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AMS at a Glance

Albany is a unique community, packing a breadth of economic, ethnic, and other diversity into one square mile. Albany is located at the northern end of Alameda County between El Cerrito, Berkeley, and Kensington. University Village provides family housing to visiting professors and students and plays a big hand in contributing to the diversity of our schools. Albany's schools are the focal point of the community. Many families choose to move here, despite the high real estate prices, because of the high quality of the schools. Albany combines diversity with a small-town feel and a united commitment to supporting education.

As the only middle school serving the community, Albany Middle School guides approximately 900 students through the transformation of early adolescence from 6th grade through 8th grade. They arrive from the three Albany elementary schools as well as nearby private schools and matriculate to one high school. The total PreK-12 enrollment is approximately 3900. The community of Albany is largely college-educated, economically and ethnically diverse, and involved. No one ethnic group holds a majority in the district. AMS students are currently 39.49% Caucasian, 26.84% Asian, 16.5% Hispanic/Latino, and 2.64% African American. 12.76% of our students are multi-ethnic. 7.37% of our students are special education students. 18.15% of our students are English Language Learners. 33% of our students have a home language other than English, with a wide variation of home languages and cultures, providing a rich diversity in our schools.

The middle school facility is eighteen years old. There are 20 standard classrooms, three fully equipped science labs, an art room, music room, a computer lab, three special education classrooms, two of which are not full sized, and a full size gym. In response to the need for more space, there are five portables on our campus. One is old one and in poor condition. Four are three years old and are located in what was our teacher parking lot. In June, a bond measure passed which will support new construction on the lot located on the corner of San Gabriel and Brighton, alleviating the overcrowding that we are experiencing.

In addition to the computer lab, there are a full set of older computers in the library which are almost out of commission, a couple of older networked computers in each classroom for student use. We are fortunate to have increased the number of portable carts of laptop computers to a new total of seventeen. The entire school is networked with both hardwired and wireless Internet access in every room. Every classroom is equipped with a ceiling-mounted LCD projector. These projectors are connected to a document camera and a laptop computer to provide a variety of visual displays and video with sound. We also have a Lightspeed amplification system with two microphones, one for the teacher and one for students in every classroom.

AMS has a library on site. The library has a print collection of over 12,000 titles. The library provides a variety of services and programs under the guidance of a fully credentialed librarian, a library technician, and several highly trained parent volunteers. We were able to have a full-time Library Tech this past school year which was quite beneficial, and allowed for extended hours and additional support to our students with limited computer access at home. The library is used throughout the day for classes to work on units such as research and poetry. Additionally, our library is consistently packed with students at lunch if it is not being used for other trainings or events.

The facilities are not designed for the large size of our student body. We estimate the facility to be adequate for approximately 650 students and we currently have approximately 900 students. We use every classroom almost every period and therefore, many teachers use rolling carts to travel from class to class. This impacts the setup of classrooms, reduces instructional time, and limits teachers’ abilities to connect with students before and after class. Most teachers who do not move classrooms do not have access to their empty classrooms until after school hours. Some classrooms are also used after school for programming that benefits our students. The facilities are also lacking enough science laboratories to easily serve all 7th and 8th graders with hands-on experiments and learning exercises. Furthermore, 6th graders never have access to fully-functioning science laboratories, which is becoming increasingly problematic as we transition to the Next Generation Science Standards. A fourth laboratory, once realized, will provide a very positive impact on our ability to provide quality science instruction. We would like to see one of our current classrooms transformed to a science lab and a multi-use room built to meet the needs and maximize student learning at Albany Middle School. Additionally, we do not have a multi-use room for students to eat indoors during inclement weather, nor to use for assemblies and other events.