About Us » School Culture & Climate

School Culture & Climate

Research shows that student learning is facilitated by an environment where students feel safe and connected. Thus, Albany Middle School has put a great deal of time and energy into our school climate programs. They are outlined below:
Building Effective Schools Together (BEST)
BEST is a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support program that was adopted in Albany K-8 about eight years ago. PBIS is an evidence-based framework for supporting students in choosing positive behaviors. As part of BEST, we explicitly teach schoolwide expectations, ensuring that each student knows what it means to “Be Safe, Respectful, Responsible, and an Ally” in all different settings in our school. We use positive ways to recognize and encourage students to be successful in their behaviors in school. Some of these positive incentives are Cobra Caught-Chas, Cobra of the Month, and Positive postcards.
Advisory at AMS
The Advisory program at Albany Middle School has been designed to give students and teachers time to discuss, reflect, and act on the issues that affect our school community. Classes meet on Wednesday mornings for 20 minutes. Though this time is relatively brief, we work hard to develop and revise an Advisory curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and responsive to the social-emotional needs of middle school children. Some topics we have highlighted include:
  • 4B’s: School Rules and Safety
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Team-Building: Diversity Superhero Door Decorating Contest
  • Mirror and Windows: Anti-Bias Education
  • Safe School Ambassador Skills: Responding to Mistreatment
  • Diversity Gay Straight Alliance: LGBTQ awareness
  • Bridges: Grade-level panel(s) for year ahead
  • #BeautifulCommunity: Neighborhood Relations
  • PEAK: 8th graders mentoring 6th graders

Safe School Ambassadors
Safe School Ambassadors is a program from Community Matters to empower students to set a positive tone with peer culture. Safe School Ambassadors trains students who are looked to as leaders among their peers in all peer groups. These students are trained on specific actions they can take when they witness mistreatment to shift things to a more positive direction. Students and adult facilitators receive a 2-day training and then continue to meet every other week throughout the school year in smaller “family groups.”

Peers Educating Albany’s Kids (PEAK)
A group of about 25 eighth graders are trained in key topics, such as managing stress, responding to peer pressure, and shifting peer mistreatment. They are matched up with 6th grade classes and go in to deliver these lessons once a month throughout the year.