Private school drops anchor

Saratoga Academy leasing Maritime Center for new middle school

— “A new generation of young people will gain a quality education along the shores of one of America’s most historic and vital waterways,” Bardunias said in a statement. “Students will learn how the Erie Canal helped shape our country’s development, but also how it can play an integral part in our future.”

Saratoga Academy Chairwoman Tiffany Torrey was “very excited” the school is linking to a maritime theme.

“Having been personally educated at the United States Merchant Marine Academy,” Torrey said, “I am pleased that my children and other children within the Capital Region will have an opportunity to experience education related to the maritime industry and our local waterways.”

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, commended the partnership and said he looks forward to connecting the new school to his Mighty Waters Initiative, which seeks to promote development and investment along Mohawk and Hudson Rivers.

“Now we have even greater opportunities to capitalize on this wonderful location on the historic Mohawk River and Erie Canal,” Tonko said in a statement. “It is important that we provide young minds with experiences and a sense of place that allow them to develop an understanding of the unique geography and history of our region in order to be better stewards of our environment and heritage.”

Middle school programming will focus on project-based learning relying heavily on science and math, with themes that focus on the river and Erie Canal, Christensen said. He said the Erie Canal would provide a great pathway into state history.

“There are all kinds of hands on opportunities,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to do really cool, fun and engaging things.”

He said the maritime focus plays into the school’s vision for students while continuing to embrace technology.

“We are a leadership academy and we area trying to impart high level thinking skills with our students,” he said. “Doing things that have these maritime themes is way of extending and enriching at a higher level.”

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