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Albany High School (New York)

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Albany High School (New York)

Albany High School
Type Urban public high school
Established September 7, 1868
School district City School District of Albany
Principal Cecily L. Wilson-Turner
Faculty 217
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,300
Mascot Falcon
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

International Baccalaureate World Schools

Nicknames "Albany High", "AHS"

Albany High School (AHS) in Albany, New York, United States, is a public high school with an enrollment of about 2,300 students for the 2014-15 school year. The school is part of the City School District of Albany. It opened on September 7, 1868 as the Albany Free Academy. Albany High has been located at 700 Washington Avenue since 1974.

Albany High School is an International Baccalaureate school with an Advanced Placement program. The principal is Cecily L. Wilson-Turner. The school newspaper is The Nest (published online, it replaced the longtime print newspaper The Patroon, in 2011), the literary magazine is Inkblot, and the yearbook is Prisms.

Albany High School is the only comprehensive public high school in the city.[1] The school is divided into four themed learning communities known as academies. Those academies are Citizenship Academy which focuses on critical thinking and economic skills; Discovery Academy which focuses on the arts and communication; Innovation Academy which focuses on science, technology, engineering,and math; and Leadership Academy which focus on the skills needed to lead the way to a better future. All students in the school are a member of one of the four academies.


  • History 1
  • Academics 2
  • Academies 3
    • Citizenship Academy 3.1
    • Discovery Academy 3.2
    • Innovation Academy 3.3
    • Leadership Academy 3.4
  • Clubs 4
  • Athletics 5
  • Theater arts 6
  • Campus 7
    • Academic building 7.1
    • Physical education building 7.2
    • Auditorium building 7.3
    • Courtyard 7.4
    • Athletic fields 7.5
    • Parking lots 7.6
    • Abrookin Career and Technical Center 7.7
  • Demographics 8
  • Distinguished alumni 9
  • School hours 10
  • Principals 11
  • Valedictorians and salutatorians 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


Albany High School opened on September 7, 1868 as the Albany Free Academy with 141 students. The school was housed in Van Vechten Hall at 119 State Street until May 4, 1876, when it was relocated to Eagle Street (where the Albany County Courthouse is now located). In 1913, the school was moved to a more central location between Washington and Western Avenues. This "old" Albany High School building still stands, and it housed Philip Schuyler Elementary School until 2004. Prior to 1974, Albany had two high schools, Albany High School and Philip Schuyler High School. That year, the institutions were merged to form the "new" Albany High, located at 700 Washington Avenue (the school's current location).

Prior to 2006, the school had four cafeterias known as the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest cafeterias. The walls between the two sets of cafeterias were demolished to form two large cafeterias known as the North and South cafeterias.

In 2006, metal detectors were installed at student entrance points to the school because of fights that took place within the school. The metal detectors were donated by the Albany Police Department. All students now have to go through a security checkpoint upon entering the school.

Prior to 2011-2012 school year, Albany High School was divided into two large administrative divisions known as "North House" and "South House". Each house had its own cafeteria and administrative offices. Some class assignments were determined by house and students were randomly assigned a house upon entry.

In 2011, the school established four themed learning communities known as academies (Citizenship Academy, Discovery Academy, Innovation Academy, and Leadership Academy). These four academies were established to provide students with extra support staff and allow students to experience a themed academic environment while still in high school. All of Albany High's students are assigned to one of the four academies. Citizenship and Innovation Academies share the former South House cafeteria while Discovery and Leadership Academies share the former North House Cafeteria. Elective courses are grouped based on a particular academy's theme; however, all students may take any elective within the school regardless of their academy. To encourage more students to attend the "redesigned" Albany High School, the school began to advertise itself in late 2010 by putting up advertisements at bus stops. The advertisements had photos of several students doing educational activities and had the slogan "Four New Academies, One Great Education."


Albany High has a wide variety of academic programs, including a longstanding Advanced Placement program offering 19 courses.[2] In 2005, AHS was accredited as an International Baccalaureate World School and introduced an IB Diploma Program, which consists of a series of college-level courses for juniors and seniors leading to an alternative diploma.[3] Every year, several IB or AP students typically attend some of the nation's top-ranked universities, including those in the Ivy League. Albany High has made Newsweek's list of America's Top Public High Schools on multiple occasions, most recently in 2010 (when it ranked 976).[4][5] The ranking is based on the Challenge Index, which calculates the number of AP and IB exams taken at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors.[6]

Most academic courses are taught at Core, Regents, and Honors levels. Three foreign languages (Spanish, French, Chinese), are available. Within New York State, AHS was one of the first public schools outside of New York City to offer any form of Chinese as a foreign language. The school also has Senior Career Explorations (internships) in six areas[7] and a Project Lead the Way engineering program. An annex, the Abrookin Vocation-Technical Center, offers many career and technical courses


All students at Albany High are within one of four themed academies (Citizenship, Discovery, Innovation, and Leadership Academies). Students can apply to one of the academies through a lottery system several months in advance of an incoming school year. Students who don't apply before the deadline will be randomly assigned an academy upon entry. Many academic courses are group to a particular academy within the school; for example, the psychology courses are grouped to Leadership Academy. However, any student in the school can take any course regardless of his or her academy. The four academies are located in physical areas of the school.

