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Back to Communications Home

Middle schools under the microscope

Committee discussing location, enrollment

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 28, 2017) -- The committee tasked with studying long-term enrollment in the City School District of Albany on Monday sought more information as it moves closer to its decision deadline.

 

The Phase 2 Grade Configuration Steering Committee – made up of parents, community members and district staff – is studying long-term middle-school enrollment options in the district as the number of students continues to exceed the existing space available.

 

Enrollment in the district’s elementary and middle schools is up more than 26 percent since 2008-09. Based on a December 2015 demographic study, the district anticipates as many as 425 more students in grades 6-8 by the start of the 2025-26 school year.

 

The committee’s charge is to recommend a location for an additional middle school and a new enrollment pattern for all middle schools. In June the committee will report its recommendations to the Albany Board of Education, which has the final say.

 

Committee members on Monday asked for cost estimates on two possible location scenarios:

  • Renovating the current Arbor Hill Elementary School into a large (800-plus student) middle school and converting the 50 North Lark middle school into an elementary school. Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and Hackett Middle School would continue as middle schools with approximately 700 and 675 students in each building; each facility was built to hold 650 students.   

  • Keeping the middle school at 50 North Street to accommodate about 450 students and renovating either North Albany Academy or Arbor Hill Elementary to accommodate 450 students. Myers and Hackett would have approximately 650 students in each of their buildings.

 

Preliminary estimates indicate that the first option may be more cost-effective but not provide enough room to accommodate all middle-school students. The second option would provide enough room house all students with room for growth but may be more expensive.

 

The committee considered but rejected two other options: taking no action or building a new middle school.

 

The committee also asked district staff to investigate potential enrollment patterns for three and four schools by evenly spreading the higher-performing elementary schools and lower-performing elementary schools across the middle schools to create a better balance.

 

The committee’s next meeting is April 24 from 6-8 p.m. at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75 Watervliet Ave.  Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe.

 

Click here to learn more about the committee’s work in the past 18 months.

    

The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and prepare all students for college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our diverse community. The district serves more than 9,600 students in 17 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

         
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