Welcome to a new school year! - 8/19/21

front of Hackett Middle School

The following message is from Hackett Principal Michael Paolino. The information was also mailed home in a letter on Aug. 17, and you can download that letter.

Dear Families:

Hello, and welcome to the start of a new school year! Our plans for the 2021-22 school year are continuing to develop toward our goal of in-person instruction for all students, and I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the status of that planning. At this time, we are looking forward to having all of our students back in school five days a week.

We also are mindful of the health and safety protocols that remain critically important for all of our students, faculty and staff.  As we closely monitor the impact of COVID-19, we continue to align all of our efforts with the guidance of federal, state and local health officials, as well as the New York State Education Department and Capital Region BOCES. 

For the start of the 2021-22 school year, the following health and safety protocols will be in place:

  • Masks will be mandatory in school for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will be optional outside on school grounds. 
  • We will follow 3 feet of social distancing in our buildings wherever possible. 
    • In cases where we cannot maintain 3 feet while also achieving our goal of daily in-person instruction for all students, we will use polycarbonate dividers as an extra safety measure. 
  • We will conduct daily temperature screenings for all individuals upon arrival to school.
  • We will continue to follow the same hand hygiene, and daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols that we have since the start of the pandemic.
  • Masks also will be required for all students on buses and we will return to regular capacity guidelines on all buses.

Student Orientation Days Sept. 2-3

In an effort to ensure a smooth transition back to school for all students, the district has dedicated Sept. 2-3 as Student Orientation Days. The goal of these two days is to welcome students back to school in smaller groups in order to provide ample time for them to get comfortable with their schedules, our health and safety protocols and their school lockers. 

We will provide student schedules and locker assignments during these Student Orientation Days; students will receive their schedule from their first-period (homeroom) teacher. 

These orientation days also will provide our students with the opportunity to participate in small sessions to better familiarize themselves with school protocols related to PBIS, hallway transitions, lunch/study hall routines, and arrival and dismissal procedures.

  • Thursday, Sept. 2 – Orientation for students whose last name starts with the letters A-L (only students whose last names start with the letters A-L are required to attend on this day) 
  • Friday, Sept. 3 – Orientation for students whose last name starts with M-Z (only students whose last names start with the letters M-Z are required to attend on this day). 

School administrators, guidance counselors and teachers will be present outside of school on these two days to assist students in identifying their first-period class. To ensure a smooth start to the school day, students will enter/exit the building through one of these three designated locations:

  • Main Entrance – Grades 7-8 only
  • 1st Floor North Entrance – Grade 6 only
  • Cafeteria Entrance – All students, regardless of grade, receiving yellow bus transportation as well as any student choosing to eat breakfast in the cafeteria

Student attendance and schedules

Wednesday, Sept. 8 will be the first full day of school for all students. Breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the school day will begin at 8:03 a.m.  For students not eating breakfast at school, entrance into school will begin at 7:40 a.m. The school day will conclude at 3 p.m.

Upon entering school each day, students will have their temperature taken and all materials checked by security. Those students with a temperature below 100 degrees will be allowed to enter the building.  Students with a temperature above 100 degrees will be sent to the nurse’s office to await a parent or guardian to pick them up at school.

Upon entering the building, we will provide students with a “grab-and-go” breakfast prior to heading to their assigned classroom.  At the present moment, the goal is for all students to eat lunch in the café.  Students will have the choice of bringing their own lunch to school, or selecting from one of the hot items provided each day.  Should steps need to be taken to address challenges presented by the pandemic, we may need to decide at a later time for students to eat lunch within their assigned homerooms.


Students continue to be eligible for transportation to and from school based on the district’s standard criteria: all students living 1.5 miles or more from school, and all students whose Individualized Education Plan (IEP) requires specialized transportation.  Students receiving specialized transportation will ride yellow buses operated by First Student.  All other eligible middle and high school students in the district ride CDTA.

Students eligible to ride CDTA buses will have their student ID activated to use as their bus pass.  CDTA also allows a two-week grace period at the start of each school year (through Friday, Sept. 17 this year) when all students are allowed to ride.  CDTA will continue to provide tripper buses for our students in the morning and afternoon; eligible students also can ride any regular CDTA bus using their activated student IDs.

Student supply lists

Available on our school’s page on the district website: http://www.albanyschools.org/schools/hackettmiddle/hackett.htm

Summer Transition Camp

The Summer Transition Camp is a three-day program open to all students entering grades 6-7 at Hackett Middle School.  The camp is designed to help students get off to a smooth start to the school year.  The Summer Transition Camp will be held Aug. 23-25 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. each day. 

Students will have opportunities to learn strategies to enhance study skills and note-taking abilities as well as engage in various team-building activities designed to promote a safe and secure learning environment.  We hope that all incoming sixth- and seventh-graders take advantage of this fun opportunity. 

Students who have not yet submitted an application to participate in the Summer Transition Camp can still register by reporting to the main entrance of school on the first day Monday, Aug. 23.

Important dates and events

Finally, I would like to share the following dates for various important school events.  Please be sure to mark these dates on your calendars:

  • First PTA meeting – Wednesday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m.
  • Yom Kippur – Thursday, Sept. 16 (no school)
  • Open House – Thursday, Sept. 30, 6-8:30 p.m.
  • PTA meeting – Wednesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
  • Columbus Day – Monday, Oct. 11 (no school)
  • Halloween Teen Night – Friday, Oct. 29, 6-8:30 p.m
  • School pictures – Oct. 19-20

A successful 2021-22 school year for all of our students will require that we work together to adhere to all of the new guidelines and procedures we have established due to COVID-19.  We ask that you review all of this information at home with your students prior to the start of school, especially the important health and safety components.  Now more than ever, it is critical that we are “All in for Albany!”

I welcome any questions you may have regarding the new school year.  You may contact me at mpaolino@albany.k12.ny.us or (518) 475-6475.