Items tagged with 'schools'

Experiences to share about Albany schools?

erasers on chalkboard

Eric emails:

I live in Pine Hills and it offers just about everything I'm looking for: a (relatively) safe, walkable neighborhood, lots of parks, some diversity, interesting people... The problem is that my kid is about to enter the school system and I'm hearing things about the Albany school district that concern me. My experience as a former teacher was that the kids who graduate from the upper level programs at Albany are more well-prepared for life after high school and college than many of their suburban council peers. I've heard that smart, but lower-performing kids are being pushed into the honors classes in hopes of helping them achieve more, but the real effect is that the honors classes are being dumbed down.
I've seen several comments on AOA from parents who are proudly raising their kids in Albany, so I'd love to hear what their experiences are with the schools. Are they happy with the public schools? Are they sending their kids to charter or private schools?
Thanks for the help!

Based on similar previous conversations, we're guessing people probably do have a few thoughts to share. And something that's been very clear in conversations both here on AOA and in-person is that kids, families, and situations are varied and often in different in their own ways. What might be right for one family might not necessarily work for another. So we'd just like to gently remind everyone to be respectful of that.

So, have some thoughts for Eric? Please share!

Earlier on AOA:
+ Ask AOA: Which school district should our family pick?
+ How Albany can make its case better for why young families should stay

Capital Region high school graduation rates 2016

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The state Department of Education recently released its annual collection of data about high school graduation rates around the state. The four-year statewide graduation rate for 2016 (that is, the 2012 cohort of students) was 79.4 -- up almost 1.5 percentage points from the year before.

As we do every year, we've pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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Ask AOA: Which school district should our family pick?

buckingham pond playground dinosaursSean emails with a question that's a little bit different -- his family has young children and they're thinking about where to settle. They are, in some sense, free agents looking for the right school district. From his email:

It's one thing to look at graduation statistics, crime statistics, etc and focus on the "bad" for reasons why you wouldn't want to live somewhere and have your kid go to those schools, or even using those stats to justify why your school is better ("my team is better than your team b/c yours sucks"). You also hear all kinds of anecdotes and stereotypes about various school districts, yet those only seem to encapsulate the best-of-the-best or the very worst of the students that pass through.
I'd be most interested in hearing people lobby for what they think is the best school system and associated community, and why. For example:
+ I think Albany schools are the best b/c kids get to experience (socially) what the real world is like. They will academically succeed or fail in any school district more or less the same, but here they are enriched to a degree that you can't get anywhere else in the region. Or...
+ I think Voorheesville schools are the best b/c the school system is small enough that everyone gets to participate in whatever they want - clubs, sports, music. Whether you're destined to become a PRO or are just trying something out, you will have a place on the team / in the group. Or...
+ I think Shen schools are the best because kids are put in a competitive environment where they truly have to earn their accolades, whether athletically or cognitively. The cream will rise to the top, but everyone will benefit from the competition.

In short, we get the feeling Sean is looking for reasons to actively pick a school district rather than reasons to not pick another district.

Of course, this is a complicated question. And the right situation for one family might not be the right situation for another. But if you have some thoughts to offer, please share! Even if you don't have a specific district suggestion, some thoughts on how to think about the decision could also be helpful.
____

Earlier on AOA:
+ How Albany can make its case better for why young families should stay
+ Ask AOA: Best Capital Region small town, village, or suburb for settling down?

Can you answer another round of these 8th grade math questions correctly?

state 8th grade math 2016 questions composite

This week the state Education Department released 75 percent of the questions from this year's ELA and mathematics Common Core state tests for grades 3-8. That's about two months earlier than in past years.

In years past we've posted a handful of the 8th grade math questions as a sort of short quiz. And people always seem curious about the question -- and, you know, interested to see if they can answer them.

So we pulled seven questions from this year's 8th grade mathematics test -- they're after the jump with the (hidden) answers.

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Breaking down the Albany High School vote

Albany High School rendering revised plan

A rendering from the revised plan that passed by a small margin this week (unofficial results).

Updated Friday morning with better maps.

The vote on the reformulated $180 million plan to rebuild/expand Albany High School has gotten a lot of attention this week not just because it passed (unofficially) by a small margin after another round of contentious discussion -- but also because of problems at many polling places around the city.

