ALBANY, N.Y. (July 15, 2010)
-- The City School District of Albany will close Harriet Gibbons High
School and enroll all students that would have attended the ninth-grade
academy at Albany High School.
The Board of Education voted
unanimously at its meeting July 14 to close Harriet Gibbons, which has
provided alternative-education programs in various formats since its
inception in 1970 as the independent Street Academy serving students in
The Street Academy
became part of the district in 1973, and was renamed in 1992 after
Harriet Gibbons, one of the school’s first principals (1974-77) and the
first African-American woman elected to the school board. The school,
located on Watervliet Avenue, served as a ninth-grade academy beginning
Click here to
read more about the school’s history.
All 73 freshmen scheduled to
attend Harriet Gibbons this fall will be enrolled at Albany High or its
satellite Abrookin Career and Technical Center.
“Harriet Gibbons High School
served this community very well for 40 years with many, many success
stories,” said Superintendent Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D. “As we move forward with
restructuring Albany High, we believe this is the right decision to help
raise achievement and ensure the greatest opportunities for all of our
students to succeed.”
All 24 employees from
Harriet Gibbons will be reassigned throughout the district, the majority
at Albany High.
The district is developing a
plan for the students who had been scheduled to start their high-school
careers at Harriet Gibbons in September. The plan will include a special
focus on all freshmen who need additional academic and social-emotional
Harriet Gibbons was
restructured to a ninth-grade academy in 2005 to provide added supports
for small groups of freshmen with high academic needs or who preferred a
small learning environment. Leading educational research shows that
students who complete ninth grade successfully are significantly more
likely to graduate on time.
The decision to close
Harriet Gibbons was based on data collected and reviewed by the
district’s Alternative Education Think Tank.
A product of the district’s
2008 strategic plan, “A Vision for Tomorrow,” the think tank found that
Harriet Gibbons students and families liked the school’s small
environment and the supports it offered. However, data also showed that
the academic results for the first groups of students under the
ninth-grade format were lagging behind their peers who spent their
entire high-school careers at Albany High.
Fewer than 20 percent of the
students from the first Harriet Gibbons class under the ninth-grade
format graduated on time as part of the Class of 2010.
Dr. Colucciello promised
that the district will take all the necessary steps to ensure a smooth
transition to Albany High for the Harriet Gibbons students. He noted
that the decision was the first major step in the district’s high-school
“There is no doubt in my
mind that we will be successful for these students,” he said. “There is
no question that our staff at Albany High will be able to provide a
smooth transition for these students and all of our incoming freshmen.”
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and nurture all students to be
responsible citizens, critical thinkers and lifelong learners to
successfully compete in the global community by providing an
academically rigorous and safe environment in partnership with parents,
students and the community. The district serves approximately 8,400 students in 16
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students.