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Administrative News

Superintendent's Welcome Message 2016

posted Aug 25, 2016, 2:13 PM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Aug 25, 2016, 2:13 PM ]

AUSD Parents, Students, Staff, and Community Stakeholders,

Click here to view the video of Superintendent Val Williams' Welcome Back Message - Fall 2016.

Dear AUSD Community:

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! I hope everyone had a restful summer break and had time to reconnect with family and friends. I eagerly anticipate our students' return to school on August 29th. I want to extend a special welcome to our new parents to Albany Schools. We are committed to a robust learning experience for all of our students, and we encourage you to become partners with us in your child's learning journey in Albany. I hold three hopes for your child: that they become enthusiastically engaged in their learning, achieve their fullest potential, and grow to be a positive contributing members of their school and larger community.

This year we will continue our focus on improving student achievement and enhancing learning opportunities for all students through a variety of successful strategies. I am proud to say that we have a strong Albany team. All of our staff are caring and compassionate educators, and they endeavor to create a physically and emotionally safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

The most important work we do happens inside the classroom where teachers and students teach and learn together. We emphasize a professional learning community for our teachers so that they are prepared to provide the most engaging and effective instructional programs.

Our school district values our parents and community as our partners in ensuring that our students receive a robust educational experience. I encourage parents to join their school PTA/PTSA organization and to support our fundraising organizations, the Albany Education Foundation, Albany Music Fund, Albany Community Foundation, School Care, and Albany Athletics Boosters.

I want to say a special thank you to the Albany community for the successful passing of our two bond measures, Measures B and E. I encourage parent and community input as we move through the process of planning for schools that encourage innovation and creativity in our students and which prepares them for college, career and service to their community. Information on Measures B&E and facilities planning can be found on the AUSD website.

To our AUSD students: You are at an exciting time in your young lives, a time for you to be active participants in one of our most precious democratic rights, the right to a quality education. I encourage you to be an active leader in your learning journey and in your school. Join a club, sport, or student organization. Get involved because your voice matters! Make this year a great year!

Our staff is hard at work preparing our schools and classrooms for the new school year, and I am eager to see you all on August 29th!

Val Williams, Superintendent

Principal’s News Letter

posted Aug 21, 2016, 3:23 PM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Aug 21, 2016, 3:23 PM ]

Welcome back to for the 2016/17 School year.

We are all very excited to welcome your students back and look forward to continuing our efforts to get them exposed to exciting ideas and activities that will prepare them for the next phase of their educational journey. We have some staff changes that will result in some new faces around campus. We have new hires in the Math, Science and English departments as well as a new Culinary Arts teacher. We also have two new administrators on campus to replace the departure of Kevin Goines and Sabrina Greiten. We have hired Darren McNally to take over Alternative Education and Melisa Pfohl to take over Asst. Principal responsibilities. I am excited to shape a new administrative team that is responsive to the needs of all students.

As we prepare to open school, teachers are working diligently in their particular departments. Most notably, the Math department is launching the second phase of the CPM (College Prep Math) curriculum in all 10th grade math classes. They will also be working, in year two, to refine the quality of the CPM Math One course for incoming 9th graders. This curriculum captures the important elements of the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and is an exciting departure from the way math has traditionally be taught. Students often work in groups and share their thinking with their peers as they work together to solve a variety of real world math problems. This approach will be phased into the curriculum at 11th grade over the next year to complete the three-year implementation. Similarly, the Science department is working to incorporate Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into its curriculum. Like CPM in math, NGSS helps the students critically think about the course content, not just arrive at a right answer.

Beyond those specific initiatives, we are also working on some high-level goals that include a focus on the over-all 9th grade experience, culturally relevant teaching and learning, and elements of critical thinking in all courses.

In extra-curricular activities we have adults in place to ensure great, creative experiences for all kids. I’d like to emphasize how supportive the AHS community is of our students engaged in athletics, music, dance and art. It is a massive time commitment for the kids who participate and I know they appreciate when their family and friends turn out to cheer for them. Go Cougars!

