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The Home Depot at Clover Ridge

Posted on: April 16, 2019

IN THE fall of 2018, Adrianne Betterton, teacher for our Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research program (STAR), reached out to The Home Depot in Albany, requesting a small donation of supplies for a flower box for her students. Mrs. Betterton’s hope was to incorporate learning about plant life with hands-on activities.

The Home Depot’s response was above and beyond anything Mrs. Betterton had hoped for. Through their Team Depot Foundation, The Home Depot took on the project, donating all the supplies as well as the labor to make it happen.  

The labor for the project included the following:

  • removal of existing walkway pavers, stone flower bed borders, and multiple plants and shrubbery
  • painting the outside of the school behind the new bed area
  • laying a new stone walkway
  • laying new rubber mulch to make access to the beds easier 
  • building four custom planter boxes, designed to be portable to move with to Meadow Ridge
  • repainting the United States mural in our covered play area

This wonderful new area is such a blessing and will be put to good use by all our students, providing a great opportunity to use hands-on learning. A huge thank you to The Home Depot Albany and their crew for making this all possible!

GAPS Future Chef Finalist Makes Top 5 Nationally

Posted on: April 15, 2019

Hannah StevensHANNAH STEVENS of Liberty Elementary placed Top 5 Nationally in the Sodexo Future Chef competition with her Guacamole Cones recipe. This was no small feat, as Hannah’s recipe was chosen over 50 recipe entries and she made it into the Top 5.

Hannah took first place at Liberty’s local competition on March 21st, which was held in the foods classroom at South Albany High School. Judges scored students on several aspects, including being Kid Friendly, Easy to Prepare, Original, Tasty, Healthy, and they were also judged on Plate Presentation. Upon taking home the gold her recipe was entered into a national contest where she competed to win a place in the Top 5! 

Guacamole cones.Hannah’s Award Winning Recipe

6 (6″) Flour Tortillas
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Chili Powder
2 Ripe Avocados
1 ½ tsp. Fresh Lime Juice
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
2-3 Plum Tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut tortillas in half roll each tortilla half into a cone shape, secure with toothpick. Brush with oil and sprinkle lightly with chili powder.
Bake 9 min. or until lightly browned, turn cones upside down. Bake about 5 min. or golden brown on all sides, cool cones 1 min. Remove toothpick and cool completely.
Guacamole, cut avocados in half remove the pits scoop avocado pulp from skins. Place in a medium bowl, mash with fork , stir in lime juice, salt, pepper, stir until blended.
Fill bottom of each cone with 1 tsp of chopped tomato and top with scoop of guacamole then add more tomato. Makes 12 cones.

Hannah cooking.Describing her recipe: “Guacamole cones are yummy, healthy, and easy to make. You’re whole family will ask you to make them again!”
Describing what inspired her recipe: “Because it was fun and I thought a lot of kids would like it. When I found out that it was Mexican themed, the recipe popped in my head and I just went for it.”

Voting will be available to the public starting the morning of Monday, April 22nd through Sunday, April 28th, closing at Midnight EST. Information on where to vote will be posted April 22nd.

National Event Progression: Over 2,700 elementary-aged students participated in 256 local events throughout the month of March. Those 256 local events took place in 31 states representing over 1,400 Sodexo-served school sites.


Albany Options School

Posted on: April 15, 2019

⇒Para español haga clic aquí.

ALBANY OPTIONS SCHOOL (AOS) is GAPS’s alternative high school, which provides opportunities in alternative education for students. They offer GED®, small-class instructional setting, and online-based programs. When deciding if AOS is right for your child, it’s important to understand that AOS operates as an essential trinity with the other two high schools in the district.

“When we get students, we determine the best possible way to move them forward,” says Albany Options’ principal, John Hunter.

The best outcome is to have students get their four-year diploma or GED®, but Principal Hunter is more focused on finishing kids when and where they should be finished. “A five-year diploma does the same thing as a four-year,” he says. “Outside of high school it doesn’t matter.”

All the fifth-year students and GED® students are automatically sent to AOS, but sometimes a medical issue, family trauma, or any number of circumstances can make a four-year graduation plan impractical for quite a few students. For others, Albany Options is the only option that may work for them.

Seventeen-year old Annaliese Papesh Schmidt is a senior at Albany Options. She was enrolled in West Albany High School when she felt herself slipping.

