Albany High behavior management update

Portrait of Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams

We would like to provide you with an update on our efforts to support our students, faculty and staff at Albany High School as we continue to meet the challenges of rebuilding a full in-person academic program 19 months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

The partnership of our families and community members has been invaluable and deeply appreciated as we work together to reduce inappropriate student behavior during the school day, at dismissal and in the community.

However, as we all know and are experiencing, the disruption that COVID-19 has wrought in our daily lives continues to be unprecedented. This has impacted everyone in some way, and in many cases our young people most of all.

At Albany High, Principal Jodi Commerford and her entire team of administrators, faculty and staff are committed to providing the social-emotional and mental health supports needed during times of high stress, uncertainty and loss. This is true throughout the City School District of Albany as well.

Principal Commerford and her team also are committed to assuring that we address inappropriate student behaviors through our Code of Conduct process. This focuses on ensuring responsibility and accountability, while also helping our young people develop the skills and attitudes they need to be productive and successful as they mature.

Strategies and partnerships that Principal Commerford and her team have put in place at Albany High include the following.

Social-emotional/mental health supports

  • Every Albany High teacher has received National Educators for Restorative Practices training. This 10-hour training is designed to help teachers build relationships and community in the classroom as a preventative measure to proactively address issues before they escalate into conflicts
  • All teachers also have received initial training in a Social-Emotional Learning curriculum from Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. This curriculum is underpinned by more than 20 years of research regarding how to teach adults and students to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate their emotions. This training will be ongoing.
  • We have provided evidence- and research-based training in preventative strategies for all student-support team members. We also will roll out these strategies for all high school teachers during common planning time throughout the year.
  • All student-support team members are being trained in the following:
    • Behavior support plans
    • Check-in/Check-out – This is a support for students who benefit from having a specific adult in the building to check-in with in the morning, and to check-out with before they leave school for the day
    • Social-Academic Intervention Groups (SAIG) – Led by our school social workers, these groups allow students with similar needs to come together for additional social-emotional and academic support

Additional strategies

Albany High also has the following daily practices in place to assist in the management of student behaviors. Some of these practices are long-standing and some are new; all are designed to work in concert to help our students readjust to the expectations of being in school all day, every day – something many had not experienced from March 13, 2020 until the 2021-22 school year began last month.

  • Administrators, teachers and support staff maintaining a proactive presence in the halls and classroom doorways during class changes
  • Adjusting the flow of student travel to help improve student management
  • Identifying students frequently in the halls during classes and coordinating follow-up through the academy leadership teams
  • Reducing access to areas of the building where students congregate
  • Using the building security system to focus on areas where monitors are not regularly present to assist with early identification of potential problems, as well as identifying students responsible for inappropriate behavior
  • Partnering with our teachers union for additional supervision during lunch periods
  • Providing district-level administrative support at dismissal
  • Partnering with the Albany Police Department, Pastors on Patrol and SNUG to assist with dismissal
  • Additional hours for hall monitors to support arrival and dismissal
  • Incentives for positive student behavior
  • Ongoing review of student expectations and consequences (Falcon 101)
  • Restorative practices and mediation when appropriate
  • Home visits and family outreach
  • Newly hired hall monitors and security personnel start next week
  • Continued push to fill vacant teaching and support staff positions
  • Ongoing evaluation of additional strategies to improve student behavior, including the potential of staggered dismissal times

Improving the culture and climate at Albany High as we move forward during the pandemic is a daily priority. Our administrators, faculty and staff are working hard to provide an excellent and safe learning environment for our entire school community.

We appreciate all of your efforts to reinforce these priorities at home and in the community. We are committed to continue working together with all of our partners – to remaining “All in for Albany!” – to get through these challenging times.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Yours in education,

Kaweeda G. Adams