In Albany, the capital of New York State, there is a charter school that is 80% impoverished, 97% black, and 100% male that enjoys a 100% college acceptance rate of its graduates. Green Tech High Charter School has been leading the way for Albany’s young men of color since 2008 when the school was founded as a college preparatory alternative to the capital city’s only high school.
You may think of Albany as a leafy suburb, but in fact, residents in the capital city are largely low income and highly segregated. The area’s one high school had historically struggled. The idea for Green Tech was conceived by the community within the Albany City School District limits. The parents and students wanted an alternative to the city’s low-performing public schools. In Green Tech, ranked one of the top charter schools in New York State, they have it.
Your Education Determines Your Future
The principal of Green Tech, Paul Miller, Ph.D., can relate to his students. He grew up in a single-parent household in nearby Rochester, one of the poorest cities in the country. Miller sees his background as a strength. “Many of my young men have similar upbringings, which always helps us to establish an immediate connection,” he said in an e-mail interview.
One way he’s different from some of his students is in his determination. “I have always believed that failure is not an option.” Miller describes the No. 1 obstacle keeping our young men from succeeding is their own apathy.
“Sometimes I feel that too many of our young men have a fixed mindset, which limits them from reaching their full potential,” Miller says. But the Green Tech community is resilient, he says, and pushes the students mentally, physically, and spiritually so they can get beyond their apathy toward learning and school.
Family, Community, Education
Miller says Green Tech works because of its supportive environment, longer school days, strong curriculum, instructional design, research-based behavior system, data-driven instruction, and devoted teachers.
“Ultimately, we attempt to ‘limit the impact of poverty and resource disparities,’” on Green Tech’s students, says Miller, author of the book, We Need to Do Better: Changing the Mindset of Children Through Family, Community, and Education.
Over time the school has adapted its approach to improve outcomes for its students. “We’ve moved toward a more student-centered instruction. We’ve improved our use of data to inform instructional decisions. Green Tech uses the Results First Methodology designed by former superintendent Les Loomis. We use goals and targets to regularly analyze student performance.”
For more information about Green Tech High Charter School in Albany, New York, visit its website.