Academy Updates: Discovery and Innovation- Spring 2012
Albany High students may have noticed some drastic changes at the beginning of this school year. One alteration was the switch from North and South houses to the four themed academies – Discovery, Innovation, Leadership, and Citizenship. Each academy boasts a different, unique theme and the school has brought in coordinators in order to keep the themes prevalent throughout the school year.
Before the year even began, students were asked to choose which academy they would like to be in based on the specialized themes of the academies. The Discovery Academy is focused on communication and the arts. The main focuses of the Innovation Academy are science, technology, engineering and math. The Leadership Academy highlights civic and social responsibilities and the Citizenship Academy is focused on critical thinking and preparing for the global economy. The Nest touched base with Amanda Weklar and Brigid Dodson, theme coordinators for the Discovery and Innovation academies respectively, for a peek into what’s upcoming here at Albany High.
Discovery Academy is proud to be hosting Bhawin Suchak, a local film maker. He is working with three teachers and their students right now. Mr. Suchak comes in on almost a weekly basis. He runs a summer program from Grand Street Community Arts Partnership called YouthFX – a number of AHS students are involved in the summer program. This group recently had a screening of the short films they made over the summer, one of the films was about Tyler Rhodes. Mr. Suchak is collaborating with teachers and students to make short films in classes here at the High and we hoping to add an afterschool component soon. (www.youthfx.org) Mr. Suchak is currently working with a science class here the students are creating short films to teach about scientific topics. The students involved have to learn their topic well enough to present it, write scripts, storyboards, learn about lighting, camera placement and angles, and sound. The idea is to blend art (in this case film-making) with the subject matter in the classroom and enhance the learning that is taking place.
The Select Choir has a 4 year old partnership with Albany Pro Musica. The director and members from Pro Musica come to the High once a month and work with students in the Select Choir. They are preparing four pieces of music that will be performed together at the Massry Center on May 16th. The AHS Orchestra is also working on accompanying the combined choir on one of these pieces.
Discovery is also working on residencies with the Music Mobile and Proctors. The Music Mobile residency will center around a lesser known Civil Rights leader: Claudette Colvin, and will involve the creation of a play. The Proctors Residency is also a film making residency.
An Arts Residency brings in a professional known as a teaching artist. This individual is an expert in their arts field and has a background/training in education. They will collaborate with the classroom teachers to develop a unit that incorporates their art medium and the teacher’s curriculum.
The Innovation Academy is based on the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The speakers that have come to speak to the Innovation Academy are working in these fields. Students are also being exposed to various local businesses, colleges and areas of study that they not have been aware of previously.
Innovation Academy continues to hold Food for Thought Power Lunches. Innovation tries to host at least two lunches per month. They have become quite popular amongst the student body and luncheons are scheduled almost every Friday through the end of May. Innovation Academy also has a website, which is linked through the AHS website. It contains the Innovation SNN notices, pictures and videos of students, information about some of the administration team within Innovation and a calendar of events: ahsinnovation.weebly.com.
For more information about our four academies, be sure to visit their websites!