Team 1493 at 20: A regional robotics force

From modest beginnings two decades ago, ʿ’s Robotics Team 1493 has become a force on the Capital Region’s high school STEM landscape.

Team 1493 has advanced from our area’s prestigious regional robotics competition to the international tournament as the Capital Region’s No. 1 program twice in the last four tries. Team 1493 will be looking to make that three times in five competitions when the Tech Valley FIRST Regional Robotics tournament kicks off March 21 at MVP Arena in downtown ʿ.

Team 1493 is marking its 20th anniversary this year, and I can think of no better way for this generation of robo-Falcons to celebrate that milestone than with another trip to their competition’s biggest stage. 

I would like to extend a note of thanks and encouragement to our committed faculty advisers, most especially retired ʿ High technology teacher Rich Kissane. He started the program on a shoestring in 2004, and remains dedicated to the program and our students all these years later. 

So, too, are advisors Andre Castagna, Ph.D. (another retiree who has elected to stay on with Team 1493), Kevin Allen, Brent Cady and Allen Landman.

A successful program is always led by outstanding coaches, and we are fortunate to have some of the best. That goes for our partners, too, including National Grid and RPI. We are grateful for their enduring support.

ʿ High’s robotics program is one of the capstone STEM experiences that the City School District of ʿ offers our students. Introductions to STEM and robotics concepts begin as early as kindergarten in all of our elementary schools. Robotics is just one of the opportunities awaiting students at ʿ High, which offers 10 technology-related classes, including the Project Lead the Way engineering pathway.

You’ll be able to read more about Team 1493 and our district’s STEM focus in the upcoming winter edition of Capital Education. Until then, we wish Team 1493 the best of luck at next month’s Tech Valley tournament. 






Joseph Hochreiter

Stack of envelopes

Mail-in voting now available to all

ʿ voters will have a new and convenient option for casting ballots in this spring’s school budget vote and Board of Education election – early voting by mail. 

Early voting by mail will work much the same way that absentee voting traditionally has. The main change for this year is that the vote-by-mail option now is available to everyone. 

The City School District of ʿ will continue to automatically send absentee ballots to people the ʿ County Board of Elections designates as having a permanent disability or are in the military. 

However, everyone else also can vote by mail now, too. 

Applications for a vote-by-mail ballot will be available later this spring on our website. You also can call (518) 475-6015 and ask to have a vote-by-mail application mailed to you. 

If you want a vote-by-mail ballot sent to your home, the district clerk must receive your completed application at least seven days before the vote – by Tuesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. 

If you want to pick up your vote-by-mail ballot in-person at the district headquarters in Academy Park, you must have your completed application to the clerk by 4 p.m. the day before the budget vote – Monday, May 20.

All absentee and vote-by-mail ballots must be received in the clerk’s office by 5 p.m. on the day of the vote – Tuesday, May 21.

You can call the board clerk with any questions at (518) 475-6015.

ʿ High spring m-u-s-i-c-a-l coming up March 8-10

Get out your dictionaries, because “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is coming up in just a few weeks!

That’s the annual ʿ musical, which the school’s Theater Ensemble will present under the direction of Brian Avery from March 8-10.

Performances on March 8-9 will be at 6:30 p.m., and the matinee on March 10 will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $5 for students and seniors. 

Please note, the show contains mature content that may not be suitable for younger viewers.

For more information, you can check out the Theater Ensemble's page.

Community member posing for a photo with two student leaders

Black History Month celebrations

A big thank you to all the staff, students, families and community partners who helped create impactful and inspiring Black History Month events throughout our district this February.

As we shared in our message earlier this month, black history is American history, and we are proud during February and throughout the year to spotlight that rich cultural heritage, and the contemporary opportunities and challenges that remain present throughout our society.  

Girls' basketball team in action

Falcons focused on sectional three-peat

ʿ High’s girls’ basketball team begins its quest for a Section 2 three-peat Feb. 29 at Hudson Valley Community College.

The second-seeded Falcons (14-5) take on No. 3 Shaker in a Class AAA semifinal matchup beginning at 6 p.m. ʿ High is ranked No. 19 in the state and won the teams’ only regular-season matchup 60-54 back in mid-December. 