I want to thank everybody who has made financial contributions to Albany High through the various fundraising portals. Many of the wonderful programs that our students benefit from would not be possible without the generous donations from Albany High families and the community at large. That obviously includes everybody who supported the June Bond Measures B &E. Your support is invaluable. We anticipate a good start and look forward to a productive first semester.

In closing, I want to encourage all parents and AHS staff to be as positive and supportive of our children as possible. A lot of agonizing events have occurred this summer since we sent the 2016 graduates out into the world. We will do our best at AHS to help students make sense of the presidential election and all the other current events that impact both their everyday life and worldview. Nevertheless, we need support from home to assure kids that a focus on their education is an important value that will support them in the long term.

Thanks again for all your support.

Jeff Anderson

Thank You

posted Jul 14, 2016, 7:38 AM by kgoines@ausdk12.org   [ updated Jul 14, 2016, 7:38 AM by AHS Webmaster ]

Although the news has already begun to spread, I wanted to let you all know that I have accepted a position with Oakland Unified School District. It has been an exciting and rewarding three years with you all.  I have learned so much from the students, parents, staff and community. I hope our time together made as great an impression on you as it has on me.  I will miss you.  I take all of my experiences here in Albany with me as I continue my journey as an educator.

Thank you,

Superintendent's Letter, Spring 2016

posted Jun 6, 2016, 8:25 PM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Jun 6, 2016, 8:25 PM ]

Albany Unified School District is proud of our many accomplishments. Our schools are among the highest performing in the state. We make it a priority to recruit, train, and retain highly qualified teachers that provide our students with a strong academic curriculum and innovative programs. We believe that investing in our students, leadership, and schools prepare all students for college and 21st century careers.

Stakeholder engagement is a priority within our district. The Board of Trustees solicited input from parents, staff, students, and community members as they conducted important conversations about facilities needs, priorities, and funding. This year, many special Board meetings and workstudy sessions were scheduled and highly publicized. We encouraged stakeholders to attend, listen, and engage in conversations at these important meetings. We also solicited input by sending a survey to Albany community stakeholders.

We listened to our community. You told us to place a high value on low class size, school safety, and modern learning environments. Improvements and upgrades to school facilities are needed to provide these desired modern flexible learning environments and to meet today’s seismic safety standards. To accomplish this, the Board of Trustees voted to place two bond measure (Measures B&E) on the June election ballot. The two bond measures will address safety and overcrowding within the schools. If Measures B & E receive the necessary voter approval to pass in the June election, we will appoint a bond oversight committee to ensure funds are used responsibly. For more information on Measures B&E, visit the AUSD website at www.ausdk12.org and click here to view this message on video.

We believe citizens should make themselves aware of the issues surrounding the bonds so that they can make an informed decision. It is important that Albany citizens register to vote in this upcoming election. Please visit www.acgov.org/rov for more information on how to register to vote.

I want to thank parents, staff, students, and community members for your strong support of our schools. I am proud to be your superintendent and proud to say that Albany is all about the students.


Val Williams, Superintendent
Albany Unified School District

Mid Year Principal’s Message — Winter 2016

posted Feb 1, 2016, 3:02 PM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Feb 2, 2016, 5:08 PM ]

I wanted to communicate with the Albany Educational Community at the mid-point in the 2015/16 school year. Half way through my first year as the principal of Albany High, I have come to appreciate some important things about the school and the people in it. Most importantly, the students are wonderful. Not only for their intelligence, creativity and sense of humor, but because they are a group of kind, courteous and empathetic people. In addition to the students, Albany is staffed with great teachers and support personnel. Having worked at five other high schools in my twenty-five years in education, I can say with confidence that this is one of the best collections of people it has been my pleasure to work with. From the custodians to the teachers and on through to the Superintendent and Board members, AUSD has assembled a superior team.

