The Upper School program at The Albany Academy provides the "best of both worlds" in order to prepare our young men for college and beyond.
A rigorous curriculum and stellar faculty help Academy students become critical, creative and independent thinkers. Students and teachers enjoy a dynamic relationship that is warm and respectful. Academy students are well-known and respected by their teachers and peers as individuals.
Whether it is participation in an academic competition, a community service project, team sport, an art show, a theater production or the individualized projects that students do as part of a class, students at the Academy are consistently called upon to "stand and deliver" and take responsibility for a team or individual effort. This brings students along as confident people who are comfortable with leadership and responsibility.
The Upper School English curriculum equips students with strong reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Students learn to appreciate and analyze literature through close study of diverse genres and writers. Careful attention is paid to the writing and revision process in narrative, expository, and argumentative assignments alike. Students engage in meaningful discussions and debates, and they practice public speaking as a means of self-expression, clear communication, and powerful persuasion.
The English Department conducts three annual school-wide competitions. All students participate in the Shakespeare monologue competition and the Declamations competition. Students are also afforded the opportunity to submit both creative and academic writing to the annual Bender Excellence in Writing Competition.
The History Department of the Albany Academies seeks to have students be independent and thoughtful learners through exposure to a variety of historical perspectives and an emphasis on critical thinking skills. This is accomplished through a diversity of courses and teaching styles that expose students to a wider world in which they can be thoughtful and engaged citizens. Each course seeks to have students gain knowledge of past events, understand the context in which they occurred, see similarities and differences across cultures and time periods, and understand how these events are connected to the present day. Across all courses, whether it be through examination of primary and secondary texts, class discussions, oral presentations, individual and group projects, or narrative and expository writing, students are asked to comprehend and analyze evidence, evaluate points of view, and formulate their own arguments. With this knowledge and skillset, students will be prepared to think critically and communicate clearly in college and beyond.
Upper School students are required to complete two years of World History and an additional year of United States History. Juniors and seniors have the option, with departmental recommendation, to enroll in AP-level courses in United States History, U.S. Government, Comparative Government, and Microeconomics. The History faculty also offers elective courses such as United States Social and Cultural History, Decisions in Leadership, Propaganda in Art and History, History and Film, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Psychology and Economics, among others.
The mathematical experience at The Albany Academies provides the lens for students to raise their appreciation of the language's ability to significantly transform our world, to become robust problem solvers who can communicate their investigations, and, through mastery of math's internal processes, to instill the confidence to pursue quantitatively rigorous majors in college that elicit their passion.
The learning of mathematics is centered on the integration of visual, oral and symbolic tasks to fully develop the depth and breadth of a student’s cognitive abilities. The interactive classroom maximizes focused engagement through cooperative and meta-cognitive learning. Unique problem investigations into the applications of the language to science, the arts, business and the home enable the student to synthesize seemingly diverse concepts. Transference of concepts within a student’s understanding is bolstered by technology, promoting horizontal and vertical extensions heretofore unreachable.
The Upper School Math program has several levels -- comprehensive to accelerate -- that allow students to establish a pace commensurate with their current abilities and knowledge. However, universal is the objective of an intensive experience culminating in mastering the fundamentals of math through Calculus. The daily commitment of teachers to provide the structure for success enables student to embrace the wisdom of Aesop: "achievement belongs not to the swiftest but the persistent."
The focus of the Upper School program is threefold: to increase student awareness of the physical and biological relationships that infuse their lives, to prepare a scientifically and technologically literate student to solve problems in the real world, and to provide a program of significant course-work for students who wish to pursue the study of sciences at the college level.
Science courses at The Academies provide unique opportunities for students to develop skills of critical observation, logical thinking and clear communication. These courses continually expand students' knowledge and skills as they progress through the curriculum. All of our courses are built around investigative lab activities that allow students to have real-world and hands-on experiences necessary for authentic interactions with the laws, theories, and relationships in the natural world.. The Science Department makes use of the latest technology with fully equipped classrooms and laboratory spaces.
Our belief is that the best preparation for college is a program of study that includes course work in each of the basic sciences: biology, chemistry and physics. Students who plan to pursue sciences or science-related fields in college are encouraged to take advanced electives and AP courses as well.
