Middle school enrollment questions
Scenario Enrollment FAQs
This section contains questions from families specifically related to school enrollment in the proposed scenarios.
What happens to those who are younger siblings of those who end up at the current feeder pattern?
Will there be an accommodation for families that already have a student attending middle school to have their second child attend the same middle school?
Will siblings be separated?
Are the three middle school buildings all the same size and able to hold approximately the same number of students and staff?
Yes. We are in the midst of a facilities project to expand North Albany Middle School to be on par with Myers and Hackett in terms of size and facilities. All three middle schools would be able to accommodate enrollment up to 650 students, and based on our current enrollment projections each school would have approximately 550 students once a new feeder pattern is fully phased-in.
For students that attend magnet schools, which have students from different geographic boundaries, are all students required to attend the same middle school or will it be broken down by address or individual student skill?
Students from each of our magnet programs would move up to middle school as a full cohort, rather than by another criteria such as neighborhood zone of residence, academic performance or some other measure.
These scenarios will cause earlier wakeup times and later sleep time due to travel. Hence, causing more stress on family life and the student. I know we are trying to help disadvantaged youth. However, to what extent are we putting more stress on the families of the so-called advantaged students? Our first two children went from New Scotland to Hackett. Five out of the eight scenarios chosen by the statistician and the board bring my third child into North Albany. This will be more difficult for our family and especially on our third child. Have these factors been taken into consideration?
Yes, these factors have been considered. The committee and the board have discussed and considered the impact of these factors on all students, and they will continue to do so as they work toward a decision.
If my fifth-grader has an older sibling already at Hackett is it guaranteed that my fifth-grader will also go to Hackett in the fall?
At this time, we cannot make that guarantee. However, we are analyzing the impact of sibling preference on our feeder pattern planning and expect to provide information to the Board of Education at its March 3 meeting.
Our preference would be to keep the feeder pattern the same for this year. All the change from in-person to virtual this past year has already been disruptive to our fifth-grader, and now the school district is pushing this change last-minute. Parents haven't even been allowed in the school buildings this year or last year. If the feeder pattern changes, that means it's a further distance to transport our child to school. Plus, we currently have two other children in the existing elementary school. Please keep the feeder patterns the same through the 2022-23 school year.
We appreciate that feedback. We understand that the transition from elementary school to middle school can be a challenge for some students no matter the circumstances. The district will take the steps necessary to provide students and families with opportunities to get to know their middle school during the spring and summer. We will be prepared to support our students and families throughout this important transition.
Was it possible to address the implications of these proposed changes themselves on the outcome? Meaning, if Montessori no longer feeds to Myers, how does that affect parents' decisions to put their children in the lottery to attend Montessori to begin with? Those things would change the makeup of the elementary schools, particularly Montessori, I'm guessing, but elsewhere as well. Less possible to know I imagine, but I ask anyway, how might these decisions affect parents’ decisions in any of the elementary schools to move out of the district?
Considering potential enrollment changes such as those you have noted have been part of the discussion for the Feeder Alignment Committee throughout this planning process. However, predicting those potential outcomes is guesswork at best. The district respects the right of every family to make the decisions that they believe are in their own best interest. We will continue to work hard each and every day to provide high-quality learning experiences for all of our students in all of our schools as we move forward.
This may be a good plan; I cannot tell from the scenario analysis, explanation and descriptions of the evaluation process. What other options to improve equity were considered other than feeder pattern changes?
The district’s current middle school feeder pattern never was intended to be permanent. It was intended to be in place 3-5 years while the district determined how best to meet its facilities needs to educate all students in grades 6-8 in an equitable middle school setting.
The district has been consistently clear about that since the current feeder pattern was implemented for 2017-18. The assignment of students from Arbor Hill Elementary School, Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy, Sheridan Preparatory Academy and the former North Albany Academy to the former Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence was a temporary alignment brought about by the sudden closure of the former Brighter Choice charter middle schools at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
The district did not have adequate space to accommodate the influx of these new charter students and our own growing enrollment in those years. Several years of study led to overwhelming voter approval in 2019 of the facilities project currently in progress to expand and renovate North Albany to have space and facilities on par with Hackett and Myers. The district has been working toward a new permanent middle school feeder pattern since that time.
You can read more about this background in the "recordings and resources" section of our Feeder Alignment Committee page.
How was Dr. Robin selected for this role? Who else was considered and from what areas were other contributors considered? It came across that this is essentially singularly based on the model of one professor from the University at Albany and based on only three years of data, with two of the three years being during COVID-19. As stated in the presentation, this model is based on "tons of assumptions" and data filtering. Can Dr. Robin provide a detailed explanation of the model, the assumptions, tools used and clear explanation how the model can be considered accurate with two-thirds of the data from an unprecedented pandemic. I currently do not have confidence in the model that is being used as essentially the singular basis for the decision.
Dr. Kenneth Robin has worked with the district analyzing student academic data for nearly a decade, both during his time as a faculty member at the University at Albany and now as the chief data analyst for Helgerson Solutions Group.
In addition to his deep knowledge of the City School District of Albany and our student data, Dr. Robin has more than 20 years of experience conducting research and helping organizations manage the transition to data-driven strategies. His work has spanned across sectors, from education to healthcare and housing authorities, helping agencies of all sizes understand their data and impact. His professional experience includes seven years at the National Institute for Early Education Research.
You can learn more about Dr. Robin’s professional experience and the statistical model he developed for this process in the video of the Feeder Alignment Committee’s Jan. 5 meeting.
The Dual Language Program already has had change moving from Delaware Community School to Edmund J. O’Neal School of Excellence this year, and now another possible major change to the program moving to North Albany Middle School. I understand that we want more equity amongst the middle schools, but why DLP again?
In addition to the travel time, moving to North Albany takes away the benefit of having a neighborhood school – both Hackett and Myers are approximately 1.5 miles away from our home. What is good for the entire district will become a hardship most pointedly for New Scotland families. What are families' options if we do not want to make the change to North Albany? In making your final decisions please bear in mind that if the status quo (New Scotland feeds to Hackett) is no longer a choice, families will have to make the difficult decision of whether or not to move or leave the district, enroll in private schools or find a way to manage transportation to and from a much further school. With no guarantees for requests for open enrollment, families with multiple siblings are placed in a very tough spot.
We are looking at allowing the current middle school student to transfer to the new middle school that the younger sibling would attend.
I'm not hearing of major changes for Montessori.
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