main content starts here

Frequently Asked Questions regarding fall 2020 changes

New Start/End Times

What will the new start and end times be for each school?

The start and end bells at each school will ring at the following times:

  • High school: (Warning bell is 7:25 a.m.) 7:29 a.m. – 2:04 p.m.
  • Early elementary schools (BC, BH, SG): 8:10 a.m. – 2:25 p.m.
  • Late elementary schools (FF, LO, LR): 8:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Middle school: 8:55 a.m. – 3:39 p.m.

Why is the middle school starting later and not the elementary schools?

This scenario is something that our transportation director researched. In order to put all of the elementary schools on the same bus run and have the middle school and high school bus runs not be impacted, the district would need to purchase an additional 15 buses, costing $1,867,500.This total does not include salary and benefits for drivers. We would also need to hire 15 new drivers at a time when there is already a regional, state, and nationwide shortage.

Given the later dismissal, will middle school students still have access to after school help and a late bus? 

Yes. Please see the section on transportation below.

Middle School

When will parents be able to drop their student(s) off in the morning? 

Our bus run is scheduled to drop students off between 8:40-8:50 a.m. It is likely that our doors will open for parent drop-off around 8:30 a.m.

Will the sixth graders be switching classes and going to different teachers every period? 

The sixth grade students will be switching classes and going to different teachers each period. This is similar to the seventh and eighth grade schedule.

Will there still be clubs at the middle school? If so, when will they meet?

Yes, there will still be clubs at the middle school. Clubs will meet either before or after school. For clubs meeting before school, students will have the option to come early on the high school bus run. 

Will any extracurriculars at the middle school take place before school given the later start? Such as clubs, choruses, bands, etc.?

Some extracurricular activities will take place before school, including intramurals, play and musical rehearsals and select music ensembles like Treble Makers, Scherzo, Select Band, Jazz Ensemble and Select Chorus. Some clubs will have meetings after school. 

When will the after school/extra curricular time period start/end?

The student extra curricular time will run from 3:45-4:25 p.m. However, it is a possibility that there will be some club time built into the school day. 

How will the halls be structured at the new middle school?

Our new middle school will grow from four halls to five halls whose names celebrate the high peaks of the Adirondacks.  The names Algonquin, Haystack, Marcy, Skylight, and Wright represent the beauty and grandeur of New York state and symbolize how we can challenge ourselves in pursuit of our goals. 

My child is going to be a 7th grader for the 2019-20 school year. Will their halls be reconfigured for the 2019-20 school year?

Our intention is to keep the students who will be starting 8th grade in the fall of 2020 together in their original hall assignments even though their hall name will change. 

Is there a school store and will we have time to purchase hall specific gear?

Yes. We will continue to have a school store and will be developing new apparel. We intend to have this ready for students to purchase for the beginning of school.

Middle School Programming and Support

What programming options will be different for 6th graders when they start at the middle school? How will these program options be communicated to the parents and students?

We are excited for the range of opportunities that will be available to all of our middle school students. Currently, we are working on outlining these options and plan to have that information shared with families in the early spring of 2020.

What are the plans for the innovation spaces at the middle school?

The middle school administrators are working on a plan for how the five new innovation spaces will be used. The goal is for all students to have access and opportunities to use them. 

What types of special education programs do you offer?

We offer a full continuum of special education services that will likely not look dramatically different than the services provided at the elementary level. 

What type of social-emotional support do you provide the students?

In addition to a proactive mental health curriculum in Health Education and Family and Consumer Sciences, we have a team of mental health professionals including psychologists social workers, and school counselors who work collaboratively with students and families to respond to any student-specific needs. 

Will there be an after school program at the middle school for 6th graders?

No, we are not currently planning on hosting a CYC after school program at the middle school for sixth graders. However, if you are interested in an after school program for your sixth grade student, please contact Nikki Caruso at the Colonie Youth Center at ncaruso@colonieyouthcenter.org so that she can gauge interest from the families in the district.

What time will the CYC before care program start at the middle school? 

The CYC Program at the middle school will run from 7-8:30 a.m. and then we will have supervision in the café from 8:30 a.m. until school starts at about 8:50 a.m. Students not enrolled in the CYC program will not be able to enter the building until 8:30 a.m. 

Is the before school care going to be free of charge? 

No. Before school care will be run by the Colonie Youth Center. Please see their website or contact them for more information. https://www.colonieyouthcenter.org/school_age_child_care.html

When will extra help be offered for students at the middle school?

Extra help will be provided to students at various times throughout the day. Details will be shared with families at a later date.

What extracurricular opportunities will be available to incoming sixth graders?

There will be a variety of extracurricular activities available to sixth grade students, including intramurals, clubs, etc. All students will be made aware of these opportunities when they enter the middle school.

Transportation

Will my 6th grade student be riding the bus with high school students?