Citizenship Academy

Citizenship Academy focuses on effective communications, critical thinking, and preparations for a global economy. Advanced mathematics electives are grouped to this academy. Other courses grouped to this academy include culinary arts, family and consumer sciences courses, and business courses. The motto of this academy is "The future depends on what we do today." The color of this academy is green.

Discovery Academy

Discovery Academy focuses on the arts and communication. Advanced English electives are grouped to this academy. Other electives grouped to this academy include advanced art courses, theater/drama courses, and all music courses. The motto of this academy is "Imagine the possibilities." Its color is gold.

Innovation Academy

Innovation Academy focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math. Advanced science electives are grouped to this academy. Other electives grouped to this academy include all Project Lead the Way engineering courses. Innovation Academy hosts themed luncheons known as "food for thought power lunches". During these events, a technologist visits and talks with students about a certain topic in the science and technology field. The motto of this academy is "Invent the future." Its color is red.

Leadership Academy

Leadership Academy focuses on civic and social responsibilities. Advanced social studies courses are grouped to this academy. Other courses electives grouped to this academy include adolescent psychology and language courses. Leadership Academy hosts themed luncheons known as "Lunch with A Leader". During those events, a local leader such as a politician or philanthropist visits to talk about how he or she is making a difference in the world. Visitors to these events included Albany mayor Gerald Jennings and Miss New York 2011, Kaitlin Monte. The motto of this academy is "Be the change you want to see in the world." Its color is blue.


Albany High School has a number of clubs; among the more active of these are the Albany Marching Falcons and Color Guard, Albany Falcons Winter Guard, Drama Club, Speech and Debate Team, FIRST Robotics, Inkblot (a literary club), Prisms (the yearbook club), NYODA Step Team, International Club, Key Club, Habitat for Humanity Club, Chess Club, Ski Club, Hike Club, Math Club, Art Club, Video Production Club, Jam Club (playing rock music), Captains' Club, Peace & Social Action Club, Anime Club, Fashion Club, Jewish Student Union, National Honor Society, Masterminds, Mock Trial, Gay/Straight Alliance, and Best Buddies. In addition, the school has a club for each of the four languages offered. In the 2011-2012 school year, a class of journalism students renamed and revamped the school paper "The Patroon" and created the student-run, web-based "The Nest".[8]


Albany High School's interscholastic athletics program is affiliated with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (Section II). Albany High's student-athletes competed in the Big 10 Conference for many years until the conference disbanded following the 2013-14 school year. Fall interscholastic sports include American football for men; cheerleading, volleyball, tennis, and swimming/diving for women; and cross country, soccer, and golf for men and women. Winter sports include swimming/diving and wrestling for men; cheerleading and step/drill for women; and basketball (which had its best seasons under great longtime coach Paul Lyons), bowling, and indoor track for men and women. Spring sports include baseball and tennis for men; softball and step/drill for women; and outdoor track for men and women.[9] Many sports are played at both varsity and junior varsity levels, and intramural activities are also offered. Albany High School soccer team in 2007 after almost 25 years made it through the sectional to semi final beaten the power house in big ten LaSalle, beating Saratoga High School in the 2nd round and beating Colonie Central High in the quarter final but losing to Niskayuna High School in semi final.

Theater arts

Albany High School hosts two plays every school year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The spring play is usually a musical. Plays and musicals that have been hosted by the school include Cabaret, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Splendor in the Grass, Scapino, The Laramie Project', My Fair Lady, and Carousel. The school has a theater arts class, a drama class, and a playwriting class that take place during regular school hours. The school's theater director is Ward Dales. Albany High School has received many awards from local organizations for its plays and musicals.


Albany High's current location at 700 Washington Avenue, which opened in 1974. The school consists of three brick buildings connected by indoor pedestrian bridges. The largest of these, the academic building, contains the classrooms, cafeterias, and media center. Across from the academic structure are the physical education building (housing the gymnasiums, locker rooms, and HVAC equipment) and another building containing the main office, auditorium, and music classrooms. Three bridges on the second floor connect the buildings.

Academic building

A rear view of Albany High's academic building showing Towers One, Two, and Three.