Now there's talk of holding yet another vote -- with some local elected officials outright calling for one (such as Albany County exec Dan McCoy) and others (such as Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan and state Assembly member Pat Fahy) saying the state should look into what happened. So, stay tuned. [TU]

In the meantime... We were curious about the patterns of votes around various parts of the city -- and how the vote this time compared to the vote last fall when the first proposal was narrowly defeated.

So, we pulled the voting numbers and sifted them. Are there maps? Come on... you know there are maps.

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Info sessions, tours for revised Albany High School rebuild plan

albany high school redev revised plan overview

A site plan for revised project from the district's slide deck posted online.

The vote on the reformulated plan for the much-discussed expansion/rebuilding of Albany High School is coming up February 9, and the school district has a series of public informational meetings and tours lined up between now and then.

One of those sessions -- a community forum -- is scheduled for tonight (Thursday, January 14) in the Albany High School cafeteria at 7 pm. A slide deck for the presentation is already posted online. The deck includes building plans and details about topics such as cost per square foot.

The overall price tag of the new plan is $179.9 million -- about $16 million less than the plan that narrowly got voted down in November. (A new auditorium and an expanded gym were among the items cut to shrink the cost.) Of the new price tag, the district would be paying almost $63 million (compared to $72 million in the former plan), with the state picking up the rest. For a home valued at $200k, the district projects taxes would go up $28/year from their current level, compared to $60 in the former plan. (That figure doesn't take into account debt that's scheduled to come off the district's books, which was a point of controversy leading up to the last vote.)

The rebuild plan is still scheduled for a 7-year timeline in order to maximize state aid. Roof replacement would start this summer, with main construction starting in 2018. The whole project would be completed by 2024.

The district says the current Albany High School is in significant need of repair and isn't large enough to accommodate projected enrollment increases. It says the cost of doing the necessary repairs and providing the extra space will be $100 million if the proposed rebuild doesn't happen.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Thinking about the plan for the next version of Albany High School
+ Capital Region high school graduation rates 2015

Capital Region high school graduation rates 2015

chalkboard eraser chalk

photo: Flickr user alkruse24 (CC BY 2.0)

The state Department of Education released its annual collection of data about high school graduation rates around the state on Monday. The statewide graduation rate for 2015 (that is, the 2011 cohort of students) was 78.1 -- up almost two percentage points from the year before.

As we do every year, we've pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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Albany's first high school

first Albany High School 1900

A bit more handsome than the current building.

Because of all the talk about the vote over what to do with the current Albany High School, we thought we pull out some photos of the city's first high school building. Here's a larger version, along with a different view.

The building was constructed on Eagle Street, roughly where the Albany County Court House now stands, in 1876. And it was designed by the Albany-famous architect Edward Ogden (he also designed the Kenmore Hotel on Pearl Street, and you might notice some similarities). Carl has the backstory of the building over at Hoxsie.

By the early 1900s, with enrollments in the 700-800 student range -- there was a push to replace it for reasons that will sound familiar. Again, Carl has the backstory at Hoxsie -- here's a clip from a 1909 resolution calling for a new building:

"Whereas, In its present overcrowded condition, it presents entirely inadequate facilities for the healthful study of the academic, commercial and industrial arts, lacking proper facilities in study hall and recitation rooms, cloak rooms and hall space, and has no adequate gymnasium or provision for lunch rooms, and, in its crowded condition, with its auditorium on the upper floor and by its intersecting and narrow halls, is a constant menace to the health and life of the pupils attending thereat ...

And it was replaced in 1913 by a new high school building on Lake Avenue between Western and Washington. That building is still there -- after the current high school was built it served as the Philip Schuyler Elementary School, and in recent years was sold to UAlbany.

Thinking about the plan for the next version of Albany High School

albany high school renovation rendering

One of the biggest votes in the Capital Region on Election Day this week won't be about candidates, but rather a building.

Voters in Albany will deciding whether to accept or reject a $196 million plan for a major renovation and addition to Albany High School.

We've taken one of the public tours of the existing building. And we've listened to a lot of the arguments, for and against.

Here are a bunch of thoughts ahead of the vote...

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How Albany can make its case better for why young families should stay

buckingham pond playground dinosaurs

By Nicole Lemperle Correia

In 2009, my husband and I bought our first house. We chose Albany because we loved living in the city as renters, and couldn't imagine living elsewhere. We love the interesting homes, the walkable neighborhoods, the short commute, the parks, and the proximity to our families.

