Student Handbook
Academics

Middle School Academics

Course Requirements
Students in Middle School are provided challenging, developmentally appropriate academic courses in the following subject areas:
  • Math
  • English Language Arts
  • History
  • Science
  • Health
  • Art
  • Theatre
  • World Language
    • 5th grade - Spanish
    • 6th grade - Latin
    • 7th and 8th grade - choice of Spanish, Latin, or French
  • Physical Education
    • 5th and 6th grade - PE class
    • 7th and 8th grade - 3 seasons of interscholastic sports at the modified level
  • Computer Technology
  • Library
  • Music (band or chorus)

Academic Integrity
Academic integrity is a core value of The Albany Academies.  Students are expected to do their own work and to give proper credit to words or ideas that are not their own.  Middle School students are taught these skills. The academic penalties for plagiarism and cheating are severe and include a zero on the assignment. Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, paraphrasing another person's work, or submitting someone else’s work as your own.     

There are resources available at The Academies to support any student who is having difficulty managing his/her school work including a student’s advisor and the Center for Teaching and Learning.  A student can be his/her own best advocate by meeting with the teacher and openly discussing the level of challenge or ease with which he/she is handling that class’ homework.  Teachers will problem solve and work with a student to help him/her develop an effective approach to completing quality homework.  

Make-up Work
Faculty are responsible for having assignments posted to the website.  A student with an excused or unexcused absence is expected to make up missed work at the direction of the teacher.  It is the student’s responsibility to inform his/her teacher in advance of any planned absence and to arrange to make up work missed.  A student should keep his/her advisor apprised of any special circumstances related to absences.

Accommodations   
Formal academic accommodations may be granted only for a student with an active 504 plan or Individualized Educational Program (IEP) that has been reviewed and approved within the last three years.  Recommended accommodations are reviewed in order to determine which will be implemented.  Regardless of the existence of a 504 plan or IEP, not all accommodations are put into effect at The Academies.

Grading Policies
Grade Scale
Grades in the middle school are reported as letters on the following scale.

Letter Scale
Numerical Equivalent
 A+
97 – 100
A
93 – 96
A-
90 – 92
 B+
87 – 89
B
83 – 86
B-
80 – 82
 C+
77 – 79
C
73 – 76
C-
70 – 72
 D+
67 – 69
D
63 – 66
D-
60 – 62
F
Below 60

Effort Rubric
All students are expected to put forth their best efforts in their classes.  Participation, homework, organization and preparation are essential habits of academic success that are taught, practiced and supported at The Academies.   As part of each of the 6 interim reports and at the conclusion of each of the three terms,students are evaluated by their  teachers using the rubric for “Practices Promoting Academic Success.”  

Effort Rubric
1
2
3
4
CLASS PARTICIPATION

Student, with few exceptions, consistently asks relevant and thought-provoking questions and carefully listens to invites and builds upon the comments of peers.

Student usually engages in class, often asks relevant and thought-provoking questions and listens to and builds upon comments of peers.

Student occasionally engages in class, asks questions and contributes in a general way to discussion.

Student rarely engages in class and evinces minimal interest. Student needs reminders to stay involved and on task.
HOMEWORK
(OUT-OF-CLASS ASSIGNMENTS)

Student, with few exceptions, completes homework thoroughly by assigned deadlines.

Student usually completes homework thoroughly by assigned deadlines.

Student occasionally completes homework thoroughly by assigned deadlines.

Student rarely completes homework thoroughly and/or regularly does not meet assigned deadlines.
ORGANIZATION & PREPARATION FOR CLASS

Student, with few exceptions, has ready the proper materials for each classroom task.

Student usually has ready the proper materials for each classroom task.

Student occasionally has ready the proper materials for each classroom task.

Student rarely has ready the proper materials for each classroom task.

Honor Roll in Middle School (AAG)
The purpose of honor roll is to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of Middle School students.   The honor roll program has two distinctions:
  • Honor Roll - Acknowledges students earning a minimum grade of B+ or better in all courses
  • High Honor Roll - Acknowledges students earning a minimum grade of A- or better  in all courses

Academic Probation  
All students are expected to maintain the highest academic standing of which they are capable.  If a student earns term grades that include either one grade of F or two grades of D, he/she will be placed on academic probation for the following trimester.  In such an event, a student and his/her parents, the Division Director and advisor will meet to devise a plan to help the student improve his/her performance.  Extra-help sessions with teachers and/or peer tutors may be required.  The expectation for a student on academic probation is that he/she will make reasonable progress during the following marking period.  A second assignment to academic probation places the student’s re-enrollment for the following school year in jeopardy, regardless of whether a re-enrollment contract has already been issued.  

Final Assessments
Final assessments are comprehensive in scope and test mastery and synthesis of material covered in the course.  Assessments take on many forms including exams, projects, and papers.
Final Exams are weighted as follows:
Grade 7 & Form I Courses: 10% of yearlong grade
Grade 8 & Form II Courses:  10% of yearlong grade

Calculation of Final Grade
Trimester and final exams grades are reported in letter grades. Calculation of the final grade is based on the numerical grades earned and not the letter grades.




