Listening and learning

Listening and learning. It’s what we do in education – students and adults alike!

This continues to be a primary focus for me as I get to the halfway point of my first full year in Albany. 

Since I started in June, I’ve met with students, employees and families. I’ve met with elected officials (some multiple times!), including Mayor Sheehan, Police Chief Hawkins, many Common Council members individually and as a full group, County Executive McCoy, County Legislature Chairman Joyce, District Attorney Soares, and our state Senate and Assembly representatives, Neil Breslin and Pat Fahy, respectively. 

I’ve also met with presidents of several institutions of higher learning in our city and region, as well as business, community and religious leaders.

I have learned that the City School District of Albany has a wealth of outstanding partners throughout our community, and that they are, without exception, invested in successful outcomes for all of our students. 

I hope to learn more about what we as an organization believe we are doing well, and what we believe we must improve, during discussions with faculty and staff in every building this fall and winter. I deeply value the perspectives of the dedicated employees in our school district who have been doing this work far longer than me.

I’m also looking forward to following up on my meetings with parent-teacher organization leaders earlier this year with visits to individual PTA/PTSA meetings. If we’re at an event together, please feel free to introduce yourself, and if you’d like to share a comment, question or invitation, send me a note at

My door is open – literally and figuratively – and my schedule is busy as I am listening, watching and learning. That is how I operate. 

I pledge to continue to work with all of you to celebrate our successes, confront the issues we face honestly and forthrightly, and iron out our differences respectfully, with our kids at the forefront of all we do. 

Thank you for your continued partnership and support.






Joseph Hochreiter

Marching Falcons gathered in front of the Eiffel Tower

Marching Falcons returning to France

The City School District of Albany Marching Falcons once again have been invited to France to help commemorate an important anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II.

Under the direction of marching band director Bryan Cady, the Marching Falcons are scheduled to be one of only two bands from around the world to perform on Omaha Beach in Normandy next June 6. The performance will be part of France’s events marking the 80th anniversary of the historic battle that changed the course of World War II in Europe. The Marching Falcons also participated in the 75th anniversary D-Day events in 2019.

If you would like to help support the Marching Falcons’ trip to France, donations can be made through the Albany Fund for Education. Visit for more information.

You also can catch the Marching Falcons live in the city's Nov. 11 Veterans Day Parade. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at Central Avenue and Ontario Street, and concludes in front of the State Education Building on Washington Avenue.

Pre-K student smiling while playing with a toy airplane

Our legislative priorities for 2024-25

Funding equity that takes into account the unique needs of individual school districts and communities will be the City School District of Albany’s top legislative advocacy priority for the 2024-25 school year.

Developed this fall by the board’s Government Relations Committee, the district’s 2024-25 legistlative priorities begin with the critical need for funding equity now that the state has followed through on its commitment to fully fund Foundation Aid for all districts statewide. Our district strongly believes that, moving forward, school funding formulas must take into account the unique needs of individual districts and communities in a more intentional way than the current Foundation Aid formula does.

Additional legislative priorities for the 2024-25 budget-development cycle are:

  • Equitable prekindergarten funding
  • Expanding and diversifying the recruitment and retention of new teachers
  • Investments in social-emotional and mental health supports
  • Regulatory and fiscal relief from the oversaturation of charter schools

You can follow this link to learn more about these priorities.

Cover art for Albany High's Short Play Fest About Social Media

Short Play Fest coming up at Albany High

The Albany High School Theater Ensemble will present three performances of the 2023 Short Play Festival from Nov. 17-19.

The festival will feature world premieres of five original plays written and directed by Albany High students that explore the good and bad aspects of social media. 

Please note, some of the plays contain strong language and may not be appropriate for very young audiences.

Shows are Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door and cost $15 each for general admission and $5 each for students and seniors.

Student playing the cello

Winter concert season coming up

Winter officially starts on Dec. 21, but winter concert season in the City School District of Albany officially kicks off Nov. 15 with a Chamber Concert at Albany High School! Concert dates are available on each school's online calendar, as well as in our previous news story announcing concert season.

District physician recognized

Hudson Valley Magazine once again has recognized City School District of Albany physician Dr. Laura Staff as one of the top doctors in the region.

Dr. Staff was among 90 physicians in the Albany Med Health System recognized on the annual list, which is published in the magazine’s November edition. She is one of only three physicians in the Albany Med system recognized in the family medicine practice area.

Dr. Staff is a regular on Hudson Valley Magazine’s annual list, and we congratulate her on this noteworthy recognition.

Commended Students Gibson, Davis & Wunderlich

National Merit Scholars

Congratulations to Albany High School seniors Luke Gibson, Julio Davis, and Jo Wunderlich, who have been named Commended Students in the 2023-24 National Merit Scholarship Program!

The seniors entered the National Merit Scholarship Program competition when they took the preliminary SAT (PSAT) qualifying test last October. Their scores place them in the top 3% nationwide of over 1.5 million who took the test. Great job, scholars!

Snow days or distance learning days?

For the 2023-24 school year, our school district will consider distance learning days only after first using all three snow days. We will continue to evaluate these decisions on a case-by-case basis, including whether a two-hour delay may be an option.

With colder weather arriving in our daily forecasts, be sure to review these wintry weather reminders.

Looking ahead

Don't forget that you can view our online calendar for a look at all the important events coming up throughout the district and at our schools! Also, be sure the contact email we have on file for you is correct so that you automatically receive regular updates through SchoolMessenger, and don't forget to follow us on our various social media platforms!

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.