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Grade Configuration Steering Committee Meeting Summary

Nov. 21, 2016: Facilities

  • Bill Hogan, Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs, presented on the various facilities currently available to the City School District of Albany and their potential as spaces for future middle schools to address long-term enrollment

    • The scenarios provided are intended as "what if" situations and are not intended as the only possible options. They are intended to foster rather than limit conversation on the need for a long-term solution

    • It is important to note that this is not a discussion of potential changes for the 2017-18 school year. The phase one configuration committee has already recommended to the board that the 50 North Lark facility serve as the interim middle school for the next 3-5 years

      • Mr. Hogan opened his presentation with a discussion of the renovations that will be done to ensure 50 North Lark is an equitable space by September 2017

    • This summary includes the main topics of discussion that arose from each scenario. For additional information, view Mr. Hogan's presentation in full here

  • Possible scenario #1: Continue to use buildings as already planned for 2017-18

    • Addresses the increase in enrollment, but does not allow sixth grades to be moved into middle school buildings at this time

    • The committee discussed the importance of this move in terms of providing an equitable experience to all families and the developmental appropriateness of sixth-graders being housed in middle rather than elementary school

  • Possible scenario #2: Keep 50 North Lark as a middle school and make North Albany Academy a fourth middle school

    • In addition to the construction costs that would still leave North Albany without an equitable auditorium, the inefficient use of staff would provide an additional annual cost

    • This would also prevent North Albany from housing a potential Newcomer Program for ENL and refugee students

    • Arbor Hill would require renovation to house the elementary students removed from North Albany although currently 20% of the building is undeveloped

    • The committee discussed that regardless of the site, planning for a fourth middle school may be necessary based off the assumptions of the forecast in the demographic study including special populations and the ultimate goal of housing sixth grades in middle school buildings

  • Possible scenario #3: Create a third large middle school at Arbor Hill and 50 North Lark becomes an elementary building

    • Arbor Hill would be renovated to make use of the undeveloped space resulting in a large middle school with an enrollment of 800 students. This raised several question and concerns, including the ability for such a large middle school to provide an equitable experience

      • Many commented that this was far too many students for one building and would not be an equitable experience

      • A counterpoint was raised that there may be no record of successful middle schools of that size within Albany because of inequitable staffing and resources

      • Discussion of the "magic number" of enrollment for middle schools being 600 students, a well as the topic of thematic schools, both of which will be addressed in the January presentation




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