Dear North Colonie Families,
We hope you are doing well and staying healthy in this time of unprecedented uncertainty. Earlier this school year, we were eagerly planning for the opening of our new middle school and communicating our plans to transition our current fifth and sixth grade students to the new Shaker Middle School this September. As the calendar approached spring, we organized our informational evenings for parents and transition activities for students, but before we could send invitations out, the Coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of our schools. We know that the Coronavirus pandemic and mandated school closure has created stress and anxiety for our students and families and this has caused us to reconsider our plans for opening the middle school in September 2020.
While school has been closed, we have not been able to move forward with all of our plans for transitioning fifth and sixth grade students to the new middle school. We recognize that this is a major step in our students’ educational journey, and we want the transition to be as exciting and meaningful as possible. We want to give students the opportunity to visit the new middle school, meet their teachers, try out lockers, and participate in all of the same exciting events we had originally planned. We also want parents and guardians to have the opportunity to see the school and meet with teachers. Unfortunately, our current circumstances do not allow these opportunities to occur. Therefore, in order to provide the best transition possible for our students and their families, we believe it is necessary to postpone the opening of the middle school until September 2021.
We know that this news may come as a surprise and may be disappointing to you. However, in a world currently characterized by so many unknowns, we believe that remaining in our current configuration with a familiar structure can best support our students. This means we will continue with our current model of K-6, 7-8, 9-12 buildings for next school year and only sixth grade students will transition to the junior high. Accordingly, current fifth grade students will remain at their elementary school next year. Our current sixth grade students will be moving to Shaker Junior High School in September, and we will be hosting transition activities for them in late August. The new Shaker Middle School will open to all students in grades 6-8 in September 2021.
Since we will not be moving to the new middle school format in the fall, all of our school buildings will continue to operate on the same schedules as this year. The changes to school start and end times will not take effect until September 2021, once the middle school is opened.
We continue to follow state and federal guidance when making all decisions. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. We will continue to work with families as we look forward to the opening of Shaker Middle School in September 2021. Until then, we must do what is best for public health, our students, our staff and our families.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you.
D. Joseph Corr
Superintendent of Schools
Director of Teaching, Learning and Innovation