In 2011 our first child was born, and in 2014 we welcomed our youngest. Over the past six years I've come to appreciate how wonderful it is to raise a family in this city -- and how frustrating it can be as well.

As we outgrow our home, we're starting to figure out what's next. Will we stay in Albany? Move elsewhere? These questions have me thinking about the experience of raising a family in our city, whether it makes sense to stay, and how the city could do a better job of reaching out to young families.

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Can you answer more of these 8th grade math questions correctly?

state 8th grade math 2015 questions composite

This week the state Education Department released half of the questions from this year's ELA and mathematics Common Core state tests for grades 3-8. NYSED described them as "a representative sample" of questions used on the tests.

Last year we posted a few of the 8th grade math questions as a sort of short quiz. And people to seem to have a good time nerding out on the questions.

So we pulled five more questions from this year's 8th grade mathematics test -- they're after the jump with the (hidden) answers.

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Capital Region high school graduation rates 2014

chalkboard eraser chalk

photo: Flickr user alkruse24 (CC BY 2.0)

The state Department of Education released its annual collection of data about high school graduation rates around the state on Thursday. The statewide graduation rate for 2014 (that is, the 2010 cohort of students) was 76.4 -- up a little more than a percentage point from the year before.

As we do every year, we've pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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Poking at some numbers for New York school districts, graduation rates, and income

chalkboard eraser chalk

This won't be on a test. / photo: Flickr user alkruse24 (CC BY 2.0)

Two things (indirectly) prompted this post:

1. The discussion around that Miss Pearl question about moving out of Albany for the school district.

2. Another one of those school district rankings.

If anything, both of those items highlighted for us our desire to better understand what people are talking about when they talk about "the schools" -- and how factors such as income and poverty fit in.

So we pulled a whole bunch of numbers on New York State school districts -- specifically graduation rates, household income, and poverty rates -- and did some sifting. And we came across a few things we expected -- and few things we didn't.

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Can you answer these five 8th grade math questions correctly?

state math test question composite

On Wednesday the state Education Department released half of the questions from this year's ELA and mathematics state tests for grades 3-8. From the NYSED EngageNY site:

These questions have been annotated to display the kinds of thinking students are required to do in the new Common Core Tests. These documents will be helpful for better understanding the requirements and expectations of the Common Core state tests.

The Common Core and standardized testing have gotten a lot of attention (much of it criticism) over the last year. And as a result, we were curious about what sorts of questions are on these tests -- so we browsed through a few of them today. And we couldn't help but quiz ourselves a bit along the way.

We figured you might be interested in doing that, too. So we pulled five questions from the 8th grade mathematics test -- they're after the jump with the (hidden) answers.

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Capital Region high school graduation rates 2013

capital region hs cohort tree map

A "tree map" of how each Capital Region school district's high school class fit into the region's overall cohort. (Don't squint, there's a larger version after the jump.)

Corrected.

The state Department of Education recently released its annual collection of data about high school graduation rates around the state. The statewide graduation rate for 2013 (that is, the 2009 cohort of students) was 74.9 percent, up slightly from the year before. (That counts kids who finished up by June 2013).

As we do every year, we've pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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Jonathan Kozol at CNSE

jonathan kozolAuthor/educator/activist Jonathan Kozol is the featured guest speaker at a forum November 7 at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering titled "Growing Up in Poverty in America: A Call to Action." The event is organized by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

Kozol's career has focused on highlighting the obstacles that poverty creates for children in urban areas, speaking out against the systems that he's argued have contributed to inequalities for low-income children. A Slate article from last year gives a short overview of Kozol's career, and a look at his most recent book.

The event at CNSE will also include a panel discussion. It event is from 1-4 pm (there will be tours of CNSE before and after). Tickets are $40.

photo: Gloria Cruz

Work Week: My job as a high school teacher

work week high school teacher

It's Work Week on AOA. We'll be talking with people about their jobs and working. Part of that includes anonymous conversations with people about what it's like to do their jobs.

Next Up: The High School Teacher.

Or, to be more precise, the former high school teacher. The High School Teacher retired in 2011, but is currently teaching teachers in a UAlbany graduate education program. He taught for more than 30 years in Saratoga and shares some thoughts on how education, students, and the job of a high school teacher changed in that time.