While things are functioning well, there are some things that we are engaged in that are causing some struggle and adjustment. There are three areas where we are pushing the envelope and asking more of our students and ourselves. Since the beginning of the year our teaching staff has embarked on an effort to give students opportunities to consider information and then make a critical claim about it and support their reasoning. This sequence we call “Claims, Evidence and Reasoning” has been integrated into daily instruction to the point where students hear the term they sigh, roll their eyes and prepare to think more critically than they have been expected to in the past.

This approach has played out most vividly in our new math sequence. Freshmen and teachers in Math 1 Math 1+ & Math 1/2 are grappling with a new approach to math instruction that expects students and teachers to dig deeper into math concepts in pursuit of deeper more long lasting student understanding. Candidly, it has been an adjustment for teachers, students and parents. But, moving into semester two teachers are seeing evidence of a more deeper understanding on the part of all students.

Along with math we are continually seeking ways to package courses to enable students to apply course content to real life situations. EDSET and Venture are two programs at Albany that have done a great job in this regard. Next year we hope to add beginning elements of a Bio/Med course sequence and a Physics/Engineering sequence. In both instances we hope to bundle courses we already offer in new ways to create themed pathways that give increased relevance to student learning.

In addition to increase relevance, we also hope to add increased efficiency in the way that students select their classes and make adjustments once their 2016/17 schedules are created. The intent is to accelerate the scheduling process so that we have more time with the students before they leave in June to iron out most conflicts. Further, the hope is that we can streamline the course change process to ensure that the opening of school is as smooth as possible.

Finally, I would like address a key issue in high school education today. That is the conflict between structure of the educational system and reality of what is needed in our current economy. Our current educational structure has set the primary goal as getting all students admitted to a four-year college. For students that fall short of this there is a sense of diminished accomplishment, if not failure. This one-dimensional definition of success leaves children behind and ignores that there a many ways to prepare students for success. This is not only detrimental to the individual children but ultimately to Albany, California and the United States of America.

I am grateful to be the principal at Albany High and am confident that working together we fashion a quality educational experience for all our students.

Jeff Anderson

Principal's Fall Newsletter

posted Oct 5, 2015, 10:47 AM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Oct 5, 2015, 10:47 AM ]

It is October and we are all still waiting for the rain. My first six weeks have been full of meeting new people and getting to know the rhythms and flows of Albany High. I want to again thank everybody for making me feel welcome and comfortable right from the start. It is clear that Albany is a special place that values and supports the education of its children.

The opening of school was relatively smooth with the inevitable glitches in a system that gets shocked with 1236 students pouring through the doors and down the hallways all at one time. However, we are committed to reviewing policies and procedures to ensure that next year is even better.

The results from the SBAC assessment are in and show that Albany High and the entire district are achieving at a very high level. You should be receiving the individual scores in the mail and the AUSD website has more information on the assessment results. Of course the important work is to look to where we can improve instruction so that students can perform to the best of their abilities on the state assessment. On a related topic, there will be no CAHSEE testing in October. The CAHSEE assessment was required for all students to graduate. All CAHSEE testing has been suspended while we wait for the Governor to sign a bill officially suspending the test for the State. We do not have direction yet as to how this will affect seniors who have not passed both the math and language arts portions of the test. Finally, in a break from past practice, the College Board has decided that the PSAT will be administered during the school day. The test will be administered at Albany High on October 14, 2015.

While large assessments are always news at schools these days, there are a number of other activities that provide vitality to the educational experience at Albany High. For instance, The McGregor students have been working on a mural outside of Albany High School near the gym. The students looked at Bridget Riley's Optical Illusion artwork from the 60's and Wallace Kandinsky's Circle Paintings from the 30's and used both these artists as inspirations for this mural. Each student contributed to the wild and twisted background and was responsible for a circle.

