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Study: Learning gap exists at Nisky schools

Closure of one middle school recommended for efficiencies, cost savings

Van Antwerp Middle School students walk into the building on the first day of the 2011-12 school year. A recent middle school study aims to improve achievement in classrooms and find efficiencies.

Van Antwerp Middle School students walk into the building on the first day of the 2011-12 school year. A recent middle school study aims to improve achievement in classrooms and find efficiencies.

— “If you want to move away from smaller schools because they are not as efficient and because economically you can’t support them … we are consider that as an opportunity for innovation,” Fante said. “You don’t necessarily close a school just to close a school, but that you potentially combine the two middle schools into one location.”

Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio said the more drastic recommendations need to be approached thoughtfully as the district and community tries to improve schools.

“Our culture is one of continuous improvement, and I believe we need to look at the recommendations in that spirit,” Salvaggio said in a statement. “We always want to do better for our children. The report recommends many changes, some of them quite significant, and I think it is incumbent upon us to review them carefully and methodically as a district and community.”

The district also highlighted some additional recommendations of the study, which include eliminating the FLEX period and redesigning the advocacy program, implementing a new master schedule with more variable time periods, developing a new middle school course of study with exploratory offerings and moving band and orchestra into the school day.

“These recommendations, among others, will be, should be, the focus of a continuing conversation about how best to meet the needs of middle school students in Niskayuna,” Salvaggio said. “They demand a deliberate review. I see the delivery of the report as beginning the process.”

To download the 95-page middle school study, visit the district’s website at www.NiskySchools.org.

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