With a win, the Falcons will advance to next Monday’s championship game against the winner of Thursday night’s second semifinal between No. 1 Shenendehowa and No. 4 Colonie. 

Good luck Falcons!

The boys' team's season came to an end in the Class AAA quarterfinals on Sunday. The Falcons turned in an excellent performance against the region's unbeaten and top-ranked team, Colonie. The game was tied 31-31 at halftime before Colonie pulled away in the fourth quarter. Congratulations to coach Sean Brown and his team on a strong performance!

Hackett scientists posing with their awards

An out-of-this world achievement for Hackett scientists

For the third year in a row, an experiment proposed by a team of eighth-grade scientists at William S. Hackett Middle School will be performed on the International Space Station.

Late this spring, astronauts on the space station will conduct, “The effects of a microgravity environment on the growth of mold on strawberries,” a proposal crafted by Jolie Benjamin, Bria Kelley, Paige Lemmon, Nicolas Toala and Emi Zerka with the guidance of teacher Craig Ascher.

You can check out our story from earlier this month to read more.

Congratulations to our Hackett scientists on their out-of-this-world achievement!

Samir Gardner & Malachi Young

State track qualifiers

Two members of the ʿ boys’ indoor track and field team will compete in the state championships this weekend.

Senior Malachi Young took first place in the 55-meter hurdles at the Section 2 State Qualifier Meet at Hudson Valley Community College on Feb. 10. Junior Samir Gardner also took first place in the long jump at the event.

That qualified them for the state meet this Saturday at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island. 

Congratulations and good luck to both student-athletes!

Students posing for a group photo in front of the air quality monitoring van

Air monitoring program at Giffen

ʿ, the Capital Region and all of New York will benefit from cleaner air thanks to a project that got its launch at Giffen Memorial Elementary School.

The EPA has awarded $1 million for two community air-quality monitoring programs that will measure and reduce exposure to dangerous air pollutants that affect public health. The sensors will measure pollutants at Giffen and in the South End, at two other district schools yet to be determined, and also in school communities in Schenectady and Troy. The data will be used to calculate contaminants both inside and outside the buildings, and then recommendations will be issued to make the air cleaner and healthier.

City School District of ʿ Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter joined U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko and representatives from the EPA, state Departemnt of Environmental Conservation and the University at ʿ for the Feb. 26 announcement at Giffen. You can read our full news release on the launch for more information.

Pre-K student smiling and playing

Magnet & pre-K applications due March 15

A reminder that applications for the annual magnet and 4-year-old prekindergarten lotteries are due by March 15. 

The 4-year-old pre-K lottery applies to programs in all 12 of our elementary schools as well as all of our community-based programs. The magnet lottery applies to all available seats in grades K-5 at our four magnet schools: 

  • ʿ School of Humanities (ASH)
  • Dual Language Program
  • Montessori Magnet School
  • Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST)

Both lotteries will be held April 17 (note that the separate lottery for our 3-year-old pre-K programs will be held in June).

For more information about both April lotteries, including applications, you can visit our lottery page.

Free family events planned March 16

In the morning, children’s author Teryn Roberts will be at the ʿ Public Library Howe Branch for a reading and signing of her newly released picture book “I Deserve Better!” The book, for children ages 5-9, is designed to start a conversation that helps young people understand and manage difficult emotions. 

This event, sponsored by the Public Employees Federation, will be from 10 a.m.-noon on March 16.

Then, just one block down Schuyler Street at Giffen Memorial Elementary School, the ʿ chapter of The Links Inc. welcomes all families to attend the Black Family Wellness Expo from noon-3 p.m. 

The Black Family Wellness Expo will feature a wide range of healthcare-related activities and information, along with outstanding giveaways like laptop computers, bikes for children and adults, gift cards and much more. The event is co-sponsored by ʿ Medical Center and the Beta Psi Foundation.

Looking ahead

Don't forget that you can view our online calendar for a look at all the important events coming up throughout the district and at our schools! Also, be sure the contact email we have on file for you is correct so that you automatically receive regular updates through SchoolMessenger, and don't forget to follow us on our various social media platforms!

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to .