Student Handbook

Upper School Academics

Graduation Requirements
To graduate from The Albany Academies a student is required to earn a minimum of twenty-eight credits including a minimum of seven credits during his/her final year. Each year-long course or equivalent constitutes one credit.  Credits earned in Middle School are not counted toward the required minimums, nor can they be used to fulfill distribution requirements. A student must be enrolled in at least five courses each term. There are three terms (trimesters) per year.

Upper School Distribution Requirements
English 4 credits
History 3 credits (must include 2 credits of World History and 1 credit of United
States History)
Mathematics 3 credits, through Algebra/Trigonometry
Science 3 credits (must include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics)
World Language 3 credits or through level 3 in one language
Art 1 credit
Health ½ credit
Leadership 1 credit per year
May Project 1 credit, senior year
Physical Education 1 credit per year

Under certain circumstances, a student may petition the school in writing for a waiver of these requirements. If a waiver is granted, the student’s petition and a written explanation of the waiver will be placed in the student’s permanent file. Waivers for graduation requirements are rare.  

Graduation requirements are adjusted based on year of entry and previous coursework.

Course Selection
In the winter term students complete a course request online in consultation with advisors and parents or guardians.  Students are officially registered in courses once they have returned a signed enrollment contract to the School.  First preference in courses will be given to those who return their contracts by the stated deadline.  Once completed, individual student schedules are posted online. Course descriptions and prerequisites are listed in the Curriculum Guide which is on the School’s website.

Independent Study
If the curriculum does not meet a student’s academic needs and interests and the student is highly motivated, an independent study class may be an option.  Any independent study courses taken for credit must adhere to departmental policies and the following guidelines.
  1. A student must have a faculty member within an appropriate department to serve as a “project sponsor.”  
  2. The student and the project sponsor must develop a written plan, including a statement of purpose, which adheres to departmental policies.  Independent study proposal forms may be obtained from the Associate Heads of School.  
  3. The plan must be approved by the chairperson of the department from which the student is seeking credit.   
  4. An independent study should reflect at least the equivalent of the work of a one term elective (1/3 credit) or a year long course (1 credit).   
  5. Independent study credit cannot be used to fulfill distribution requirements.  
  6. If taken during the third trimester of the senior year, the independent study must be taken in addition to the courses/credits required for graduation.  
  7. A student may only be enrolled in one independent study course (with the exception of Independent Science Research) at a time.         
Course Changes
A student, in consultation with his/her advisor, the teacher of the course in question, and the Associate Head of School may drop or change a course within the first week of the course.  

After the first week of the course, a student may drop a course ONLY if the Associate Head of School determines that the student is inappropriately placed and/or is unlikely to succeed in the course, and the course is not required for graduation.  A grade of withdraw passing (WP) or withdraw failing (WF) will be entered on the student’s report card and transcript when a student withdraws from a course after the designated drop period.  Seniors who have already applied to college(s) must notify the college(s) of the withdrawal and a new transcript will be sent from The Academies.           

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.  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.  

The purpose of homework is to support and enhance, in a meaningful way, the ongoing and worthy work in the classroom.  Homework is an opportunity for a student to prepare for class discussion, to reinforce essential skills, to explore further an area of interest, or to independently create a substantial project, paper, etc. that cannot be done within the time constraints of the class periods.  Teachers will clearly state the purpose of an assignment and how the assignment will be evaluated.  Homework accounts for a percentage of the earned grade in any given class.  The percentage is determined by department and is inversely proportional to the grade level of the course.
The quantity of homework assigned is specific to each class.  Courses in the upper school vary in difficulty as do students’ abilities.  Therefore, while we have a “recommended” average assignment length of 20-30 minutes per class per night, there is no hard and fast rule regarding the amount of time a student should spend on nightly homework.  Organization, planning, and time management are important aspects of a student efficiently managing his/her long-term and short-term assignments completed outside of class, as is an environment free from distraction while working. Students should reference the student portal each day for assignments in order to stay current.  

Make-up Work
Faculty are responsible for having regular assignments posted to the website.  Likewise, a student must reference the student portal daily to stay current with their work.  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.

A student whose circumstances warrant an option other than those outlined in the preceding descriptions for upper school requirements must petition the School for a waiver.  If the waiver from an academic requirement is granted, the student’s petition and a written explanation of the School’s decision and any accompanying conditions will be placed in the student’s permanent file.  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 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.

