ASH recognized nationally for academic growth and achievement

ASH recognized nationally for academic growth and achievement

A picture of an ASH student reading a book in the school's library

Albany School of Humanities is one of 65 schools in the United States and just two in New York recognized as a National ESEA Distinguished School for exceptional student achievement. 

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators has recognized ASH for making significant improvements for its students. The school was recognized in National ESEA Distinguished Schools Category 1, noting exceptional student performance and academic growth, as determined by state education departments.

“We are so excited for the entire Albany School of Humanities community to see their dedication to the success of every student recognized in this incredibly meaningful way,” said City School District of Albany Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter.

“The significant progress that ASH has made is a testament to the commitment that Principal Marie Culihan and her team have made to an asset-based approach for every student and a school-wide focus on academic success.”

The percentage of ASH students achieving proficiency on last spring’s statewide math and ELA exams increased by more than 30 percentage points in grade 3 math and ELA, and in grade 4 math. The percentage of ASH students achieving proficiency in grade 4 ELA also increased 17 percentage points, and by 20 percentage points in grade 5 math (see tables below).

GRADE 3 2022 2023 GAIN
ELA 33 67 +34
Math 41 76 +35

GRADE 4 2022 2023 GAIN
ELA 46 63 +17
Math 39 73 +34

GRADE 5 2022 2023 GAIN
ELA 29 30 +1
Math 20 40 +20

The State Education Department has indicated that ASH had the highest level of academic growth of any school in the state on last spring’s exams. ASH also had the highest percentages of students in grades 3-4 achieving proficiency among the City School District of Albany’s 11 elementary schools. 

“This award and accomplishment come as a direct result of an all-hands-on approach where every member of our ASH community contributes to the success of student outcomes,” said Culihan, in her seventh school year as the ASH principal. 

“By working together, we have been able to ensure rigorous instruction, expose all students to grade-level standards and maximize our resources to increase student achievement and address their social-emotional growth.”

Schools are selected for the national ESEA recognition by each state’s education department. Each state can select two schools each year. Selection is based on the following criteria:

  • A poverty rate of at least 35% for the selected year

    • 50% of ASH students are in the economically disadvantaged subgroup

  • Demonstrated high academic achievement, which may include high academic growth
  • Met or exceeded state-determined accountability criteria

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) originally was passed as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” in the 1960s. President Johnson specifically created ESEA’s Title I to provide funds to help schools serving poor communities close the skills gap in reading, writing and math with wealthier communities. 

The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program was established in 1996 to recognize schools that achieve these goals. Culihan and her team will be recognized in February at the National ESEA Conference in Portland, Ore.

“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication of everyone in our school community,” Culihan said. “This award is truly well-deserved for our entire team – faculty, staff, students and families.”

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