Since taking over as Shaker Junior High School Principal in December of 2018, Mr. Davis Chamberlain has been looking to the future. A future that he says is full of opportunities for North Colonie students, staff, and teachers.
In the month and a half since Mr. Chamberlain took over for longtime principal Dr. Russ Moore, he has spent his time meeting teachers and engaging staff in surveys regarding the school’s current practices and how they can morph from a Junior High School to a Middle School model after the current renovations are completed. “As we’re working to develop the vision for our new Middle School, we are always looking to improve our instructional practices to meet the needs of our diverse learners,” said Mr. Chamberlain.
When the Junior High School is officially reorganized into the Middle School, it will house students from grades 6 through 8. Mr. Chamberlain says he is excited about the opportunity to have students for three years instead of the current two, saying it will help make them more engaged in the school community. Conversations have already started with 6th grade teachers, Mr. Chamberlain says, and they are very excited about the changes to come. He says the reorganization will also be an opportunity for the building to realign its values to what students need most.
The outer structure of the new wings on the Junior High School are up and construction crews are hard at work turning the inside into a place of learning for generations to come. “The new science labs will be phenomenal, the family and consumer science rooms will be state of the art, and classrooms will be more flexible with two teaching stations per classroom,” Mr. Chamberlain said. But beyond the planning of new rooms and new students, there also comes things that people may not think about, like picking out new furniture.
Mr. Chamberlain says the current renovation and new construction are quite the project. “It’s like building an airplane mid-flight.” There’s lots of planning ahead of time, and the building is already planning summer moves for classrooms. Mr. Chamberlain says the biggest challenge for the Junior High School right now is holding classes in spaces that they aren’t necessarily intended for while still maximizing student experience.
6th grade students are anticipated to move to the new Middle School in September of 2020.