Assessment of Student Performance

Homework
The purpose of homework is to support and enhance the ongoing work of the classroom in a meaningful way.  Homework is an opportunity for the student to prepare for class, reinforce skills, explore further areas of interest, or create his or her own work that cannot be done within the constraints of the class periods.

The guidelines for Middle School homework can change depending on the project assignments in any core class, however the daily homework guidelines are as follows:
  • Grades 5 & 6 - 15 minutes per subject
  • Grade 7 & 8 - 20 minutes per subject

Tests
The purpose of tests is to provide a summative assessment of student learning.  Students are given  notice, adequate time, and appropriate tools to prepare for tests.  

Students in grades 7 and 8 will have final assessments that count for 10% of their course grade.  Final assessments are a form of summative assessment that are comprehensive of material learned in the course.  Assessments take on many forms including exams, projects, and papers.  The following courses will have these comprehensive final assessments: Math, English, History, Science, and World Language.

Quizzes
The purpose of quizzes is to provide a formative assessment of student learning in order to inform future instruction.  Quizzes provide teachers with information on student learning at short intervals and on specific content.  

Projects
Project-based learning is an essential component to coursework.  The purpose of projects is to provide students with independent, inquiry-based active learning opportunities.  Projects foster many 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, hands-on opportunities, problem solving, technology and creativity.

Labs
The purpose of Science lab activities is to provide students with hands-on and inquiry based activities.  Lab assignments often encompass many 21st century skills including collaboration, communication, use of technology, critical thinking, and written communication of results.

Standardized Testing
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), a standardized test developed by the Northwest Education Association, will be given to 5th through 8th grade at least twice during the school year.  The MAP test will allow us to compare against norms, measure individual progress and growth, and inform future instruction.  MAP will be given for mathematics and English Language Arts.

More information on this comprehensive testing program can be found at www.nwea.org/assessments/map/



Grading Calendar 16 - 17 School Year
Fall Term
Fall Interim 19/29/2016
Fall Interim 210/27/2016
Fall Term12/2/2016

Winter Term
Winter Interim 11/6/2017
Winter Interim 22/3/2017
Winter Term2/24/2017

Spring Term
Spring Interim 13/17/2017
Spring Interim 24/28/2017
Spring Term & Year End6/6/2017

Final Assessments
05/31/2017 - 06/02/2017
 
Grade Reporting at End of Terms
At the end of each term, each student receives a letter grade of academic achievement and effort marks based on the rubric for “Practices Promoting Academic Success”.  Student grade reports are available on MyAcademy according to the “Grading Calendar” above.    
If a student earns a term grade of C- or below and/or the effort rubric indicates a need for improvement, an email will be sent directly to the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).  

For year-end reporting, in addition to what is stated above, an email will go to parents for a
Final Assessment grade of D+, D, D-, or F.

Interim Reports
Each student receives a letter grade of academic achievement and effort marks based on the Effort Rubric.  Student grade reports are available on MyAcademy according to the “Grading Calendar” above.  This gives families an opportunity to identify areas of strength as well as opportunities for growth.

If on an interim report a student earns an achievement grade of C- or below and/or a student’s practices promoting academic success need improvement, an email is sent to the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s), advisor, and the Division Director.


Advisor Comments
Approximately two weeks following the end of fall and winter terms, advisors write narrative reports.  Advisors meet with each advisees teachers prior to writing their comments to synthesize the information into summary “snapshots” of their advisees.

ParentConferences
Middle school parent conferences are held once per year, in November. Conferences are between parents, advisor, and student.  Parents, advisors, or teachers can initiate a conference at any time.

Library
The school libraries of The Albany Academies are available for use by all students. Both participate in the Capital Region BOCES school library system, which allows for inter-library loans within the Capital Region.

Library Rules
  • The Library is a classroom and resource center and should be used for academic activities
  • Students should maintain an atmosphere of discovery.
  • Books may be signed out for two weeks and may be renewed unless it is in great demand.
  • Families are liable for lost books and are charged a replacement and processing fee ranging from $5 to $50.

The Albany Academies

The Albany Academy: 135 Academy Road - Albany, NY 12208
518.429.2300  Fax: 518.427.7016 

Albany Academy for Girls: 140 Academy Road - Albany, NY 12208
518.429.2300  Fax: 518.463.5096

Schellenberger Alumni/ae Center: 93 Academy Road - Albany, NY 12208
518.429.2414 Fax: 518.429.2380

Our Mission

Who We Are: The Albany Academies—The Albany Academy and Albany Academy for Girls—develop capable and confident students through single-gender education in the Lower and Middle School, and through coordinate education in the Upper School.

What We Do: Employing individualized and positive education, The Albany Academies provide students with the knowledge, skills, and character needed for leadership and success in the creative, entrepreneurial century that lies ahead.