graphic masthead of boy and City School District of Alabny logo graphic link to Board of Education pages graphic link to school directory pages
box bullet

HOME

box bullet About Us
box bullet

Academics

box bullet

After-School and Extended-Day Care

box bullet

Albany A-Z

box bullet

Albany Booster Club and School PTAs

box bullet

Albany Fund for Education

box bullet

Alumni

box bullet

Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)

box bullet Art
box bullet Assurance of Discontinuance
box bullet

Athletics

box bullet Bids/RFPs
box bullet Buildings and Grounds
box bullet

Calendar

box bullet

Dignity for All Students Act

box bullet

Early Childhood

box bullet

Employment

box bullet ENL and Refugee Services
box bullet

Feedback

box bullet Grade Configuration/Middle School Enrollment
box bullet

Grants and Program Development

box bullet

Hall of Fame

box bullet Human Resources
box bullet

Library

box bullet

Music

box bullet

News

box bullet

Parent University

box bullet

Professional Development

box bullet

Programs and Services

box bullet Pupil Personnel Services
box bullet Receivership
box bullet

Search Our Site

box bullet

Student Registration

box bullet Summer School

box bullet

Volunteering

box bullet

Website Accessibility

 

Grade configuration-middle school enrollment

The City School District of Albany provides middle-school programs for students in grades 6-8 in three schools: Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School of Excellence, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and William S. Hackett Middle School. Click here to learn more about how these schools are currently enrolled.

 

What is the Grade Configuration Steering Committee?

The Grade Configuration Steering Committee is a group of parents, staff people and community members studying future elementary- and middle-school enrollment in the City School District of Albany.

 

The committee first met in May 2015 and its work is divided into two phases. The first phase committee finished in June 2016 and the second phase committee began in September 2016 and finished in June 2017. Scroll down to learn more about the committee's work and to find agendas and documents from previous meetings.

 

Learn more about grade configuration and the committee's work in a Frequently Asked Questions document. Members of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 committees are listed here.

 

2016-17 work

The Phase 2 Grade Configuration Steering Committee received background about a variety of issues between September 2016 and January 2017. This information-gathering portion of the committee's work finished with the Jan. 23 meeting. Between February and June 2017, the committee held extensive discussions about possible additional middle school locations and how all district middle schools will be enrolled on a long-term basis.

 

What has the Grade Configuration Steering Committee recommended to date?

 

Phase 2 committee recommendations -- June 2017 (To be reviewed by Board of Education in fall 2017. No action will be taken on these recommendations without board approval.)

  • The district should operate four middle schools to accommodate its increasing student population.

  • Arbor Hill Elementary School should be converted into a 500-student middle school and the new middle school opening at 50 North Lark in September should continue to operate as a 500-student middle school. Arbor Hill Elementary would need to be renovated to accommodate middle-school students and North Albany Academy would need to expand to accommodate the Arbor Hill Elementary students. Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and William S. Hackett Middle School would continue to operate as 650-student middle schools.

  • All four middle schools should be enrolled using a formula that evenly spreads higher-, medium- and lower-performing elementary schools across the four middle schools.

Phase 1 committee recommendations -- June 2016 (all adopted by Board of Education)

  • All sixth-graders belong in middle school, and the middle school experience should be three years at minimum. Eventually all sixth grades should move to middle school and elementary school will end at the conclusion of fifth grade.

  • Equity is a priority. The committee determined at the outset of its work in June 2015 that equity would be a priority in all its discussions and decisions. It came up with the following definition of equity: The district must provide all students with what they need to succeed in a competitive educational experience and beyond, and their achievement must not be predictable by race, gender, socioeconomics or any other life circumstances.

  • For the 2017-18 school year

    • The district needs a third middle school to accommodate students in grades 6-8. In the short term, West Hill Middle School is not large enough to accommodate all those students and the district doesn’t own the building. Therefore, the committee recommended that a short-term middle school should be located at 50 North Lark St., current home of the Alternative Learning Center. Pending approval by the Board of Education, the interim school would open in September 2017.

  • For the 2016-17 school year

    • Maintain West Hill Middle School in its current location at 395 Elk St. for at least the 2016-2017 school year

    • Cap Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School enrollment for 2016-17 at 725 students

    • Cap William S. Hackett Middle School enrollment for 2016-17 at 650 students

    • Create a process to enroll middle-school students in other schools in 2016-17 should Myers and/or Hackett reach their caps

    • Maintain North Albany Academy as a prekindergarten-grade 8 school for 2016-17 with a plan to phase out grades 6-8 starting in September 2017.