Classes in French, Spanish and Chinese are structured to develop proficiency in all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. At the beginning levels, emphasis is placed on the acquisition of vocabulary, the fundamentals of grammar, and the development of cultural awareness, sensitivity, and appreciation. At the advanced levels, the goal shifts to the refinement of the four communicative skills. With the introduction to a variety of literary works. Upon successful completion of the required sequence of courses, students will be able to communicate effectively with linguistic and cultural accuracy.
Classes are conducted in the target language and focus on communicative abilities and culturally authentic material. Extensive use of audio-visual materials and computer technology strengthens the language skills and provides immersion experiences.
In the study of Latin, students become involved firsthand with the Classics in their original language by acquiring the ability to read standard authors with competence and appreciation. Students develop an understanding of the social and political history of the ancient Greeks and Romans together with related topics in Greco-Roman mythology, religion and literature.
The Upper School Arts program at The Albany Academies offers instruction in visual art, vocal music, instrumental music, dance and theatre. Student empowerment is the key to the success of the program. The goal is to help students, working individually and in groups, to realize their artistic potential.
Students are given numerous opportunities to perform and to exhibit their art work. They are encouraged to view their participation in classes, rehearsals, public art exhibitions and performances as outgrowths of the classroom experience, as points in the learning process. Two main stage theatrical productions are held each year in addition to winter and spring orchestral and choir concerts and the annual Wassail dance and Choral performance (for AAG students).
While students in the Upper School are encouraged to continue to pursue a wide variety of artistic interests, many students choose to focus on one art area. These dancers, actors, musicians, singers and visual artists enroll in more challenging coursework, and present their work before discerning Upper School audiences.
The Upper School offers core courses in Webpage Design and AP Computer Programming. While these courses offer students the opportunity to build sophisticated computer programming skills, the philosophy of the Academy is not to teach technology solely for technology's sake.
Tools and applications are used across the curriculum as a backbone for multidisciplinary learning initiatives. Students have the opportunity to display their knowledge of literature, history, mathematics and science by linking these subjects in creative technology-supported projects that become teaching tools unto themselves.
As the skills built in the Lower & Middle Schools blossom in the Upper School, students will be tasked with pushing their digital wizardry to new levels. An emphasis is placed upon creating distinguished Upper School work, not with software flash and tricks, but rather through a thoughtful and purposeful use of the Design Process where the correct tools are used to create projects that weave solid academic work into powerful displays of cross-curricular knowledge.
Stay tuned to the Academy technology program. The students are mere mouse clicks and web spaces away from teaching all of us!
The Albany Academies provide a comprehensive physical education program for students in Grades 9-12/Forms III-VI. The Physical Education program provides students with basic to advanced principles that will enable them to take part in and enjoy a lifetime of sports and activities. This combined with fitness skills developing strength, flexibility, power, coordination and speed promotes a lifelong awareness of health and positive body image.
Physical Education in the Upper School is a four-year graduation requirement that seeks to promote the understanding and value of the importance of a healthy and well-conditioned body and mind throughout one's life. This is done by introducing a variety of lifetime sports and activities that are challenging but fun. Discussions concerning goal setting, fitness, body image, and emotional and physical health are a part of the program.
Athletics in the Upper School strive to promote the challenge and discipline needed to compete at an advanced level. Students who participate in athletics can truly learn to prepare, perform, commit and balance many demands that they face in their daily lives. In addition to developing a high degree of skill and fitness, students gain essential social and emotional qualities such as confidence, self respect and perseverance.
Academy students have access to an unmatched array of athletic facilities, including an indoor suspended track; two international squash courts; four gymnasiums; two fully equipped weight rooms; an aerobics room; an indoor swimming pool; indoor ice rink; six tennis courts; an all-weather 400-meter track; and acres of athletic fields.
The Social Science advanced placement courses complement the objectives of the history department by analyzing the praxis defining human existence. Students become explicitly aware of their participation in the internal and external structures that have developed through centuries of cultural and physical evolution. The practical affairs of daily life are investigated holistically, nurturing a world perspective through an understanding of the rational, emotional, and sensual faculties of the human psyche. Children of philosophy, the social sciences explore the use of analytical tools and inferential processes, their power and limitations, in explaining outcomes for interpersonal milieus. Immediately apparent to the students is the intimate relation of the curriculum to their experiences. Providing fertile fields for the student to apply the store of language skills they have accumulated, the courses often engage in a self-reflective methodology that matures their quest for meaning.