“In middle school I didn’t try. By high school I couldn’t keep up, couldn’t understand the material. Each class had thirty to forty students in it, so I was overwhelmed and lost.” Annaliese found the teachers at Albany Options to be more accessible and the curriculum gave her a more individualized approach. “I feel noticed; I can’t fade into the background.”

“At AOS we know the whole student,” says school counselor, Anna Harryman. “We can place them in the context of their background. What may seem like attitude could actually be related to what’s happening in their life.”

Behavioral problems are met with positive reinforcement and compassion, even if a student simply needs space they are given it. Students feel as if they can make mistakes and not be labeled for their actions. The focus is on education.

“There’s no bullying, no rumors, and no drama,” Annaliese says. “Every day is a new start to proving you can trust yourself.” She smiles. “I have a job now and I’m going to go to college. I’m going to be the first person in my family to go to college–I’m going to change everything. I have this confidence because of AOS.” ◊

To learn more about AOS, it’s programs, and it’s mission please visit

Spanish Translation

ALBANY OPTIONS (AOS por sus siglas en inglés) es la escuela preparatoria alternativa de GAPS, que brinda oportunidades de educación alternativa para los estudiantes. Ofrecen el programa GED®, un entorno educativo con clases pequeñas y programas en el Internet. Al decidir si AOS es adecuada para su hijo/a, es importante comprender que AOS funciona como una trinidad esencial con las otras dos escuelas preparatorias del distrito.

“Cuando recibimos estudiantes, determinamos la mejor manera posible de hacerlos avanzar”, dice el Director de Albany Options, Sr. John Hunter.

El mejor resultado es que los estudiantes obtengan su diploma de cuatro años o GED®, pero el Director Hunter está más enfocado en que los estudiantes terminen cuándo y dónde deben terminar. “Un diploma de cinco años hace lo mismo que uno de cuatro años”, dice. “Fuera de la escuela preparatoria no importa”.

Todos los estudiantes de quinto año y GED® se envían automáticamente a AOS, pero a veces un problema médico, un trauma familiar o una variedad de circunstancias pueden hacer que un plan de graduación de cuatro años sea impráctico para algunos estudiantes. Para otros, Albany Options es la única opción que puede funcionar para ellos.

Annaliese Papesh Schmidt, de 17 años, es una estudiante del 12° grado en Albany Options. Estaba inscrita en la preparatoria West Albany High School cuando sintió que se estaba atrasando.

“En la secundaria no lo puse esfuerzo. En la escuela preparatoria no podía mantenerse al dia, no podía entender el material. Cada clase tenía entre treinta y cuarenta estudiantes, así que me sentí abrumada y perdida. ”Annaliese encontró que los maestros de Albany Options eran más accesibles y el plan de estudios le dio un enfoque más individualizado. “Me siento reconocida; No puedo desvanecerme en el fondo”.

“En AOS conocemos al estudiante en su totalidad”, dice la consejera de la escuela, Sra. Anna Harryman. “Podemos ubicarlos en el contexto de sus antecedentes. Lo que puede parecer una mala actitud podría estar relacionada con lo que está sucediendo en su vida”.

Los problemas de conducta se resuelven con un refuerzo positivo y compasión, incluso si un estudiante simplemente necesita espacio, se le da. Los estudiantes sienten que pueden cometer errores y no ser etiquetados por sus acciones. El enfoque está en la educación.

“No hay acoso, ni rumores, ni drama”, dice Annaliese. “Cada día es un nuevo comienzo para demostrar que puedes confiar en ti mismo”. Ella sonríe. “Tengo un trabajo ahora y voy a ir a la universidad. Voy a ser la primera persona de mi familia en ir a la universidad. Voy a cambiar todo. Tengo esta confianza gracias a AOS”.

Para obtener más información sobre AOS, sus programas y su misión, visite:

Curriculum Adoption

Posted on: April 12, 2019

Greater Albany Public Schools is in the process of adopting new curriculum materials in the social sciences. Any interested parties can review the materials at the District Office by appointment between now and Friday, April 19.

Please direct any feedback to Jeff Brew, Director of Secondary Education at the district office.

Spanish Translation

Las Escuelas Públicas de Greater Albany, están en proceso de adoptar nuevos materiales curriculares en las Ciencias Sociales. Cualquier parte interesada puede revisar los materiales en la Oficina del Distrito sacando una cita entre ahora y el viernes 19 de abril.

