Board adopts new middle school enrollment pattern

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The City School District of Albany Board of Education unanimously approved a new middle school feeder pattern Thursday night that will begin to be phased-in next school year, completing the district’s multi-year commitment to providing equity for students at all grade levels.

Emphasizing the need for the district and community to work together to move beyond historical factors that have contributed to segregation and limited opportunities for students of color, the board selected scenario 25828b. 

The scenario was one of eight proposed options that had come forward from the district’s Feeder Alignment Committee, which worked for nearly eight months this school year to develop the recommendations.

The board narrowed its focus to two primary options at its March 10 meeting prior to Thursday’s final vote. 

Click here to watch the video from Thursday night’s meeting. You also can visit our Feeder Alignment Committee section to watch videos from all 23 meetings held on this topic since July. 

The new enrollment pattern includes changes for seven of the district’s 12 elementary schools. Here is the new pattern:

  • North Albany Middle School 
    • Albany School of Humanities (ASH), Eagle Point Elementary School, Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy, Pine Hills Elementary School
  • Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School
    • Delaware Community School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, Montessori Magnet School, Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST)
  • William S. Hackett Middle School
    • Arbor Hill Elementary School, Dual Language Program, New Scotland Elementary School, Sheridan Preparatory Academy

The new pattern will be phased-in over three years beginning in the fall with this year’s fifth-graders moving to sixth grade. Students currently in grades 6-7 will remain at their current middle school until they move on to high school. 

The district also has said that it will accommodate sibling preference, as well as offer open enrollment to the extent that it can support staffing and facilities needs.

Next steps

With the board’s approval of the new pattern, the district’s work now shifts toward finalizing plans for implementation. Next steps will include:

  • Continuing to work with CDTA to review and build bus routes that will serve each middle school in 2022-23. The district is proposing to add transportation funding for six additional CDTA tripper buses (there are 13 for the middle schools currently). Final routes will be confirmed and shared with families following the May 17 budget vote.
  • Evaluate and plan for staffing needs at each building based on projected enrollment
  • Plan and schedule spring orientation programs for students and families at each middle school
  • Plan and schedule summer transition camps for new students at each middle school

Reaffirming a commitment to equity

The decision reaffirmed the board’s commitment to changing the current temporary feeder pattern, which was established in 2017-18 as an outcome of a series of charter middle school closures and the district’s own rising enrollment earlier in the decade. 

The current middle school enrollment pattern grouped Arbor Hill, Schuyler and Sheridan first at Edmund J. O’Neal School of Excellence and now at North Albany. It was intended to be in place 3-5 years. That was the period of time the district needed for a facilities project that the community overwhelmingly approved in 2019 to transform North Albany’s facilities to be on par with those at Hackett and Myers.  

The North Albany facilities project is on schedule to be mostly done by the start of next school year. Completion of the final piece, a new auditorium, is scheduled for the summer of 2023. 

The district’s planning for all students in grades 6-8 dates to the early part of the century, when voters overwhelmingly approved a sweeping 2001 elementary and middle school facilities project. 

The growth of charter schools in Albany during the 2000s, and then the subsequent demise of most of the charter middle schools by 2015, complicated and delayed the district’s long-range planning for elementary and middle school enrollment. 

You can download the presentation from Thursday’s board meeting for more information about the history of that planning, and you also can visit our Feeder Alignment Committee section.