What has the Board of Education acted on to date? 

In March 2016, the Board of Education agreed with and approved the committee's recommendations for the 2016-17 school year. In September 2016, the board approved 50 North Lark St. as the location to serve students in grades 6-8 starting in September 2017. This location is now Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School.

 

In addition, in October 2016 the board approved a $6.5 million facilities referendum to convert 50 North Lark St. into a middle school. Voters approved the project, which would not affect Albany taxes, on January 10, 2017. Click here to learn more.

 

Some issues the committee studied

  • How do we best use space to serve our growing population?

    • The district has nearly outgrown its current middle-school capacity and needs to plan to serve its growing student population from prekindergarten through eighth grade. The district’s elementary-age population has increased 25 percent in the past eight years. The district’s two middle schools – Stephen and Harriet Myers and William S. Hackett – are at capacity. In addition to the district’s own growing enrollment at the elementary level, the district also absorbed about 275 new students in grades 6-8 for the 2015-16 school year following the closure of the two Brighter Choice charter middle schools at the end of June. In September 2015, the district opened West Hill Middle School in the former Brighter Choice Middle School building. However, the district does not own that building, it does not meet New York State classroom size requirements and cannot accommodate the number of students. (June 2017 update: In September, the district will open a new middle school, Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School, at 50 North Lark St. The former West Hill Middle School building will house the Tony Clement Center for Education, formerly the Alternative Learning Center.)

  • What middle-school enrollment plan will assure equity throughout the district?

    • Currently, about half of Albany’s sixth-graders attend elementary school and half attend middle school, meaning programs, opportunities and experiences vary significantly depending on the school.

    • Middle-school students at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and William S. Hackett Middle have access to more programs and opportunities than middle-school age students at North Albany Academy and West Hill Middle School. (June 2017 update: Starting in September 2017, North Albany Academy will serve students in prekindergarten-grade 5. West Hill Middle School will no longer operate as a middle school.)

  • Which elementary schools would attend a third middle school (or other configuration if that is what the committee and board prefer in the end)?

    • Currently, students who attend half the district’s elementary schools attend Hackett and the students in the other half attend Myers. North Albany Academy serves students from prekindergarten-grade 8. (June 2017 update: As of September 2017, North Albany Academy will serve students from prekindergarten-grade 5).

    • District staff has identified an interim 6-8 enrollment pattern for the 50 North Lark building (now Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School) for September 2017:

      • Arbor Hill Elementary (students in fifth- and sixth-grade during 2016-17)

      • North Albany Academy (students in fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade during 2016-17)

      • Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy (students in fifth-grade during 2016-17)

      • Sheridan Preparatory Academy (students in fifth-grade in 2016-17)

      • West Hill Middle School (students in seventh-grade in 2016-17)

Committee meetings

Unless indicated otherwise, all of the committee’s meetings will be held at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75 Watervliet Ave.  Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe.

 

2016-17 school year -- Click here for a meeting schedule

2015-16 school year

Click the highlighted text to view an informational video about grade configuration in the City School District of Albany.

 

You also can click on the following links to videos on Phase 1 committee deliberations from May-December 2015. Topics include:

Scroll down for agendas and other information from Phase 1.

  • June 21 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • June 7 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Dec. 15 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Nov. 24 -- Transition Subcommittee meeting, Academy Park, 4:30 p.m.

  • Nov. 19 -- Update to the Board of Education, Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy, 676 Clinton Ave., 7 p.m.

  • Nov. 17 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Nov. 4 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Oct. 13 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Sept. 29 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Sept. 15 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Sept. 1 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8:30 p.m.

  • Wednesday, July 22 -- Meeting of the Grade Configuration Subcommittee, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

  • Tuesday, June 30 -- Steering Committee meeting, Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 6-8 p.m.

    • Worksheets for the steering committee subcommittees

  • Tuesday, June 23 -- Community summit that brought together a representative group more than 100 people from the community to provide input on the committee's charge.

  • Wednesday, May 27 -- Click here to see the presentation the committee saw.

  •  


graphic header for quick links

 

Link to Board of Ed page Link to Directory page Link to Our Schools page