I went to Academy for high school only, and I have rather conflicted feelings towards the school.
Academy was horrible for me socially, not being from a wealthy family as the majority of my classmates were, we had very little in common. I highly suspect I was a diversity recruit. For the most part, the kids who had been there their entire lives were too cliquey to welcome the newer students nor did they ever really try.
Academically the school was/is on much better ground. The school has some fantastic teachers, in my experience mostly in the humanities and arts departments. I have great memories of certain courses, and I keep in touch with some of my former teachers to this day.
However, the administration is what really soured the experience for me in the end. There was clear favoritism among the administrators towards the faculty's and trustees' children when it came down to it. Kids whose parents held favor with the administration had the advantage when it came to course selections as they would be placed into competitive limited seat classes above students who had actually earned it.
I would say the following to anyone considering Academy: if you're already in a good school district like North Colonie or Niskayuna stay where you are, otherwise the school might be worth a shot, if you're willing to take the risks.
The Albany Academy is an absolutely incredible school. I have attended the Academy for most of my life and still thank my parents constantly for sending me here. The academics are tough, yet stimulating. The athletic teams excel supported by superb school spirit. The community as a whole is incredibly tight-knit, and I have always felt welcomed and at home. If you have the option, do your children a favor and jump at the chance to send them to this fantastic school.
One of the more recent reviews was totally on mark with their comments: "The extra money paid for tuition does not buy any more attention, greater quality, service, or get students into any better colleges than going to a good public school where there is more diversity, opportunity and options for career planning."
My son and daughter attend The Albany Academies. It has a wonderful character based education that creates a fantastic community atmosphere for all our families. I would highly recommend this institution to anyone.
My son has attended AA for the past 5 years and he adores his school. There were times that I had to battle a teacher or two but I always had the support of the administration. I believe that all schools need to work on communication from teacher to parent and AA is no different but at least they are working on it. The issues that I see at the school are not school issues but societal issues. The wealthy kids stick together (usually their parents are friends) and the every day kids stick together. The school cannot control how students and parents form relationships. No place is perfect but at least I know if there is an issue it is addressed and my son has been supported and nurtured. I think the school should show more interest in what parents want to see change and all administration should have the ability to communicate with all parents not a select few. Thank goodness I deal with the people who have the ability to understand the real world and not just the wealthy one.
While small and steeped in tradition, the middle school certainly caters to wealthy, mediocre and unmotivated students who can influence the way teachers teach. It was obvious at a recent moving up ceremony that students from multi-generational families who have been their financial backbone for decades receive all the awards and recognition. The extra money paid for tuition does not buy any more attention, greater quality, service, or get students into any better colleges than going to a good public school where there is more diversity, opportunity and options for career planning. Extracurricular activities are constrained (music program) and athletics are concentrated to a few big sports. Small size has its advantages but it is also a limiting factor in that they have to make it a one size fits all program due to limited staff and resources. Our overall experience was good until some recent experiences proved that what our child is looking for is just not there. If you want a classic education with mostly young and inexperienced teachers willing to make the parents and students happy (reduced workloads, relaxed requirements), then you have found your place.
The schools reputation of a community based support system is great. I went to this school for 14 years and can attest to the fact that it has prepared me for the challenges that I have faced since leaving.
This is a great school in every aspect. I am a former student, and while it was very, very difficult to give up the single-sex education that drew me to the school in 9th grade, I now see the benefits of combining facilities and academics. The only drawback really is that now the girls' school was forced into a higher athletic division, thus limiting ability for all to play a sport, and damaging students' self-esteem as they strive to play and continually lose.