The academic building is the largest edifice on the Albany High School campus and the only one with three stories. The ground floor contains the two cafeterias (Citizenship/Innovation and Discovery/Leadership), kitchen, special education classrooms, technology classrooms, art studios, a recently opened school store known as "Falcons Rock", a Model U.N. room, a mock courtroom, various other classrooms, and even a credit union room known as the "Falcon Branch". The second floor is the main hub of the school because it is connected to the other two buildings by the pedestrian bridges. It contains the media center (the large school library housing over 26,000 books[10] as well as PC desktop computers). The library was fully renovated in 2012. The second floor also contains the college center (a relatively new room with computers intended to be used by students to research colleges[11]), and many classrooms. The third floor is entirely occupied by classrooms. All the science labs are located on this floor.

The dominant architectural feature of the rectangular building is its six towers, numbered one through six. Towers One, Two, and Three are on the west side, and Towers Four, Five, and Six are on the east side. The towers contain stairwells, restrooms, and assorted offices (Tower Two contains the school's elevator). They also have skylights above each stairwell. Students in Citizenship and Innovation Academies enter the school through Tower Six while students in Discovery and Leadership Academies enter through Tower Four.

The bulk of the Innovation Academy classrooms are located in the southern half of the first and second floors. The bulk of the Discovery Academy classrooms are located in the northern half of the second floor. The third floor of the academic building contains the bulk of the Leadership Academy and Citizenship Academy classrooms. The bulk of the Citizenship Academy classrooms are located in the southern half of the building and the bulk of the Leadership Academy are located in the northern half of the building. The four academies form academy wings painted their own distinct color (green for Citizenship Academy, gold for Discovery Academy, red for Innovation Academy, and blue for Leadership Academy) and has its own academy office and health office. The large guidance suite located in the Discovery Academy wing on the second floor provides all four academies with a set number of guidance counselors.

Room numbers in the academic building have three digits, with the first digit indicating the floor number. The other two digits depend on the side of the building, with the rooms of the northern half having odd numbers and the rooms of the Southern Half having even numbers. Rooms numbers increase as one goes towards the center of the building.

Physical education building

The physical education building contains the indoor athletic facilities. These include the main gymnasium (which can be divided into three smaller gyms using motorized curtains), "Rubber Gym" (a smaller gym named for its floor material), wrestling gym, dance studio, and six-lane swimming pool. The building also houses the male and female locker rooms, the athletic health office, the athletic director's office, and the Falcon Fitness Center, a recently renovated weight room. On the first floor of the two story building is the boiler room housing the school's heating equipment. The two air conditioning units are located on the roof. Students traveling to and from the nearby Abrookin building of Albany High School must enter and exit from the "PE" entrance located in this building.

Auditorium building

The third building on the Albany High campus houses the auditorium, main offices, and music classrooms. The diamond shaped auditorium has red cushioned seats, a triangular stage, and a catwalk area which is accessible by ladder. Located on the ground floor, the music facilities include a rehearsal rooms, choir room, office, and several practice rooms. The auditorium building contains the main lobby and serves as an entrance for school visitors.


The courtyard

The courtyard is located between the three buildings. A brick and concrete space with small trees and many benches, it serves as an entrance place for students during the morning. Senior year students have the privilege of eating lunch here. The school's three walkway bridges pass over the courtyard. Its concrete pavement was resurfaced in 2011.

Athletic fields

The Albany High campus contains athletic fields for soccer, baseball, American football, and softball. The school's running track was resurfaced in 2003.[12] Albany High's varsity football, soccer and baseball teams play their games at nearby Bleecker Stadium.

Parking lots

Albany High School has two main parking lots. The Washington Avenue parking lot is located next to the auditorium building. It primarily contains spots for visitors and administrators. The larger Main Avenue parking lot is located next to the academic building. Most teachers park in assigned spots in this lot. A smaller parking lot is located next to the physical education building. The school provides parking there for senior year students who are registered for on campus parking and have a valid student parking permit. Other students with cars, need to park on streets surrounding the campus.

Abrookin Career and Technical Center

The Abrookin Career and Technical Center (formerly known as Abrookin Vocational-Technical Center) is a disconnected building of Albany High School located two blocks north of the main campus at 99 Kent Street. The building offers many career and technical courses in fields such as construction, cooking, electricity, engineering, cosmetology, computers (including a Cisco networking academy), and even an emergency medical technician course. It also houses family and consumer sciences courses. Students can walk to Abrookin from the main campus for a 1 to 3 period long class. It takes about eight minutes to walk from the main campus to Abrookin. The building opened in 1974 as the Albany Occupational Center. The building was later renamed after the late school board member Manny Abrookin (1922–1994).

In 2007, David Bryan, then principal of the vocational center, was accused of embezzling $337,000 from the school and local charities. He was relieved of his duties and subsequently convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail.[13]


Of Albany High School's approximately 2,400 students, about 57% are African-American, 24% are White (non-Hispanic), 11.4% are Hispanic, 6.5% are Asian, and 1% are Native American.[14][15] Seventy percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch and the attendance rate is 89%. The school has about 200 teachers with a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1.[16] Albany High enrolls students from more than 40 foreign nations.

