The rhythm of the school is different depending on your perspective. For parents and most students, at mid-year you are experiencing finals and report cards and maybe an eye toward June. Seniors will be realizing that their lives are about to change a lot. Despite their desire to be finished, the spring will undoubtedly surface some anxiety about the future. For teachers and administrators, we must live in two realities. There is the present, where the bells need to ring on time and lessons need to be created and delivered. There is also a need to prepare for 2017/18 school year.
I want to take this opportunity during finals week, as semester one concludes and semester two begins, to give you my perspective on how things are going at Albany High and look backwards and forwards as we move into 2017. Looking back at the fall semester, it certainly has been eventful. We began the year with a second phase of a new three-year math program that despite being brand new has yielded some growth in the way teachers and students approach math. Students who took Math One last year have demonstrated increasing comfort with the format of working together to engage and discuss the integrated math program. We also launched a Design / Build program that has students traveling to Laney College to construct what they conceptualized in class at Albany High. Students are also experiencing an improvement in the culinary class that has combined with our Venture program to prepare and market lunches to teachers on campus.
Of course it would not be a complete look back to the fall semester without recalling the student response to the November 8th Presidential election results and the Inauguration on January 20th. In both instances the students responded with intelligence and restraint, while still finding their voice to express their opinions.
One activity that is bridging fall and spring is the piloting of the Haiku LMS (Learning Management System) that in addition to a grade book, can provide a number of other tools to improve instruction and communication between parents, students and teachers. While a decision has yet to be made about switching between Aeries and Haiku, please know that we will have only one grade book program next year. With regard to Seniors, we have a new process for considering the Valedictorian and Salutatorian candidates, which considers a broader set of criteria for that selection. Information will be distributed to eligible Seniors once fall semester grades have been calculated.
Looking forward to next fall, we will begin the scheduling of students for next year’s program in a few weeks. We will offer three new courses. We are working on the IIC (Instructional Improvement Committee) approval process for an Ethnic Studies class, a World Cuisine course and Math 3, the third and final year of the math sequence. In our school site plan we are also inserting action steps to address the concerns and needs of our LGBT student community.
With all the change in the world, I want to assure the parents that the Albany High teachers and staff are working hard to support your student’s learning in a safe and caring environment. If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please contact us.