Program Vision

As our vision is implemented, Niskayuna students will:

  • See a problem, find multiple solutions to solving that problem and understand that the process involves making mistakes.
  • Demonstrate resilience: Understand that mistakes are not failure and encouraged.
  • Understand that there are multiple pathways to success and know how to access them.
  • Collaborate: Build a project in real time with other people.
  • Be kind.
  • Become fluent in modern technology (used in work/professional settings).
  • Navigate social media in a healthy way.
  • Develop a network of support to help reach goals, celebrate success, and navigate challenges.
  • Know the mental health supports that are available and feel comfortable accessing them.

Vision for Curriculum and Programs

Hands on and/or Project Based Learning in All Disciplines

  • Students work on real world problems: authentic tasks that involve cross curricular learning and working on a team
  • Students are consistently asked to be problem solvers

Student-Centered Learning

  • Flexible delivery style to meet all students
  • Emphasis is on growth toward standards and recognizing progress through narratives and not solely grades
  • Assignments are individualized

Flexible Instructional Time

  • Students have opportunities to work on projects until they are complete and begin new projects on their own timeline
  • Students demonstrate mastery of standards at different times that allow them to move at different rates (acceleration & extended learning time)

A Culture of Authentic, Real-World Experiences

  • Students have off-campus learning experiences, including short- and-long-term internships
  • The entire district is a classroom; Internship opportunities are available in all facets of the organization
  • Opportunities to demonstrate what is learned through more authentic (less paper-and-pencil) assessments and work portfolios

Vision for Partnerships

Working Together to Support Kids

  • An early learning (age 1-5) partnership program
  • County agencies are in schools working with kids and families
  • Adult mentors, representing different backgrounds and career areas, promote confidence, social development and relationship-building skills
  • Parents are in school regularly using school resources to help their children (e.g. Parent University, workshops with teachers)

Expanding Opportunity

  • All students engage in community service
  • Partnerships with other school districts and shared services to expand opportunities for students and access to skilled professionals
  • Continue to expand University in the high school
  • A culture of partnerships in the organization supports in-district internships

Vision for School Environment and Culture

Flexible Settings and Work Spaces

  • Space within the school promotes collaboration and can accommodate multiple uses
  • Work happens in school, but also outside of it
  • Space in each school where the entire school and community can come together to learn and celebrate in their own building
  • Eco-friendly buildings that are efficient, socially responsible and real-live learning labs

Social and Emotional Growth and Support

  • A diverse faculty and staff meets the needs of all students
  • Continued social, emotional, and equity training for all staff members
  • Mental health facilities on-site to support students and families
  • Knowledge and social emotional level determine advancement, not age and assigned grade level
  • Every student has an adult mentor – someone they know cares about them and trusts them
  • Kindness, appreciation of others and equity in opportunities is embedded in all aspects of the school
  • Students and staff are eager to come to school; When students are not engaged there is space and support to enable them to re-enter the learning community when they are ready
  • Common gathering spaces for eating and other activities that promote nutrition, positive social interactions, and greater awareness of wellness and culture

Program Vision Through the Years

Primary/Elementary Years

The Foundation

  • Every student has direct instruction on non-negotiable standards with the emphasis still on project-based learning
  • World Language instruction and exposure to many cultures begins in elementary school
  • Emphasis on intervention in K-1 so students can build on a strong foundation in future years

Middle Years

Teamwork and Growth

  • Students are on teams, of faculty and students who they stay with for multiple years
  • Students engage in project-based learning opportunities with outside mentors
  • The team setting enables a focus on problem-solving and communication
  • Mentors provide an opportunity for real-world practice and exploration

High School

Opportunities for In-Depth Exploration

  • Students take specialized courses, earn college credit and/or industry credentials
  • Guaranteed internships for all interested students
  • Expanded pathways to graduation, college and careers