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Scheduling screwup makes school start on Saturday

ALBANY -- Albany High students arrived by car, foot and city bus. It almost looked like a regular school day, except it was Saturday.

The high school opened this weekend, allowing students to pick up their course schedules after a problem with the school's scheduling system forced administrators to cancel the first two days of school last week.

More than 500 students came to school Saturday with a range of reactions.

"It's weird, but I'm not upset about it," said Joelle Adler, a senior. "I like having days off."

"They should have been done on time, in my opinion," said Tiffani Bonenfant, a sophomore.

"Whatever," said Jaimie Gomes, a sophomore.

Then, Gomes looked closely at her new schedule.

"Oh, I'm missing third period," she said. And French and chemistry? Not there, either.

Anisa Figueroa, a freshman, walked from New Scotland Avenue to Albany High to get her schedule. Her one-page printout listed the bell schedule, as in when the bells ring at the start and end of class. That's it.

House Principal Scott Bojanich said administrators prioritized seniors, who have more complicated schedules. Some freshmen, like Figueroa, will have to get their courses straightened out Monday.

Bojanich acknowledged that it wasn't an ideal situation, but said parents, students, teachers and administrators have rallied. Dozens of guidance counselors have been working around the clock fixing schedules one-by-one for the 2,400 students, he said. More than 50 employees came to work on the weekend. Teachers and some workers were paid, but administrators volunteered, he said.

Students lined up outside the school before doors opened at noon.

The hallways were quiet as students and a few parents filtered through. The gym was divided into areas based on students' last names, and teachers sat in widely spaced chairs waiting for students to retrieve their schedules. In another large room, students could sit for the photo on the school ID, pick up a freshman orientation folder or get a CDTA bus pass.

Outside, students wondered if they would have to stay late in the summer of 2009 to make up the days they lost at the beginning of the year. School officials announced the makeup days on Saturday: Albany High and Abrookin Vocational Technical Center students will attend classes on Nov. 4 (Election Day) and March 27, said Ron Lesko, spokesman for the school district.

Election Day was originally reserved for parent-teacher conferences, but the conferences will be rescheduled. March 27 was a professional training day for teachers. Instead, they will be in the classroom teaching.

The last day of classes is still June 25, for now.

Cathleen F. Crowley can be reached at 454-5348 or by e-mail at ccrowley@timesunion.com.

Posted by: SoulRiser
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Posted in: News by NewsBot on September 11, 2008 @ 12:00 AM



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