Por favor envíe sus comentarios al Sr. Jeff Brew, Director ejecutivo de Educación Secundaria de la oficina del distrito.

Melissa Goff, Finalist for Superintendent

Posted on: April 12, 2019

⇒Melissa Goff es finalista para Superintendente: Clic AQUÍ

The Greater Albany Public Schools Board of Directors would like to announce their superintendent finalist, Melissa Goff. Goff has been serving as Superintendent for the Philomath School District for four years.

“There were thirty applicants for the position of superintendent,” Board Chair Jennifer Ward shared. “Melissa quickly rose to the top.”

In a confidential selection process, the pool of thirty applicants were narrowed to five semi-finalist candidates, who were interviewed by the board in March. Superintendent Goff and another candidate were invited to finalist interviews with the board and a community stakeholder committee, consisting of community members, staff, and parents. The board appointed two members to conduct a site visit at Philomath School District with Goff.

“Melissa has been impressive in every interaction I’ve had with her,” Board Chair Ward adds. “The board recognizes she has the leadership skills and personal integrity necessary to lead our district, and this understanding was reinforced at the site visit to Philomath with Director Utt.”

Contract negotiations are underway and any board action would take place at the April 22nd school board meeting.

“I’m thrilled to be considered by the Greater Albany Public Schools Board as the next superintendent,” Superintendent Goff says. “Joining this well-performing district and supporting their continuing growth and evolution would be a privilege. I particularly look forward to engaging with parents and the community to listen and learn from these critical partners. The staff at GAPS is passionate about serving all students, and this is an ideal place to be leading into the future.

“Departing Philomath School District would be bittersweet, as we have grown as a community over the last four years. Together, we have expanded social emotional learning programs for our students, implemented common effective instructional practices, and fine-tuned our system of support for students who have been historically underserved. Philomath Schools are stronger today than ever and I expect to see continued success and achievements in the years to come.”

Spanish Translation

Los Directores de la Mesa Directiva de las Escuelas Públicas de Greater Albany, desean anunciar a su finalista para Superintendente, la Sra. Melissa Goff. Goff ha servido como Superintendente para el Distrito Escolar de Philomath durante cuatro años.

“Había treinta solicitantes para el puesto de superintendente”, compartió la presidenta de la Mesa Directiva, Sra. Jennifer Ward. “Melissa subió rápidamente a los primeros puestos”.

En un proceso de selección confidencial, el grupo de treinta solicitantes se redujo a cinco semifinalistas, que fueron entrevistados por la Mesa Directiva en marzo. La Superintendente Goff y otro candidato fueron invitados a entrevistas como finalistas con la Mesa Directiva y un Comité de personas interesadas de la comunidad, compuesto por miembros de la comunidad, personal y padres de familia. La Mesa Directiva nombró a dos miembros para realizar una visita a las instalaciones en el Distrito Escolar Philomath con Goff.

“Melissa ha sido impresionante en cada interacción que he tenido con ella”, agrega Ward, Presidente de la Mesa Directiva. “La Mesa Directiva reconoce que tiene las habilidades de liderazgo y la integridad personal, necesarias para dirigir a nuestro distrito, y este entendimiento se reforzó en la visita a Philomath con el Director Utt”.

Las negociaciones del contrato están en marcha y cualquier acción de la Mesa Directiva se llevará a cabo en la reunión de la Mesa Directiva escolar del 22 de abril.

“Estoy encantada de ser considerada por la Mesa Directiva de las Escuelas Públicas de Greater Albany, como la próxima superintendente”, dijo la Superintendente Goff. “Unirse a este distrito de tan buen desempeño y apoyar su continuo crecimiento y evolución sería un privilegio. En particular, espero participar con los padres y la comunidad, para escuchar y aprender de estos importantes socios. El personal de GAPS está muy comprometido en servir a todos los estudiantes, y este es un lugar ideal para liderar hacia el futuro.

“Salir del Distrito Escolar de Philomath sería agridulce, ya que hemos crecido como comunidad en los últimos cuatro años. Juntos, hemos expandido los programas de aprendizaje socioemocional para nuestros estudiantes, implementado prácticas comunes de instrucción efectivas y hemos perfeccionado nuestro sistema de apoyo para los estudiantes, los cuales han sido históricamente desatendidos. Las escuelas de Philomath son más fuertes hoy que nunca y espero ver éxitos y logros continuos en los próximos años”.