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10 Thurlow Terrace

10 Thurlow exterior angle

"The Castle"

Perched on the north edge of Washington Park in Albany, 10 Thurlow Terrace is one of the city's unique properties. The home looks like a castle on the outside, and the interior is filled with beautiful woodwork (there are photos at that link).

And now it's close to finding a new life. The owner of 10 Thurlow and the Castle Island Bilingual Montessori school are working on a deal in which the school would move into the historic home.

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Capital Region high school graduation rates 2012

chalk on chalk board ledgeThe state Department of Education released its annual collection of data about high school graduation rates around the state on Monday. The statewide graduation rate for the 2008 cohort of students was 74 percent, the same as the year before. (That counts kids who finished up by June 2012. The rate was almost 77 percent if students finished by August 2012 are included). And as NYSED notes, this was the first cohort in which the "local diploma" option was not available to general education students, requiring them to graduate with a more rigorous Regents diploma.

We pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts. As in years past, there continues to be a sobering gap in graduation rates among some school districts and groups of students.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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The ladies who (prepare and serve) lunch

shen skano tesago cafeteria lunch line

By Casey Normile

On Fridays at Shenendahowa's Skano and Tesago elementary schools, the kids know what they want for lunch. The menu includes chef salad and fish nuggets, but those mostly go untouched. Because it's not just any Friday -- it's Pizza Friday.

The tiny students run in to the cafeteria, excited and hungry, lining up by class. Finally, when they're up, they turn shy and quietly tell the energetic lunch lady, Libby: "Pizza, please."

Principals and teachers get a lot of the attention when we talk about schools, and rightfully so. Lunch ladies? Even with a job that involves making sure hundreds of kids are fed, they don't come up in the conversation as often. Maybe it's the old "lunch lady" stereotype: a cartoonish character with a hairnet, a snarl on her face, and a ladle full of cole slaw.

But that image doesn't do the ladies at Shenendehowa's elementary schools any justice.

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Capital Region high school graduation rates 2011

chalk on chalk board ledgeThe state Department of Education released data Monday about high school graduation rates. The statewide graduation rate for the 2007 cohort of students was 74 percent (that counts kids who finished up by June 2011).

We pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts. As in years past, some of the results are sobering and frustrating.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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Wise animals and ambiguous pineapples

nysed test pineapple hare illustration

Noted: Pineapples don't have sleeves.

Weird, a little funny, and maybe flecked with insight: The state Education Department found itself caught recently in a kerfuffle regarding test questions about a talking pineapple on an 8th grade English Language Arts standardize test. Yep, a talking pineapple. [NYT]

The passage -- based on a bit from Daniel Pinkwater's Borgel -- tells the story of a pineapple that bets a group of animals that it can beat a hare in a race. (Spoilers!) The pineapple loses and the animals eat the pineapple.

The full passage and questions are after the jump.

Two of the questions on the reading comprehension test -- about why the animals ate the pineapple, and which animal was wisest -- prompted complaints from teachers, parents, and students because, you know... there's not a clear answer. That's a problem on a multiple choice test. [NYDN]

On Friday state ed commissioner John King announced the questions wouldn't be counted "due to the ambiguous nature of the test questions." NYSED says the question was developed by a company called Pearson, has been used in other states, and "the passage and related questions are not reflective of the precision of the entire exam." [NYSED]

After reading the passage and the questions, we didn't think they were necessarily inappropriate for kids that age. Sure, they're ambiguous, but getting a kid to form an argument about why something happens in story where not everything is spelled out seems like a good idea. It's just that this sort of thing doesn't work well on a multiple choice test. The question shouldn't have been "circle one." It should have been "pick one and explain why."

And that highlights one of the (many) tensions right now in education: students, teachers, and schools need to be evaluated -- but doing so can be difficult, and often doesn't scale well.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region elementary school test scores 2011

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Charge against Voorheesville teacher accused of biting student dropped

vorheesville teacher alleged biterThe child endangerment charge against Voorheesville teacher Michael Guerette -- accused of biting the arm of a 10-year-old student during an in-class arm wrestling match last December -- will be dropped if he stays out trouble for the next six months, both WNYT and YNN report. He also have to write an apology letter, according to the Albany County sheriff. The girl's parents support the move, apparently. [WNYT] [TU] [YNN]

This story was just... weird, and got a lot of attention (international, even) as a result. It also prompted a public outpouring of support for Guerette. Multiple people commented here at AOA that he was one of the best teachers they've ever had.