Distinguished alumni

School hours

School begins at 7:50am and ends at 2:50pm. There are nine 42 minute periods in the school day including four lunch periods. Students have four minutes to transition between classes within the main campus. Students walking to and from the Abrookin building have eight minutes to commute between classes. This bell schedule was introduced in September 2011.

Albany High School has random attendances checks (RAC). They are silent electronic hall sweeps that no student can avoid. This system was introduced in early 2012 to encourage students to get to classes on time and to not skip classes. The school also added a one minute warning beep to the bell system.


  • 1868-1886: John E. Bradley
  • 1886-1911: Oscar D. Robinson
  • 1911-1916: Frank A. Gallup
  • 1916-1951: Dr. Harry E. Pratt
  • 1951-1959: Stanley Heason
  • 1959-1967: Andrew Gardner
  • 1968-1986: John Bach
  • 1987-1995: David McGuire
  • 1995-1998: Dr. Willard Washburn
  • 1998-2001: Dr. John Metallo
  • 2001-2002: John Pellitier
  • 2002-2006: Michael T. Cioffi
  • 2006-2009: F. Maxine Fantroy-Ford
  • 2009–2012: Dr. David C. McCalla[25]
  • 2012- : Cecily L. Wilson-Turner[26]

Sources: [1], [2]

Valedictorians and salutatorians

SEFCU Arena, where AHS graduation is held

Class rank is determined from an unweighted average of all courses taken in grades nine through twelve. The valedictorian delivers an address at commencement exercises, which are held in late June at SEFCU Arena.

  • 1989: Jennifer Judd, Samantha Pozner
  • 1990: Kate Hurley, Jo-Ellen Pozner
  • 1997: Michael Kay, Dorothy Weiss
  • 1998: Lisa Stern, Heather Benno
  • 1999: Marc Silverman, Abby Horowitz
  • 2000: Heidi Schumacher, Jason Kay
  • 2001: Karen Zawisza, Elizabeth Acker
  • 2002: Christopher Paynter, Anna Acker
  • 2003: Joshua Goldman, William Tobin Przylucki
  • 2004: Benjamin Colman, Nerissa Clarke
  • 2005: Joshua Hancox, Kelly McKay
  • 2006: Sarah Magidson, Jasmine Mauger
  • 2007: Lucy Reeder, Benjamin Pastel
  • 2008: Rachel Rudinger, Benjamin Amodeo[27]
  • 2009: Rachel Barnas, Hilary Worden[28]
  • 2010: Owen Daniels, Fern Beetle-Moorcroft
  • 2011: Brian Carr, Robert Cosgrove
  • 2012: Seamus Daniels, Mackenzie Honikel
  • 2013: June Criscione, Hillel Adler
  • 2014: Andrew Tarwerdi, Elana Cohen

See also


  1. ^ List of Schools (ACSD website). Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Albany High School
  4. ^ " National rankings place Albany High School among top high schools in America for advanced curriculum". Albany City School District press release, September 24, 2009.
  5. ^ "Albany school gets a favorable rating". Albany Times Union, September 25, 2009.
  6. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". Newsweek, June 8, 2009.
  7. ^ Senior Career Exploration Programs
  8. ^ Clubs
  9. ^ Sports
  10. ^ , Spring 2008Capital Education"Albany's public schools by the numbers" from
  11. ^ AHS College Center
  12. ^
  13. ^ "David Bryan sentenced to seven years in jail". 
  14. ^ Student Teacher Ratio Albany High School - Albany, New York - NY
  15. ^ Albany High School - Albany, New York/NY - Public School Profile
  16. ^ Report Card on the SchoolsTimes Union
  17. ^ a b c d e "Albany schools to showcase their own hall of famers". Albany Times Union. August 25, 2009
  18. ^
  19. ^ Fitzgerald, Bryan (12 April 2011). "Long journey from Albany: Gene A. Cretz rose to be U.S. ambassador to Libya".  
  20. ^ Hornbeck, Leigh (23 April 2011). "Alfred Freedman dies; Albany native headed psychiatric group".  
  21. ^
  22. ^ Dennis Green Player Profile, körfubolti, Hottur, International Stats, Game Logs - EUROBASKET
  23. ^
  24. ^ "From Albany High to White House". Albany Times Union. September 22, 2009.
  25. ^ Albany City School District Press Release. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  26. ^ "AHS Administration". Albany High School. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  27. ^ 2008 Commencement Program
  28. ^ 2009 Commencement Program.
  • Albany High School History

External links

  • Albany High School website
    • The Nest (student news website)
  • News about Albany High School (Albany City School District website)

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