High School turns 40 this school year.
Back in 1973-74, the school at 700 Washington Ave.,
represented a state-of-the-art approach to high school education in our
city. That version of Albany High, just the third since the city’s
system of public education began in the 19th century,
reflected the community’s shared vision for a new way to educate all
Now, as the school marks its ruby anniversary in
2013-14, the City School District of Albany is continuing its work with
the community to plan for a 21st century vision of public
high school education.
“I am energized by the opportunity we have as a community to re-imagine
high school education for our future generations,” said Superintendent
Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D. “This is a rare opportunity and we are
fortunate to be able to work together as a community in that process.”
You can download a list of
Questions about the vision for a new or
renovated Albany High.
We also invite all community members to give us your thoughts about our
planning for the future of Albany High School through an
The survey asks you to respond to a series of questions, including your
concerns for Albany High, your thoughts on the school's new academy
structure, your vision for the skills graduates of the future will need
and the top reason you have hope for the future of Albany High.
The survey will take about 10-15 minutes to complete and your responses
will remain anonymous. Your input is important to us and we hope you
will take the time to
Driving the process is a shared understanding
throughout the community of the critical need to raise achievement for
all students and significantly increase Albany High’s graduation rate.
Under Dr. V’s leadership, the district is undergoing
a major academic reorganization, focused on aligning resources and staff
to support teachers and principals in their mission to help all students
reach their highest potential.
A new or fully renovated high school at the current location is another
important element in the district’s future plans. It would match the
modern elementary and middle schools serving all district students since
the successful completion of the facilities project at the start of this
“We know that new facilities alone are not the
answer, and we fully recognize that we must remain mindful of what our
community can afford,” said Board of Education President Alexandra
Streznewski. “But we cannot ignore the powerful message that the
learning environment communicates to students, and the strong impact it
can have on their educational outcomes in tandem with highly trained and
highly motivated staff.”
Click here to read more.
Process beings with opportunities for public input
Beginning in the winter of 2012-13, tThe
City School District of Albany, in its partnership with the
community to develop a vision for the future of high school education in
our city, held numerous focus groups, workshops and community forums to
gather public input on what residents envision for the next generation
of Albany High School.
That included the
“Re-Imagining Albany High School Summit”
attended by nearly 100 community members June
25 (pictured above).
The summit continued the district's efforts to
consider options for renewing rebuilding Albany High. Participants, including students, parents and
community members, took part in interactive discussions about a variety
here to check out photos from the summit.
The summit followed an open town hall meeting June 10 at William S.
Hackett Middle School that provided about 70 participants an opportunity
to ask a wide range of questions and provide feedback. The process
continued with educational specification meetings Aug. 1 and Oct. 1.
Thank you to all of those who have participated, and stay tuned for more
opportunities to be involved in the process of re-imagining Albany High.
Planning seeks a community vision
forward after the May 2012 report of the ad hoc High School Facilities
Advisory Committee that studied future options for Albany High School,
the City School District of Albany Board of Education approved CS
Arch and Turner Construction to provide leadership, educational
planning, suppport and technical assistance to continue the process
The next steps will be to engage the community in a
broad conversation over the next 12-18 months about how the next
generation of Albany High School can best serve all of the city's
students and advance the district's goal of eliminating the achievement
gap and raising achievement for all students.
The June 10 community forum and online survey continue planning work
that has been ongoing through winter and spring.
The district has engaged more than 250 parents,
community members, students, staff and community leaders in small-group
focus sessions in recent months. These opportunities
designed to gather input on
the academic, social-emotional and extracurricular needs that will be
important for the district to consider as it plans for facilities that
will serve the city's high school students for decades to come.
to read more from Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard,
Ph.D., regarding the process for engaging the community throughout the
process of planning for a new or renovated high school.
Board approves architectural, construction management partners
The City School
District of Albany Board of Education has hired
CS Arch and
Turner Construction as
its architectural, engineering and construction management partners in
the process to re-imagine the future of Albany High School.
"I heard from community members throughout
my interview process, and have continued to hear in my first month on
the job, that our city is ready for a 'new' Albany High School,"
Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D., said following the
board's approval of CS Arch and Turner on Oct. 18, 2012. "Exactly what that new
school will look like or how it could be designed are critical questions
that only can be answered after continuing our conversations with the
"The board's approval of CS Arch and
Turner Construction, two firms each with a wealth of experience in
helping communities build school facilities that meet the needs of their
students, is simply the next step in that process. We look forward to
hearing from our community about how the next generation of Albany High
School can best serve the needs of all of our students well into the
The district's High School Facilities Advisory Committee studied options for a
completely new or renovated Albany High during the winter and spring of
2012. The committee, made up of 38 representatives from the community,
focused on the options of renovating the current high school and
building a completely new high school campus.
You can download that report in .pdf format.
the process following the committee's May 17, 2012, report to the board, the district sent out a Request for
Proposals for the architectural, engineering and construction management
services during the summer and received six proposals by the Aug. 31
You can download the full RFP in .pdf
Transforming Albany High to
provide smaller learning communities
High School has been transformed into four academies -- physically
smaller learning environments designed to help students feel connected,
involved and engaged.
offers electives tied to its own theme; all will offer the
same core classes in English, math, science and social studies. Students
will take their core courses within their own academy, but can take
advanced elective classes in other academies. For example, a student in
Innovation Academy -- which offers advanced electives in science and
technology -- will be able to take a playwriting class in the Discovery
Academy, which offers advanced English electives.
What's different: themes
Each of the four academies has a theme:
has up to 600 students, its own principal, four teams of teachers
and a "theme" coordinator. These smaller academies will offer more
demanding coursework and extra support for all students.
History behind the changes
decades ago, a comprehensive high school serving all students in the
City School District of Albany was the right plan at the right time.
Now, times have changed.
Reorganizing Albany High was a top priority in
district’s 2008 strategic plan, “A Vision for Tomorrow. The process
gained increased urgency in January 2010 when
the State Education Department identified Albany High as a
"persistently lowest-achieving" school
because of the school’s
lagging performance in math and English language arts (ELA).
A $7.5 million federal grant is bolstering the transformation of
The district continues to work with state
education officials to gain financial support from the state for these
Smaller learning communities
like Albany High's new academies
were at the center of the research and
planning that the High School Restructuring Committee did between fall
2009 and summer 2011 (read below for more information
about this committee of district and community representatives).