About

Letter from the Head of School

Survey Says?

The first of a series of letters that will present the results of last year’s Head’s Entry Survey.


Dear Friends,

You may recall that an online Head’s Entry Survey was sent out last May in anticipation of the head of school transition. It asked the following questions:
  1. Please indicate which constituency you represent. If you represent multiple constituencies, please select all that apply.
  2. In your opinion, what are the traits and characteristics of the ideal Albany Academies student?
  3. If you have a child who attends or attended The Albany Academies, why did you choose The Albany Academy and/or Albany Academy for Girls? If you attend or attended the Academies, why did you or your family choose the School? If you are an employee of the Academies, why do you choose to work at the School?
  4. How do you think The Albany Academies are perceived in the local school market? How are the Academies different than the other available options? What does the School do better than any other school?
  5. What is THE most important issue facing The Albany Academies today? How does it impact the School?
  6. What is the SECOND most important issue facing The Albany Academies today? How does it impact the School?
  7. What is the THIRD most important issue facing The Albany Academies today? How does it impact the School?
  8. What MUST NEVER change about the School?
  9. What COULD change about the School?
  10. What SHOULD change about the School?
  11. Are there continuous issues that the Academies are perpetually addressing? Why do you think these are continuing issues?
758 constituents responded to the survey, and the information they provided has informed me, the School’s Leadership Team, and the Board of Trustees about our community’s perceptions of The Albany Academies’ strengths and opportunities for improvement.
This is the first of a series of letters that will present a digest of these survey results. You will likely notice that there is no accompanying commentary about what these results might mean. This is deliberate, because this work is being done collectively and collaboratively in the Academies’ various standing committees and ad hoc work groups, particularly the Strategic Plan Committee described in last month’s Head’s Letter.
That said, I invite your comments and observations about these data should you be so moved, and can best be reached via email at LauricellaC@albanyacademies.org.


Sincerely,
 
Chris

 
Question #1: Please indicate which constituency you represent. If you represent multiple constituencies, please select all that apply.
 
Current Upper School Students at AAG
86
11%
Current Upper School Students at AA
88
12%
Current Middle School Students at AAG
56
7%
Current Middle School Students at AA
78
10%
Current Parent of AAG Student
103
14%
Current Parent of AA Student
90
12%
Past Parent of AAG
50
7%
Past Parent of AA
59
8%
Alumnus of AA
132
17%
Alumna of AAG
124
16%
Faculty AAG
35
5%
Faculty AA
36
5%
Staff
17
2%
Trustee
14
2%
Member of Board of Overseers
7
1%
Other
34
4%
 
Question #2: In your opinion, what are the traits and characteristics of the ideal Albany Academies student?
 
Diligent
179
10%
Curious
166
9%
Involved
158
9%
Motivated
148
8%
Integrity
137
8%
Intelligent
134
7%
Respectful
118
6%
Compassionate
84
5%
Kind
81
4%
Well-Rounded
77
4%
Leader
73
4%
Honest
71
4%
Confident
65
4%
Polite
52
3%
Disciplined
44
2%
Responsible
43
2%
Open-Minded
41
2%
Athletic
24
1%
Inclusive
21
1%
Passionate
15
1%
Creative
14
1%
 
Representative Responses for top five themes:
 
Diligent: “Very hard-working, driven students who aren't afraid to ask questions.”
 
Curious: “This is a tough question because the Academy has changed so much since I was there. I'm not sure how to answer this beyond an eagerness to learn...”
 
Involved: “The ideal Albany Academies students takes advantage of the programs that their school provides. It can be easy to take this school's resources for granted, especially for students who have never attended a public school. The ideal student takes advantages of the advanced classes Academy offers, participates in extra curriculars and sports, and utilizes the support system (the advisors and teachers willing to provide extra help).”
 
Motivated: “The traits start with a motivated student who wants to be part of a culture that lets them succeed.”
 
Integrity: “As a faculty member working with the boys in Lower and Middle School, I think the ideal student is one who really understands and embraces the Core Values of the Academies. These traits seem to develop and flourish within them as they grow, and they become more successful and happier students in the long run.”
 
QUESTION #3: If you have a child who attends or attended The Albany Academies, why did you choose The Albany Academy and/or Albany Academy for Girls? If you attend or attended the Academies, why did you or your family choose the School? If you are an employee of the Academies, why do you choose to work at the School?
 