Back in January, Guerette spoke to YNN about the situation -- he told Julie Chapman that he didn't actually bite the student, but her teeth did come into contact with his arm while students piled on trying to beat him (a no-homework night was at stake). And as the Albany County Sheriff's Office noted at the time the incident first surfaced, Guerette self-reported what happened. [YNN]

Unfortunately for Guerette, Google doesn't have an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal option. (What if it did?)

Albany High School: An alum's perspective

Albany High School

By Elisabeth Draper

Some people I've met have found it hard to believe that I'm a graduate of Albany High School.

When I was in high school I worked at a store in Stuyvesant Plaza. An older customer once asked where I went to high school, so I told her. She subsequently went on to tell me how she, too, was an Albany Academy girl and what a fabulous education I must be receiving. I hated to correct her, as she was so happy to reminisce, but I said, "No, no -- I go to Albany High."

Her response? A rather deflated, "Oh."

I attended Albany High from 1995 through 1999 and the perception of the school hasn't changed much in 12 years. And while I can't attest to the student experience today, I've always been appreciative of my time at Albany High and am proud to be a Falcon.

Let me tell you why.

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Teacher accused of biting student

vorheesville teacher alleged biterUpdate April 18, 2012: The charge against Guerette has been dropped.
____

Easily the weirdest story of the day: the Albany County Sheriff's Office says a 5th grade teacher at Vorheesville Elementary has been arrested for allegedly biting a student. During an arm wrestling competition.

From the press release:

The incident allegedly occurred on December 13, 2011 during classroom instructional time during which Guerette allowed a male fifth grade student to engage in arm wrestling with him. During the wrestling, other students including the victim became excited and were pulling and pushing on the child's arm who was wrestling Guerette trying to cause the student to win the arm wrestling match. During this ruckus the victim reached her arm across the desk in front of Guerette pulling on the hand of the student who was wrestling the teacher. Guerette opened his mouth and bit the female student in the forearm leaving what the student said were teeth marks. The bite mark eventually turned to bruising on the child's arm which was still visible 48 hours later when examined by school officials.

The sheriff's office says the teacher -- Michael Guerette -- self reported the alleged incident to the school's principal. Also: an "investigation has not revealed any misconduct of a sexual nature."

The full press release is embedded after the jump.

Update: Cassie says Guerette was one of her teachers -- be sure to read her comment.

Update: The school district has a posted a statement about the situation. Here's a clip:

Our first concern is always for the safety of our students, which makes incidents of this nature difficult to comprehend and impossible to justify.
Mr. Guerette will remain on leave from all duties while the district awaits the resolution of the charge against him. We are also continuing to consult with officials from the State Education Department on the appropriate disciplinary actions.

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Capital Region elementary school test scores 2011

chalk on chalk board ledgeThe state Education Department released results from the English and math proficiency tests for grades 3-8 this week. NYSED reports that, on average, scores are down slightly for English and about the same for math.

The state also makes the test score data available by school district, so we pulled out the results for Capital Region districts. A compact, easy-skim version is after the jump -- along with expanded presentations of the data -- after the jump...

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Capital Region high school graduation rates 2010

chalk on chalk board ledgeThe state Department of Education released data today about high school graduation rates. The statewide graduation rate for the 2006 cohort of students was 73.4 percent (that counts kids who finished up by June 2010).

We pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts. As in years past, some of the results are frustrating.

Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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Name that landmark: Livingston school

livingston school entrance

It once was called "the embodiment of the ideals of beauty and utility."

By Akum Norder

Look toward Albany's Arbor Hill from I-90, and above the trees you may see a tower, the green of old copper. It's the type of cupola that used to top important buildings, and it catches the eye because there's nothing else quite like it nearby. What is that up there, that structure, looking stately and a little lonely on the ridge of a hill?

It was once Albany's showcase school.

Philip Livingston Magnet Academy (when built, it was Philip Livingston Junior High) is a remnant of an era that thought city schools should be landmarks. Up close, it's massive: Two long wings stretch out from the central building, which is topped with the cupola. It has an air about it, as if it was built for a grand and serious purpose. And you know what? It was.

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School report cards 2009-2010

albany school report card thumbnailThe state education department released "report cards" for districts and schools across the state today. Much of the data had already been released, but this pulls it together in one place.

