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Back to Communications Home

Harriet Gibbons High School to close for 2010-11

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 grades 9-12.

 

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 in 2005. 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 supports.

 

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 restructuring process.

 

“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.

 

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