Assessment of Student Performance
As an indicator of academic achievement, grades at The Academies reflect the level of a student’s mastery of course material.  However, it should be noted that work ethic, self-discipline, time management, organization, active participation in the life of the classroom, and attention to the quality and clarity of submitted work play a role, either directly or indirectly, in the grades one earns. Grades are earned at The Academies via in-class and homework assignments and assessments including but not limited to essays, research papers, quizzes/tests (both summative and formative), problem sets, projects, portfolios, presentations/performances, labs, and final exams.

Grades in the upper school are reported as letters on the following scale.

Letter Scale
Numerical Equivalent
Scale Used for GPA Calculation
97 – 100
93 – 96
90 – 92
87 – 89
83 – 86
80 – 82
77 – 79
73 – 76
70 – 72
67 – 69
63 – 66
60 – 62
Below 60

Grade Point Average (GPA)
GPA is calculated using the 4-point scale described in the table above. Only credit-bearing classes taken at The Albany Academies are used in computing the GPA, except for Physical Education and pass/fail classes. A cumulative unweighted GPA is calculated at the end of Junior and Senior years and is reported to colleges. If a class is repeated at The Albany Academies, the higher grade is computed into the GPA and bothgrades are recorded on the transcript.
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 receive rubrics from each of their teachers describing where on the continuum they are with respect to the Effort Rubric.  
Effort Rubric

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.

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.

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.

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 Associate Head of School 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 and the student’s free periods will be restricted.  In addition, a student whose practices promoting academic success need improvement may be restricted from participating in extracurricular activities.  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 Exams (Currently Under Review)
Final exams are comprehensive in scope and test mastery and synthesis of material covered in the course.
Final Exams are weighted as follows:
Form I Courses ..................................................... 10% of yearlong grade
Grade 8 & Form II Courses................................... 10% of yearlong grade
Grades 9 & 10; Forms III & IV Courses............... 15% of yearlong grade
Grades 11 & 12; Forms V & VI Courses.............. 20% of yearlong grade

Repeating a Course
Students who fail a course required for graduation must either retake the course the following year or pass an Academies’ final exam following intensive tutoring (40+ hrs.) or summer school coursework.

Students earning a final grade below a C- in a sequential course may be required to complete summer study or repeat the course. A grade of F for the year will result in no credit being earned.

Receiving Credit for a Course
Credit is awarded upon successful (D- or higher) completion of the entire course. Partial credit is not awarded.

Credit is not awarded a second time if a class is repeated and the student earned a D- or higher in the original class. However, the new course grade will be used to calculate GPA.

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.

Transfer Credit
Credit is not transferred into The Albany Academies. Coursework completed at other schools does not appear on The Albany Academies’ transcript.  Summer work successfully completed at The Academies may appear.

Academic Honors
To attain Honors, Upper School students must be enrolled in a minimum of five coursesand earn a minimum GPA of 3.0, with no grade below a C- and have effort rubric scores that are meeting or exceeding course expectations.  

To attain High Honors, upper school students must be enrolled in a minimum of five courses and earn a minimum GPA of 3.67, with no grade below a C and and effort rubric scores that are meeting or exceeding course expectations.  

A student cannot be on the honor roll if he/she earns an F or an “incomplete” in any course.  This includes Physical Education and pass/fail courses even though they are not included in the computation of a GPA.  

Grading Procedures
Teachers communicate with parents immediately and personally throughout the year whenever there is a need.  There is also a structured reporting system as outlined below.

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

Final Assessments
05/29/2017 - 06/05/2017

Fall, Winter and Spring Terms Ends
At the end of each term, a student’s achievement grade is calculated and the effort rubric is produced.  If a student earns a term grade of C- or below and/or the practices promoting academic success rubric indicates a need for improvement or one or both demonstrates a significant change in performance in achievement or academic practices, an email will be sent directly to the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).  Other individual emails are at the discretion of the teacher.

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

Interim Reports
Twice during each of the three terms, achievement grades are calculated and Practices Promoting Academic Success Rubric are produced for each student, and this information is posted to the school portal (My Academy) for students and parents or guardians to review.  These interim reports provide 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 Associate Head of School. The goal is to explore ways in which the student can find greater success.

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.

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.