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Albany High School (California)

Albany High School (California)

Albany High School (AHS) is a comprehensive public high school located in Albany, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. The school educates approximately 1,300 students from grades 9 through 12.

Albany High School
Albany High School is located in San Francisco Bay Area
Albany High School
Albany High School
Albany High School is located in California
Albany High School
Albany High School
Albany High School is located in the United States
Albany High School
Albany High School
603 Key Route Boulevard

California 94706

Coordinates37°53′45″N 122°17′33″W [24]
TypePublic high school
School districtAlbany Unified School District
PrincipalAlexa Ritchie
Enrollment1,164 (2016-2017)[1]
Color(s)Red and white[2]
Newspaper*The Cougar [25] *
WebsiteAlbany High School Official Website [26]


In 2001, Albany was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for the maximum term of six years. Albany High School was #756 nationally ranked in 2016, and #119 among California high schools.[3]

The school is known for its athletic, science, math, and music programs.

Music programs

The music program at the school serves approximately 250 students and supports choral, orchestral, concert band, and jazz programs. Craig Bryant is the Director of Instrumental Music, a position he has held since the fall of 2007. Students participate in the Jazz School Studio bands, the Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco Youth Orchestras, and the CMEA and CBDA All-State Bands, as well as with other area honor groups.

The instrumental music program is made up of two concert bands, two jazz bands, and a string orchestra. There are approximately 140 students involved in the program, with about half the jazz students also participating in one of the concert bands. Each group at the school meets three times per week to rehearse (for 50 minutes on Mondays, and 90 on Tuesdays/Thursdays or Wednesdays/Fridays).

The ensembles at AHS perform four main concerts a year in addition to participating in festivals and recording competitions. The groups have garnered positive attention through performances at Yoshi's Oakland, Ashkenaz, the Freight and Salvage, and other Bay Area venues.

The Albany High School Jazz Band has received top ratings and awards at the Folsom, Reno, and Santa Cruz Jazz Festivals. The 2010 group performed as a featured ensemble at the 2010 California Music Education Association State Conference in Sacramento. The band was also selected as a finalist for the 2010 Next Generation Festival, presented by the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the 2010 Essentially Ellington festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, New York.

STEM programs

Albany High School has many competing STEM teams, most notably Science Bowl, National Ocean Science Bowl, and Science Olympiad [27] .

Since it was founded at Albany Middle School (Division B) in 2013, Albany's Science Olympiad has qualified for state 4 times. In 2017 and 2018, the Albany High School Science Olympiad (Division C) team won first place in the Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad, and placed 5th and 3rd overall respectively at State. [4]

The Science Bowl team won the 1993 Department of Energy National Science Bowl competition.[5] . Albany High won its 2008 Science Bowl regional competition, defeating academic rival Mission San Jose High School. In 2009, Albany won its regional National Science Bowl competition, placing fifth nationwide.

In 2012, the school National Ocean Sciences Bowl team went to Baltimore for Nationals, where they took seventh place. In 2013, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl team went to Milwaukee for Nationals and took fifth place. In 2016, Albany went to North Carolina for Nationals, where it won first place in the 2016 Department of Commerce National Ocean Sciences Bowl competition.[6] In 2018, Albany won the regional NOSB competition, and placed fourth overall in the national finals in Colorado later that year.


Athletic teams

Athletic teams of Albany High School belong to the Tri Counties Athletic League (TCAL) in the North Coast Section (NCS) of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which manages all high school sports teams in California.[7] Fall sports include football, girls' and boys' cross country, girls' volleyball, girls' golf, and girls' tennis. Sports offered during the winter are girls' and boys' soccer, girls' and boys' basketball, and girls' and boys' wrestling. Sports teams offered during the spring include softball, baseball, girls' and boys' track and field, girls' and boys' swimming, boys' golf, and boys' tennis.[7]

Athletic achievements

Albany High's soccer team was successful in 2010, with the varsity boys' and girls' teams going undefeated in the winter season of 2010. The girls' volleyball team went to the Northern California State Championships in 2011, but lost. In February 2014, the girls' wrestling team took first place at the CIF State tournament.[8]

Campus history

Albany High School's new building

Albany High School's new building

In 1997, Albany High School’s main building and gymnasium, both completed in 1934, were deemed to be seismically unsound. They were demolished, and construction began on a new campus. During the four years of construction, between 1997 and 2001, classes were held in portable trailers. The new school building and gymnasium opened in 2001.

During the 2004-2005 school year, several security cameras were installed in the building to prevent vandalism.

In 2004, the school suffered overcrowding due to an overly large freshman class. The large influx of students was caused in part by an Albany Unified School District policy, which allowed students from other cities such as El Cerrito and Richmond to enter Albany schools.