Currently in the classrooms, teachers are working diligently in their particular departments. Most notably, the Math Department is launching the CPM (College Prep Math) curriculum in all 9 th grade math classes. This curriculum captures the important elements of the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and is an exciting departure from the way math has traditionally be taught. Students often work in groups and share their thinking with their peers as they work together to solve a variety of real world math problems. This approach will be phased into the curriculum at 10th and 11th grades over the next two years. Similarly, the Science Department is working to incorporate Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into its curriculum. Like the CPM in math, NGSS helps the students critically think about the course content, not just arrive at a right answer.

In Athletics, the fall sports teams are off to a good start and I have been impressed how supportive the students and families are of our student athletes. It is a massive time commitment for the kids who play sports, and I know they appreciate it when their family and friends turn out to cheer for them. Go Cougars!

Finally, I want to thank everybody who has made financial contributions to Albany High through the various fundraising portals. Many of the wonderful programs that our students benefit from would not be possible without the generous donations from Albany High families and the community at large. We are off to a good start and look forward to a productive first semester.

Thanks again for all your support,
Jeff Anderson

Welcome From Our New Principal

posted Aug 12, 2015, 10:01 AM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Aug 12, 2015, 10:01 AM ]

It is with great anticipation and enthusiasm that I introduce myself as the next Principal at Albany High School. I will bring my experience and dedication so we can continue to provide the best educational experience possible to the students at Albany High School. The school is well known for its innovative approaches and commitment to the arts. I feel responsible to build on the established strengths of the school in the hope that our students look back on their four year experience with affection and satisfaction.

I come to Albany from Silicon Valley, but I began teaching Social Studies at Sonoma High School, in Sonoma, California. I then moved one wine region east and began my administrative career at Napa High School. From 2000 to 2005 I lived and worked in New York , both in Manhattan and Westchester County. One thing I have learned working on both coasts is that school colors and mascots may change, but the needs of the kids are the same. All students need a safe and caring school environment and a committed staff to help them maximize their potential. For the last ten years I have worked in the Los Gatos/Saratoga High School District; seven years as the Principal at Saratoga High School and the last three as an Assistant Superintendent at the District Office.

I am excited to come to Albany High as Principal because I know I will gain satisfaction from the energy generated by students, staff and parents doing wonderful things together. While I have a lot of experience managing innovation and change, I also know the virtue of patience and not forcing change for change’s sake. My initial goal will be to collaborate with students, staff and parents to confirm what is working well and determine where we can improve.

Some of my foundational beliefs about a successful high school, in no particular order, include:
  • Collaboration and reflection are good; isolation and reaction are not 
  • Common courtesy, mutual respect for diverse views and empathy are important 
  • A successful 9th grade year is very important 
  • Humor, fun and joy are essential 
I look forward to meeting all the members of the school community as rapidly as possible and getting prepared for a great 2015/16 school year. Together, I am certain we can keep the school moving forward to provide the quality educational environment our students need and deserve.

Jeff Anderson

Principal's Commencement Address

posted Jun 17, 2015, 2:08 PM by tbarone@ausdk12.org   [ updated Jun 17, 2015, 2:08 PM by AHS Webmaster ]

This is a transcript of the comments I made at the June 12 Commencement Exercises:

First of all, please allow me to take this opportunity to say what an honor and privilege it has been to serve as Principal of Albany High School since 2007. The graduates in front of me are a testament to the unwavering commitment by the entire community to the intellectual growth, artistic creativity and healthy development of its young citizens. I hope that I have helped make this program a little bit better than when I arrived.

Secondly, I want to address a rumor that this Class of 2015 has driven me to retirement just like they drove Principal Robin Davis to retire when they graduated from Albany Middle School 4 years ago. Well, that’s simply not true. The fact is that this group of graduates represents the pinnacle of our achievement as educators and both Ms. Davis and I wanted to go out on top.

As evidence of this claim, just look at who is sitting here. My goodness. There’s Marisol Castillo James who is just one of the smartest, most dedicated and giving young women I’ve ever met. Or Cassia Artanegara, Isaac Olivarez and Bianca Rico who have absolutely turned the Albany art world on its ear; and what about Leo Torrez – will it be Hollywood or Broadway? I’ll ask you for your autograph when you become a star; and, of course, Ya Davis and Jennifer Li who stood tall and demanded that our powerful young women be treated with the respect they deserve; and Lisa Illes who, as a freshman, won the national Technovation award; George Ibarra who never gave up and embodies “True Grit”; Nawang Chokyi who has shown us that hip hop and academic excellence can be expressed in the same sentence; Sophia Schneider who is the spiritual inspiration behind the “Green Team”; and Mr. Paul Oliveras who personally inspires me just by being the person he actually is. I could go on and on. This is a great class. I am proud to have shared these four years with you and now it’s time for us to move on.

In conclusion, treasure every day of your life and every person you meet. Take care of each other, the planet that sustains us, and the beauty within you. Congratulations to the Albany High School Class of 2015.

Albany High Honored as California Gold Ribbon School

posted May 21, 2015, 2:33 PM by tbarone@ausdk12.org   [ updated May 21, 2015, 2:33 PM by AHS Webmaster ]

On Friday, May 29, Albany High School will be honored by the State Superintendent of Instruction as a California Gold Ribbon School in a special ceremony in San Francisco. The Gold Ribbon Schools program has temporarily replaced the Distinguished Schools honor program and is designed to "recognize California schools that have made tremendous gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students, including English learners. " 

We are thrilled to have earned this honor, particularly because our application included a description of a model program that we think represents the outstanding work of our faculty and staff and helps make the school so wonderful - the Collaboratively Led Professional Development program that we have been developing the past several years.

I encourage you to read the attached narrative that describes some of the major changes we have encouraged over the past 7 or 8 years.  It's pretty exciting from an educator's perspective.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Ted Barone, Ed.D. - Principal

Valedictorian Redefinition - Approved by IIC

posted Apr 28, 2015, 9:44 AM by tbarone@ausdk12.org   [ updated Apr 28, 2015, 9:44 AM by AHS Webmaster ]

Valedictorian Award

Proposal to the Instructional Improvement Council - Approved

April 27, 2015

Purpose: The Valedictorian award is the top honor for a graduating senior at Albany High School. The honoree should exemplify the values, knowledge, and skills that we work so hard to develop as a school and community.

Procedure: The Valedictorian and Salutatorian Awards shall be determined according to the following criteria and procedures:

  • Only graduating seniors with a total high school GPA of 3.9 (un-weighted) as of the end of the Fall Semester of their senior year will be invited to apply for the award. Applications will be due within two weeks of the beginning of the 4th quarter. Applicants will be required to maintain the 3.9 GPA through the end of the Spring Semester. 
  • Applicants will prepare a resume that demonstrates outstanding achievement in at least two of the five following categories – 
    • Athletics 
    • The Arts 
    • Community Service 
    • Extra-curricular Academic Competitions (e.g. Model U.N., Mathletes, etc) 
    • Internships and other community &/or work-based learning experiences 
  • A panel of judges, comprised of two teachers, an administrator, a counselor, and graduating senior (non-applicant) will review the applications and select up to 10 finalists. Members of the panel will receive training in holistic scoring of the applications sign confidentiality agreements. 
  • Finalists will be expected to provide documentation as evidence of the experiences described in their resume. In addition, they will prepare a 3-5 minute draft of a graduation speech to be presented in front of the judges. 
  • The panelists’ top selection will be the Valedictorian. The second place student will be the Salutatorian. Both honorees will present speeches at the commencement ceremony. 
  • The new procedure will take effect with the Class of 2017 (current sophomores). 
  • A new award called “Summa Cum Laude” (With Highest Praise) will be initiated for the Class of 2016 to recognize all students who receive a 4.0 GPA (un-weighted) and above. In addition, another award called “Manga Cum Laude (With High Praise) will be initiated for students with a GPA (weighted) of 4.0. 
  • A rubric and scoring system for evaluating applications, evidence and speeches will be developed during the 2015-16 school year as will the procedure for determining who the members of the panel of judges are. The IIC will be responsible for follow-through on these two tasks.

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