Local districts, grouped by county: Albany | Rensselaer | Saratoga | Schenectady

There are two reports for each district and school. Example: here are the reports for the Albany school district.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region high school graduation rates 2009

Schools in Albany, Schenectady on "persistently lowest performing" list

Thumbnail image for Albany High SchoolThree local schools are on the "persistently lowest performing" list released today by the state education department: Albany's high school and Hackett Middle School; and Schenectady High School.

All three of these schools are up for "registration review," which requires them to implement a "major intervention" to turn them around (there's funding that goes along with these interventions). There are four intervention models: turnaround, restart, transformation and closure.

This is the second year in a row Albany High School has been tagged on this list. In July the state released a report that painted a harsh picture of the school. In September, the school district announced that the school would be broken up into four "themed academies" starting next school year.

Albany High School had a 53 percent graduation rate in 2009, according to state figures. Schenectady High School's rate was 56 percent.

It's hard to overstate the importance of improving these schools. First and foremost, the students deserve better. But the quality of these schools is also a key part of the health of Albany and Schenectady. It's anecdotal, sure, but we know a bunch of people who have moved out of Albany (or plan to) because of the schools (we'd actually like to see research on this question). A schools turnaround could go a long way to toward improving the overall health of the city -- by providing students with better opportunities, and holding onto to families who would otherwise leave.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Capital Region high school graduation rates 2009
+ Projected Capital Region school district per-pupil spending
+ Capital Region elementary school test scores

Capital Region elementary school test scores

chalk on chalk board ledgeThe state Education Department released results from the English and math proficiency tests for grades 3-8 this week.

So, we pulled out the results for Capital Region school districts. A compact, easy-skim version is after the jump -- with links to more detail. (If you want a school-by-school breakdown, NYSED makes that available, too.)

On to the data, some of which are sobering...

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Tough report for Albany High School

Albany High SchoolA report from the state education department circulating this afternoon doesn't paint a positive picture of Albany High School. Both the Times Union and CBS6 have posted copies -- apparently the report will be released at this evening's school board meeting.

Among the observations in the report:

+ "... Albany High School has an unacknowledged school within a school where a small number of high performing students attend small advanced placement and international baccalaureate classes" (Perhaps "unacknowledged" officially, but this has been pretty well acknowledged by seemingly everyone else.)

+ "Low expectations of students are evident in most observed classrooms."

+ "The needs of most students with disabilities are not being met."

+ "Albany High School is a collection of unrelated, uncoordinated, and unsupervised programs that are not assessed for effects on student achievement."

+ "School attendance is a chronic problem. Absentee rates of 50% or higher are common."

+ "The atmosphere of Albany High School is institutional and impersonal."

The state education department declared AHS a "persistently lowest achieving" school earlier this year, and said the school needs to restructure. This report is part of the review prompted by that designation.

Albany High School's graduation rate was 53 percent in 2009, according to NYSED. That was the lowest in the Capital Region.

This new report does note that interim district superintendent Raymond Coluccio is "an experienced and accomplished administrator and has made the improvement of student achievement the district's top priority." And the TU's Scott Waldman reported earlier this year that new Albany High principal David McCalla appears to be changing the culture of the school.

Projected Capital Region school district per-pupil spending

chalk on chalk board ledgeThe Empire Center released a rundown of projected school budgets across the state for 2010-2011, along with project per-pupil spending.* The think tank reports that the Capital Region has lowest projected increase in per-pupil spending at 1.1 percent.

We pulled out the numbers for the Capital Region (the data are embedded after the jump). The tiny Menands school district (enrollment 230) topped the list of highest per-pupil spending at $32,956.00. The Mohonasen school district (Rotterdam) was the lowest at $13,993.00.

Ballston Spa had the highest per-pupil spending increase at 6.4 percent. The Brunswick school district had the biggest decrease at -7.7 percent (followed by Albany at -3.7 percent).

Earlier on AOA:
+ Capital Region high school graduation rates 2009
+ Capital Region school spending

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Capital Region high school graduation rates 2009

Albany High School

The Albany school district doesn't fare well in these rankings.

The state Department of Education released data about high school graduation rates this week. The statewide graduation rate for the 2005 cohort of students was 74 percent (that counts kids who finished up by August 2009).

