Start with Hello Week at AHS aims to improve social wellness

By Emari Jorden and Ezri Mayeri

Students and staff organized the second annual Start with Hello Week event at Albany High School. The national week is designed to address social isolation in schools after a group of concerned parents tried to find solutions that would prevent school violence.

“Start with Hello Week was started by the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation. It is a non-profit run by families who have been impacted by school violence,” said social studies teacher Mariflorence Hudson, who organized the week at AHS. “However, Start with Hello week is about building a sense of community in schools and decreasing social isolation. It hopes that the activities in this one week can lead to friendships.”

At Albany High, Start with Hello Week encouraged students to start conversations and build comradery in the student body. Some of the daily events prompted students to say hello, give compliments, and hang out with new people at lunch. On Friday, students and staff wore green to promote awareness of social isolation.

Ms. Hudson saw the week as an opportunity to create a sense of community.

“I think it has a positive impact,” Ms. Hudson said. “I think we all get busy in our own lives and forget to look around and see who might benefit from some attention. Or we even fail to notice someone that we would be friends with but just haven't had an opportunity to talk with before.”

The week ended with a welcome lunch for students transitioning into a new school community at Albany. Ms. Hudson and English teacher Hannah Edber organized a lunch for new students at AHS.

“The atmosphere at the new student luncheon was very upbeat,” Ms. Hudson said. “We had almost 50 kids attend. They did seem eager to get to know each other. It was a fun time, and I would definitely want to do this again in the future.”

Organizing and publicizing Start With Hello week was difficult because this is only the second year for the event. Ms. Hudson emphasized changes for next year in order for it to be more effective.

“I really think we need more publicity and organization. It is tough because it is new to Albany High and it comes at the beginning of the year, but I do think we have the heart and the willingness to make it bigger and better.”

Intro to Cougar Bites

Hello Albany!

We are the Albany High School journalism class, a group of motivated students who are dedicated to uncovering the truth and delivering it to our community.

We’ve been quiet on Cougar Bites recently, but we have worked hard over the past few years studying professional techniques and learning to see our community through the eyes of journalists.

Now we’re ready to share credible, quality journalism with the Albany community.

We will focus on all aspects of news, from STEM to sports, arts to administration, clubs to class projects. We will report on current events relevant to student life, summarizing key information that will keep you up-to-date.

Over the next week, we will share some of our work from the first quarter. We are currently developing a schedule for more timely news coverage in the future and writing articles for a new online publication, coming soon.

In the meantime, come to Cougar Bites for quick, real news about Albany.

Join Familias Latinas de Albany at Music in the Park

Come dance with us! Familias Latinas de Albany will be at Music in the Park on September 25th for the final performance of the year, featuring La Misa Negra’s Heavyweight Cumbia and high-energy, Afro-Latin music. We’ll have information about our plans for the 2019-2020 school year, as we look forward to sharing our heritage and culture with our neighbors in Albany.

Bone Marrow Drive for a Kindergarten Student at Marin

One of our new Kindergarteners at Marin was recently diagnosed with Peripheral T cell lymphoma.

Savian started the school year off with us and seemed perfectly healthy. A stubborn cough ended up being cancer. As you can imagine his family is completely shocked and devastated. He just started chemotherapy, and will need a bone marrow transplant to increase his odds of survival.

His mom is organizing a bone marrow drive and needs EVERYONE to participate. The drive will be on Saturday, September 21st from Noon-3:00. Location is Marin Elementary School (1001 Santa Fe Ave., Albany).

This is a easy process that only requires a painless cheek swab. Ideally potential donors would be under 44 years old however, after speaking with the representative we are asking for everyone between 18-65 to participate. The organization that finds bone marrow matches is “”; this is an expedited process that will be focused solely on finding a match for Savian. You can also order a kit from the above site, if you can not make it to the drive. But this drive will focus only on him and will be much faster and time is of the essence. We are a small loving community and this family needs us. We help each other when needed and remember this could be any one of our children. You literally could save his life. Please come to the drive, help spread the word and recruit candidates.

Thank you!

Student representative needed for Albany's Climate Action Committee

Please see below for notice of student member vacancy for the Climate Action Committee.