The school mascot is the cougar and the school colors are red and white.

The current principal as of the 2017-2018 school year is Alexa Ritchie, who was formerly the principal of Marin Elementary School in the same school district.[9]

Academic competitions

Albany participates in many local competitions, including NAQT, NOSB's Otter Bowl (which they won in 2006 and took fourth in nationwide), and the National Science Bowl, in which they also took fourth place nationwide.

The school hosts a well-established Model United Nations program. In the 2010-2011 academic year, Albany became home to a forensic (Speech and Debate) team. The Albany High Speech and Debate team[10] is a member of the Golden Gate Speech Association and the National Forensic League. Both programs are established in club format; while other local schools have classes dedicated solely to Model UN and debate, Albany runs both programs as student clubs.

Instagram postings controversy

On May 1, 2017, four Albany High students filed suit against the school arguing that they had been punished unfairly for their involvement with racist harassment on Instagram. An attempt at restorative justice was made, as the school administration made the decision to hire SEEDS [28] , a restorative justice training program, to try to resolve the conflict. The students and their lawyers claimed that the school had violated their First Amendment rights by punishing them for actions that took place outside of school grounds and outside of school hours.[11] Complaints by the four students also include complaints about an incident in which the students were refused police protection by Jeff Anderson as a growing body of students grew outside of the office where they were meeting. As the four students attempted to leave through their peers, two of the students were struck in the head by an enraged demonstrator, while others hid in a locked vehicle for safety, prompting complaints that the school mishandled the situation and allowed an unruly assembly to take place. [12] Many teachers did not take attendance or mark students as absent for attending the unsanctioned assembly. In the interim between the original incident and the lawsuit, principal Jeff Anderson was reassigned within the district, and former principal Ron Rosenbaum took over as interim principal for the remainder of the school year.[13]

On May 26, Judge James Donato granted an order to halt the expulsion hearing for plaintiff Kevin Chen, which was scheduled for June 1 of that year.[14] The ruling stated, "The Court is also advised that Chen is a rising senior about to start the college admissions process, and being wrongly expelled would likely cause irreparable harm to his admission prospects." [15]

Block schedule

Albany High changed from a 7-period per day schedule to a block schedule during the 2005–2006 school year. Instead of having seven 57-minute periods per day, the new block schedule consists of two blocks, A and B. Block A, on Tuesday and Thursday, has 94-minute periods for periods 1, 3, 5***, and 7. Block B, on Wednesday and Friday, has 94-minute periods for periods 2, 4, and 6 with an added 40-minute Advisory period between 2nd and 4th period. On Monday, all classes last for 51 minutes. The first class always begins at 8:10 am, except on finals week.[16]

Neighborhoods zoned to Albany

The entire city of Albany is zoned to this school.[17] The University Village development, a student housing complex of the University of California Berkeley which houses families, is assigned to this school.[18]

Extracurricular activities

  • AHS varsity softball

  • AHS newspaper - The Cougar[19]

  • AHS baseball

  • AHS volleyball

  • AHS video production website

  • AHS Model United Nations Club

  • AHS Science Olympiad

  • AHS National Science Bowl

  • AHS National Ocean Science Bowl

  • AHS Speech and Debate Club

Notable graduates

  • Tim Armstrong, 1984 - punk rock, musician, singer and guitarist for Operation Ivy and Rancid[20]

  • Rick "Grizzly" Brown, 1978 - former professional strongman; competed in World's Strongest Man competitions in 1985 (6th) and 1986 (8th)

  • John Crewdson, 1963 - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author

  • Matt Freeman, 1984 - bass guitar player for Operation Ivy and Rancid[20]

  • Edi Gathegi, 1997 - actor; House MD, Twilight

  • Tyson Griffin, 2002 - professional MMA fighter, formerly with the UFC[21]

  • Ron Hansen, 1956 - Major League Baseball player; 1960 American League Rookie of the Year; one of the few players in history to turn an unassisted triple play, July 30, 1968

  • Louis A. Mackey - NFL football player

  • Lil B The BasedGod, 2005 - member of The Pack rap group, real name Brandon McCartney

  • Young L, 2005 - member of The Pack rap group, real name Lloyd Omadhebo[22]

  • Ron Silliman, 1964 - poet and author

  • Kellita Smith, 1986 - actress, The Bernie Mac Show

  • Jim Thiebaud, 1983 - skateboarder, co-founder of Real Skateboards

  • Warren Thomas, 1977 - comedian; winner of the 1987 San Francisco International Comedy Competition; writer for TV show In Living Color

  • Amani Toomer - NFL football player (attended AHS for one year before transferring to De La Salle in Concord)

See also

  • Albany Unified School District


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