We pulled out the stats from Capital Region school districts. As we mentioned last year, some of the results are sort of shocking. Sorted stats (including notes and qualifications) after the jump.

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State: Albany HS among "persistently lowest achieving"

Thumbnail image for Albany High.jpgAlbany High School has been identified as a "persistently lowest achieving" school by the state Education Department. That means the school will be eligible for new funding from the state -- if it agrees to make significant changes.

NYSED says it added Albany High to list because of its scores on English and math tests.

The school district will be holding public forums in March to discuss restructuring the high school.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region school spending

Capital Region school spending

Albany High

The Albany school district spent $22,628.36 per pupil in 2007-2008.

The Empire Center has added a school districts component to its SeeThroughNY web site/databse. From the site description:

This searchable database includes spending, debt and revenue levels of counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts throughout the Empire State, excluding only New York City. You can use this search form to find useful data for any single government or school district, to create categorical rankings statewide or by region, and to compare several entities to one another.

So we exported the school district data from the site and pulled all the entries for Capital Region districts. A chart is after the jump, along with a few quick notes and observations.

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Where to take foreign language classes

paris eiffel tower

They'll still make fun of you, but at least you'll know you tried.

By Dawn Padfield

Have you ever wished you would have kept up with the four years of Spanish you took in high school? Have you ever wanted to impress your significant other by ordering a crepe in French? Have you ever wondered what that cute foreign guy was really saying about you?

Well, wonder no more.

Here are some local language schools to get you started on your way to impressing everyone with your worldly sophistication.

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Capital Region high school graduation rates

Albany High

Albany High School has some room for improvement

The state Department of Education released data about high school graduation rates this week.

We picked through the data to pull out the relevant info about Capital Region schools. Some of the numbers are a little shocking.

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Schools crunched by costs, Saratoga cops ticked off at Skidmore students, Rock Hill Bakehouse temporarily out of commission, Little Miss Albany

Most local school districts are back in session this week and they're dealing with rising costs for everything from lunches to field trips. [TU] [Saratogian]

Albany police say the suspect in last weekend's Washington Ave homicide told them he was provoked by the victim staring at him. The suspect did not admit to stabbing the victim, though. [TU]

The shots that killed a Schenectady man this past weekend were apparently fired through a door. The Schenectady PD says it isn't sure whether the victim was the intended target or not. [Daily Gazette]

A Saratoga Springs cop was injured while trying to break up a Skidmore student party Monday night. It's the second time in a year that an officer has gotten hurt on such a call. The Saratoga PD says Skidmore needs to bring the hammer down on underage student drinking. [Saratogian] [TU]

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Something stinks on the backstretch, workers overcome by fumes, schools big into bilingual, scholarship participation yanked over scuffling football coach, paying more at the dollar store

As if shoveling horse manure all day wasn't bad enough, the New York State Department of Labor says many backstretch workers at The Track are not only not getting paid overtime, they're not even making minimum wage. The labor department says horse trainers, who employ the backstretch workers, are engaged in "widespread violations labor law." [TU]

Two workers for Precision Industrial Maintenance in Schenectady were overcome by toxic fumes yesterday when they stepped inside a tanker truck used to collect raw sewage. Both were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Precision was cited for violating workplace safety rules on a different project earlier this year. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

A plan to turn an apartment building in Troy's Little Italy neighborhood into housing for homeless people with mental illnesses is catching flak from residents of the area. They say they're worried the building could hold back the neighborhood's revitalization. [TU]

Two crime reports from locations you don't normally see them from: a stabbing in Niskayuna and shots fired in Glenmont. [CBS6] [TU]

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Capital Region high school graduation rates

The New York State Education Department released graduation rates for the 2003 "cohort" of high school students (cohort refers to all the students who started high school that year) as of August 2007.

The school district with the highest graduation rate in the Capital Region was Vorheesville at 97 percent. The lowest was Rensselaer at 53 percent.

Rates from all the local school districts after the jump.

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Whenever I drive into the Warehouse District, things get eerily quiet. If I get out of my car, I can't see anyone else around, and I get the sense that Nipper is watching me... sometimes I feel like I can just barely see his tail wagging out of the corner of my eye. That's crazy, right? I always get an urge to pick up a tree branch and throw it... but there aren't any trees. When I feel the first playful bite on the back of my leg, that's when it's time to get back in the car and drive. #nipperisalive

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