Application is here:


Student Member

The student member has a great opportunity to engage in environmental issues on the local level and make a real-world impact. They’ll have a chance to learn about environmental policy and be part of the process of making our City a more sustainable place. In particular, they’ll have the opportunity to engage on climate change issues by helping to develop and implement the City’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. Experience in the political process is not necessary; the Student Member has the opportunity to learn about local politics by being a part of this Committee. Confidence and public speaking skills are highly desired, but the most important characteristic is a strong interest in environmental issues.

Committee Purpose

The Climate Action Committee serves as a technical advisory committee regarding matters related to climate action and to advise council on matters related to reducing greenhouse gasses; and adapting to climate change.

Committee Composition

The Committee is composed of seven members, each one is appointed by Council members. There is one at-large appointment and one youth member appointed by the Albany Unified School District Board. The term runs until the next Municipal election (every 2 years). The School District appointment shall preferably be a Junior and the term shall be for two years.


Third Wednesday of each Month, 7:30pm (meetings usually last 2-3 hours)
City Hall – Council Chambers
1000 San Pablo Avenue
Albany, CA 94706

Student Member Appointment Guidelines

The Climate Action Committee is an active group, taking a leading role in drafting policy recommendations for City Council. As such, Committee members are engaged in a number of projects and work closely with the community. The following lists some of the skills that should be considered when selecting a student appointee:

  • Advanced communication skills

  • Some leadership experience

  • Involvement in a community service organization or club

  • An understanding of environmental terms and issues and/or a desire to learn them

  • An interest in climate change/politics/municipal workings

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA

  • Currently enrolled in/taken/planning to take AP environmental science

  • Willingness to reach out to the student body and Albany schools

  • Time to research agenda issues

Duties of Student Member

  • Attend monthly evening meetings

  • Prepare for monthly meetings by reading agenda materials

  • Engage in one additional subcommittee meeting per month

  • Estimated time commitment: 6-8 hours/month

Author Gabby Rivera Coming to AHS

gabby rivera tour.jpg

Next Friday (9/20 during 6th period), we're going to have a dynamic author visit AHS. Gabby Rivera is a dynamic speaker who will talk about race, identity and speaking your truth. Her new book Juliet Takes a Breath is fantastic! She’s also the author of two comic books, America Chavez, that blend superhero stories with the power of taking action.

Hear a little from her in these two videos:

Gabby's coming next Friday (9/20) during 6th period. All students are invited, but they need to sign up for the in-school field trip here: Attendance will be taken. Books will be for sale on Friday.

AUSD Now Using Granicus for Improved Communication of Board of Education Meetings

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Albany Unified School District will be using Granicus to post Board of Education meeting agendas and to display the meeting videos. This is the same system that has been used by the City of Albany for several years and has multiple advantages over a single text file and a single video stream. Granicus granulates the agenda into item-by-item units. You can click through the agenda directly to items of interest and view or print only those pages. The advantages are huge for video--instead of having to guess where in an hours-long video the item you are following was discussed, a single click brings you to the video of the discussion of the item. It is still possible to flow the video in its entirety for dedicated school board fans.

Please check out the School Board Meeting Information website for the following:

  • Schedule of Meetings (as approved by the Board in May 2019)

  • Upcoming Events (meetings are arranged by date with the most recent at the top)

  • Available Archives, which include the published agenda packets, minutes, and videos. Click Video to listen to the meeting and view agenda documents, or Agenda or Minutes to see just the documents. *Special meetings are not recorded.

  • Search Archives box to search our archives by keyword

Agendas are always posted on the AUSD website under the School Board Meeting Information page, as well as on the District Events Calendar at least 72 hours in advance of a Regular meeting and 24 hours for Special Meetings (per the Brown Act). We will continue to send out email announcements about upcoming regular meetings.

You may find the September 10, 2019 Board Meeting Agenda packet online now!

Albany Unified is pleased to provide an easier and more robust platform for keeping all community members informed and involved with the Board of Education.

Volunteers Needed at the AHS Library


The Albany High Library is a great resource for students at school and at home. Our librarian, Ms. Scheuer, is creating a welcoming, supportive space for all students. At the moment, we have reduced hours because we are understaffed. Once our new library assistant begins, we will be open every day before school, during lunch and after school. Students use the library to study, use a computer, check out a book, or just chill. Students may eat in the library, as long as they’re respectful and responsible.

We need help in the library at lunchtime! Are you available once a week during AHS lunch to volunteer in the library (1-2 on M-W-F, or 12-1 on W-F)? You’ll greet students and be a smiling face as they eat lunch, visit with friends and do homework. Please email Ms. Scheuer if you can help out: