlighted link to learn about what's available for summer 2012).

  • Expands programs for students to make up credits. These programs include:

    • Saturday Academies

    • APEX learning, a web-based program that helps students catch up and get ahead on coursework

    • AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness program.

  • Supports a part-time family engagement coordinator to get families and the community more involved in school activities.

Supporting Hackett Middle School

Under the grant, Hackett converted to a two-house structure with an assistant principal and guidance counselor assigned to each house and a building principal overseeing the whole school. The district’s plan to raise achievement at Hackett includes many of the same strategies that will be implemented at Albany High. The School Improvement Grant's plan for Hackett also contains:

  • A new position -- school improvement manager -- to oversee the improvement efforts. Former North Albany Academy Assistant Principal David Amodeo serves in that role.

  • Student advisory periods, one 55-minute period per week where teams of students and staff meet to discuss students' academic and non-academic needs, character and the overall school climate.

  • Summer transition camps in 2012 for students who will enter in sixth or seventh grades (depending on their feeder elementary school).

  • More learning time through extended-day programs, apprenticeships, longer English classes and math seminars, among other strategies.

Throughout the district

At the district level, the grant supports two positions. Nicole Lindeman serves as a transformation officer responsible for oversight of the full school-improvement program for Albany High and Hackett. The district also hired a technology specialist to help both schools better integrate instructional technology.

 

The grant also:

  • Helps support a new teacher evaluation system.

  • Identifies and rewards teachers improving student achievement and high-school graduation rates.

  • Puts in place a system for measuring changes in instructional practices resulting from professional development.

  • Uses data to identify and carry out teaching strategies that meet the needs of all students.

For more information, contact Nicole Lindeman at 475-6518.

 

You also can read the original announcement about the grant award and an update on the funding by clicking the highlighted text.

 

 
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