Academic Excellence/Challenging Curriculum
257
22%
Small Class Size/Individual Attention
164
14%
Supportive Community
121
10%
Many Opportunities/Produces Well-Rounded Students
101
9%
Prestigious Reputation
98
8%
Competitive Athletics
59
5%
Single Gender/Blend
58
5%
Legacy Family
54
5%
College Preparation/Placement
49
4%
Exceptional Faculty
46
4%
Location 
43
4%
Maintains High Standards/Expectations
34
3%
Recommended by other
24
2%
Leadership Training
18
2%
Academic Freedom (Faculty)
17
1%
Traditions/History
15
1%
Arts
10
1%
Character
7
1%
Representative responses for top five themes
 
Academic Excellence/Challenging Curriculum: “I chose the school because I was in fourth grade, and I loved art and sports. I really needed to have those things at school. My old school was also not academically challenging, and I was literally helping to teach the students which caused my parents to really want to pull me out of that school.”
 
Small Class Size/Individual Attention: “We chose the Academies for our children largely because of the small sized classes and the chance for a personal connection with the teachers.”
 
Community: “AAG is a wonderful community. My daughters think of the school as home, and of their peers and teachers as family. It's been my very good fortune to teach in several excellent schools, but I've never encountered colleagues as uniformly talented, smart and funny as mine here at Academy.”
 
Many Opportunities/Produces Well-Rounded Students: “As an alumnus, I feel indebted to the Academies for shaping me into who I am today. I appreciate the school for the curricular and extracurricular opportunities that were presented to me, something I aim to provide for students today.”
 
Prestigious Reputation: “We selected AAG for our daughter because its reputation for academics far exceeded other private and public schools in our area.”
 
QUESTION #4 How do you think The Albany Academies are perceived in the local school market? How are the Academies different than the other available options? What does the School do better than any other school?
 
Misperceived as Elitist/Entitled
160
14%
Small Class Size/Individual Attention
143
12%
Academic Excellence
87
7%
Single Gender/Blend
83
7%
Opportunities/Well-Rounded Students
83
7%
Community
69
6%
High Expectations/Standards
63
5%
College Preparation/Placement
61
5%
Athletics
55
5%
Expensive
45
4%
Prestigious Reputation
43
4%
Top of Market
35
3%
Excellent Teachers
32
3%
Tradition/History
19
2%
Character/Values
15
1%
Leadership
7
1%
Resources
7
1%
 
Representative responses for top five themes
 
Misperceived as Elitist/Entitled: “We were worried that the perception of AA as a bunch of self-entitled rich kids would stop us from truly loving it, but we have found that this is not the case at all. We have found parents that truly care and are involved and teachers who really know and get our son and are sparking leadership and intellectual qualities in him we don't think would have been developed in our public school.”
 
Small Class Size/Individual Attention: “The Academies give you the special bonding to teachers to help make your learning experience better so that you feel comfortable asking for help. It's also a smaller community of kids and students that you know you can count on.”
 
Academic Excellence: “I think its perceived as a great academic school with a rich tradition of culture in the arts, sciences and athletics. I think it better prepares students for success in college. I know that both of my kids who are in college (one just graduated) felt better prepared than their classmates.”
 
Single Gender/Blend: “I think the schools are highly regarded. We like single gender education, but also believe the ‘blend at the end’ really prepares the students for college.”
 
Opportunities/Well-Rounded Students: “It’s the gold standard. The Academies produces well-rounded people unlike any other school.”
 
In Next Month’s Letter:
 
QUESTION #5 What is THE most important issue facing The Albany Academies today? How does it impact the School?
QUESTION #6 What is the SECOND most important issue facing The Albany Academies today? How does it impact the School?
QUESTION #7 What is the THIRD most important issue facing The Albany Academies today? How does it impact the School?

Sincerely,


Christopher J. Lauricella, Ed. M.
Head of School
This letter anticipates some of the questions you may have about the strategic planning process.
    • Introducing Head of School Chris Lauricella


List of 1 items.

  • Transition Committee

    Chris Bender '78, P'15, '20, Co-Chair of Transition Committee
    Eileen Considine P’08, Trustee, Co-Chair of Transition Committee
    Jennifer Amstutz P’19, ’21, Trustee
    Dave Ashton P’17, ’21, ’21
    Nancy Carey Cassidy P’13, ’15, Trustee
    Tom Cassidy P’13, ’15
    Adam Collett P’32
    Karin Epstein P’18, ’21
    Anna Flik P’18, ’20, ’23, ’26
    James Hart P’09, ’10, ’13
    John Hayes ’87, P’16, ’18, Trustee
    Donna Keegan P’06, ’10
    Robert LuPone P’24
    Sandra Miorin P’10, ’12
    Wendy Muhlfelder ’67, P’94, ’98, ’99, ’00
    Timothy Owens ’83, P’15, ’19
    William B. Picotte ’67, P’01, ‘04
    Jim Poole ’68, P’02, ’14
    Shelly Reid P’12, ’23
    Susan Sneeringer '72, P’01, ’04, ‘08
    Kaari Stannard P’20, ’23, Trustee
    Ann Wendth
    Vince Zabinski P’99, ’03, ’04, ’04

The Albany Academy

Albany Academy for Girls

Schellenberger Alumni/ae Center