October 15, 2021
We would like to provide you with an update on our efforts to support our students, faculty and staff at Albany High School as we continue to meet the challenges of rebuilding a full academic program in person 19 months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership of our families and community members has been invaluable and deeply appreciated as we work together to reduce inappropriate student behavior during the school day, during layoffs and in the community.
However, as we all know and experience, the disruption COVID-19 has caused in our daily lives continues to be unprecedented. It has impacted everyone in one way or another, and in many cases our young people especially.
At Albany High, Principal Jodi Commerford and her entire team of administrators, faculty and staff are committed to providing the socio-emotional and mental health supports needed during times of high stress, uncertainty and loss. This is also true throughout the Albany City School District.
Principal Commerford and her team are also committed to ensuring that we address inappropriate student behavior through our code of conduct process. This aims to ensure responsibility and accountability, while helping our young people develop the skills and attitudes they need to be productive and successful as they grow up.
The strategies and partnerships that Principal Commerford and her team have put in place at Albany High include the following.
- Every teacher at Albany High has been trained as a national restorative practice educator. This 10-hour training is designed to help teachers build relationships and community in the classroom as a preventative measure to proactively resolve issues before they escalate into conflict.
- All teachers also received initial training in a socio-emotional learning program from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. This program builds on more than 20 years of research on how to teach adults and students to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate their emotions. This training will be continuous.
- We provided evidence-based training and research on prevention strategies to all members of the student support team. We will also roll out these strategies to all secondary teachers during a joint planning period throughout the year.
- All members of the student support team are trained in the following areas:
- Behavior support plans
- Check-in / Check-out – This is support for students who have a specific adult in the building to check in with in the morning and to check in with before leaving school for the day
- Socio-Academic Intervention Groups (SAIG) – Led by our school social workers, these groups allow students with similar needs to come together for additional socio-emotional and academic support.
Albany High has also implemented the following daily practices to help manage student behaviors. Some of these practices are old and some are new; all are designed to work together to help our students readjust to the expectations of being in school all day, every day – something many had not experienced from March 13, 2020 until the start of the school year. school year 2021-22 last month.
- Administrators, teachers and support staff maintain a proactive presence in classroom hallways and doors during class changes
- Adjust the flow of student travel to help improve student management
- Frequently identify students in the hallways during lessons and coordinate follow-up via the academy’s management teams
- Reduce access to areas of the building where students congregate
- Use the building security system to focus on areas where monitors are not regularly present to help early identification of potential problems, as well as identify students responsible for inappropriate behavior
- Partnership with our teachers union for additional supervision during lunch periods
- Provide administrative support at the district level during dismissal
- Partnership with Albany Police Department, Patrolling Pastors and SNUG to assist with dismissal
- Overtime for room monitors to support arrival and dismissal
- Incentives for positive student behavior
- Continuous review of student expectations and consequences (Falcon 101)
- Restorative practices and mediation, where applicable
- Home visits and family awareness
- Newly hired room monitors and security staff start next week
- Continued efforts to fill vacant teaching and support staff positions
- Ongoing evaluation of additional strategies to improve student behavior, including the potential for staggered leave hours
Improving the culture and climate at Albany High as we move forward during the pandemic is a daily priority. Our administrators, teachers and staff work hard to provide an excellent and safe learning environment for our entire school community.
We appreciate all of your efforts to strengthen these priorities at home and in the community. We are committed to continuing to work with all of our partners – to remain “All in for Albany! – to get through these difficult times.
Thank you for your continued support.
Yours in education,
Kaweeda G. Adams
This press release was produced by Albany City School District. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.