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Advisory group: District may need four middle schools

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 25, 2017) -- The committee tasked with studying long-term enrollment in the City School District of Albany on Monday recommended that the district may need to operate four middle schools in the future to accommodate its increasing student population.

 

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 where students should attend middle school and how middle schools should be enrolled. In June the committee will report its recommendations to the Albany Board of Education, which has the final say.

 

Committee members on Monday discussed possible locations for four schools and is expected to make a formal recommendation at its May meeting. In addition to Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and William S. Hackett Middle School, the committee discussed the following middle school options:

  • Convert Arbor Hill Elementary School into a middle school and continue to operate the new middle school opening in September at 50 North Lark St. Arbor Hill Elementary students would attend North Albany Academy. Arbor Hill and North Albany both would require renovations. Arbor Hill would need to be renovated to accommodate middle-school students and North Albany would need to be expanded to accommodate the Arbor Hill students.

  • Convert North Albany Academy into a middle school and continue to operate the new middle school opening in September at 50 North Lark. North Albany Academy students would attend Arbor Hill Elementary School. Both North Albany and Arbor Hill would require renovations.

  • Convert both Arbor Hill Elementary School and North Albany Academy into middle schools and convert the new middle school at 50 North Lark into an elementary school to serve the Arbor Hill Elementary and North Albany students. All the schools would require renovations.

 

The committee previously considered but rejected two other options: taking no action or building a new middle school. At its May meeting, the committee will receive estimates of the cost of each option.

 

The committee also asked district staff to investigate potential enrollment patterns for three 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 May 22 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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