The middle school will have a bus run that is separate from the elementary and high school bus runs. However, in order to provide the greatest access to extracurricular activities and events for our students, we will allow middle school students who are participating in these activities to ride the bus with high school students.

How do the bus runs operate?

We currently do a high school/junior high school bus route, followed by an early elementary run, followed by a late elementary run. This would be the same next year, but with high school only first, then the two separate elementary routes, then the middle school route. The same process would take place in the afternoon.

What will the late bus schedule be? Who can ride on those buses?

There will be late buses available to students at the middle school and high school. The late bus will depart from the middle school at 4:30 p.m. and both middle and high school students can ride those buses. 

Why didn’t the district just add more buses and keep the schedules as is?

In order to keep the current bus schedule, it would require adding at least 30 buses at a cost of $3,735,000, just for the buses. This total does not include salary and benefits for drivers. We would need to hire 30 new drivers at a time when there is already a regional, state, and nationwide shortage.  

Will the district provide buses for before care?

No. There will not be a separate bus route in the morning to take kids from home to before school care, which is no different from what currently takes place across the district. All parents are expected to drive their students to before care and sign them in each morning they attend. This is done for security purposes.

Athletics

Since the middle school dismissal time is later, will the modified sports schedule be adjusted?

Yes. Modified practices will start after the middle school release time. The modified athletic contest start times may be slightly adjusted. Home contests may move from 4:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and away contests from 4:15 p.m. to 4:30-4:45 p.m. These are the same times already in place for the other “late schools” in the league.

Will middle school students still be able to participate in high school sports?

Seventh and eighth grade students will be able to participate in high school sports. The new Shaker Middle School schedule will not prevent any student from participating in interscholastic athletics. All seventh and eighth grade students who have been identified by a coach to try out for a High School level sport will still have that opportunity. Numerous other schools in the Suburban Council already follow the schedule we will be changing to and still include middle school students on high school teams. 

Will middle school students participating in high school sports have to go late to practice since the middle school will dismiss later than the high school?

Yes. Middle school athletes who participate on high school teams will potentially arrive late to practice, which is a common occurrence at most other Suburban Council schools. 

How will middle school students participating in high school sports make a 4 p.m. contest?

When necessary, students in the middle school will be excused early for athletic contests if they participate on a high school team.

Will the high school students wait for the middle school students to get out so they can practice together? 

In some cases high school practices may start later, but some sports will start practice before middle school dismissal. In those cases, middle school athletes will arrive to practice late with no penalty. Again, this is a common occurrence with most of our league counterparts who have a middle schools off campus and with a later start time.

What time will modified practices end?

Typically, modified practices will end anywhere from 5:30-6 p.m.

Will 6th grade students be able to participate in sports?  

No. In New York state, interscholastic sports are for 7-12 graders only. However, sixth graders will have the opportunity to participate in intramurals.

For those students allowed to leave school early for high school games, will they always be missing part of the same class?

The answer to this question is still to be determined based on the daily schedule that Shaker Middle School decides to adopt.

Music

What music groups will sixth graders be able to participate in?

Sixth grade students at Shaker Middle School will be able to participate in the sixth grade Band, Orchestra and Chorus. Band/Orchestra and Chorus are offered opposite each other within the same period (A/B days) so students can easily participate in both the instrumental group and in Chorus. All of the select performing groups – Select Band, Select Chorus, Treble Makers, Scherzo (strings), and Jazz Ensemble – will be open to students in grades 6-8.

When will music groups and musical rehearsals be held?

Some extracurricular activities will be before school, including play and musical rehearsals fsssand select music ensembles like Treble Makers, Scherzo, Select Band, Jazz Ensemble and Select Chorus. Some clubs will have meetings after school. For the activities that happen before school, students can take the high school bus or be dropped off at Shaker Middle School.

How will high school students be able to participate in Syncopella at the middle school? Will they have to wait somewhere until the middle school dismisses?

Syncopella has existed for years as a 7-12 tenor/bass vocal group, but the two school schedules will not make a joint rehearsal very feasible. The music department is still considering options. We are hoping to promote opportunities for our middle school tenors and basses that meet the students’ needs and offer connections to the high school. Shaker HS tenors and basses will still have the option to participate in Resolving Suspenders.

Can students participate in sports in addition to middle school clubs and music groups?

Select music groups like Treble Makers, Scherzo, Select Band, Jazz Ensemble and Select Chorus, as well as play and musical rehearsals will be held before school and will not conflict with the after-school practices for high school and modified sports. There will be some situations that students will have to make choices between clubs and sports during specific seasons.

High School

With the new schedule, will there still be a mid-morning break?

The district sets the start and end time to the school day. The high school administration will set the daily schedule. This schedule will be announced before the start of the 2020-21 school year.

More questions?

If you have more questions, please submit them via Google form. We will periodically update this page in response to your questions.