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Learning Technology Grant Program Overview: City School District of Albany

Award Years: 2021-2024

Albany Online: E-learning Instructional Design

About the District

The City School District of Albany (CSDA) serves 9,000 students, including eleven elementary schools, four middle schools and one high school. Poverty and low academic achievement are major issues affecting the entire district and, in particular, this project’s student target populations. The 2019-20 New York State Report Card shows that 63.9% of Albany students are economically disadvantaged. Further, 79% of Albany’s people of color, (Black, Hispanic, and Asian), live in poverty (U.S. Census, 2019).

Project Scope

During the first-year planning phase, the district will carefully craft instructional design principles to share with staff and then select, review, and implement an LMS. The planning phase will allow the district to build a firm foundation for training teachers to create rich online learning experiences for both student courses and staff professional development.  The flexible and robust learning management system will  support the development and delivery of e-learning courses for both teachers and students.

The Albany Online e-learning coordinator will manage all activities of this three-year project plan and will be a member of the district’s instructional technology coaching team. A critical first step for the e-Learning Coordinator is to convene the e-learning instructional design work group to develop e-learning instructional design principles, create an e-Learning guidebook and train staff to design curriculum using these concepts. This group will also research, review, acquire, and implement a learning management system (LMS) to facilitate the shift to online learning opportunities.

In years two and three, a cohort of teachers will be trained using professional development created as a part of the program and will include 100% of Albany High School Night School teachers and administrators and 10% of Albany High School teachers and administrators. Online classes will be piloted using the selected LMS and curricula developed by staff for a minimum of four Albany High School classes at Night School (and other early adopter high school classes).

Target Population(s)

Students in the Night School program, a high school program serving grade 11 and 12 students who cannot attend the day school program, will be served first by the project, followed by all Albany High School students. The district identified the Night School population as especially in need of support to reach graduation.
The Night School program provides an alternative setting to students at risk of low attendance, school failure, or dropping out. Students in the high school are high-need, and 71%  are economically disadvantaged.

Three groups of staff will be targeted in this project: (1) turnkey trainers offering professional development in district who will be trained to develop e-learning instructional design principles and to use a learning management system (LMS) to create online content, (2) high school teachers, specifically those providing instruction in the Night School; and (3) staff and administrators who will complete newly developed online e-learning courses professional development.

Goals & Objectives


Develop a district-wide e-learning design framework to inform and implement rich blended learning environments and courses for students and staff.


  • Hire e-learning coordinator and convene e-learning instructional design working group.
  • Develop rubric based on research-based principles of e-learning instructional design and incorporate the rubric into e-learning instructional design guidebook.
  • Design staff PD sessions (as detailed in training outline, section E. 1) to address tenets/respective areas of e-learning instructional design guide rubric.
  • Select and configure a robust, flexible LMS based on selection rubric.
  • Continuously improve e-learning instructional design guide and PD sessions based on formative data from teachers and students.


Create e-learning opportunities for students and staff at AHS using the e-learning instructional design guide principles and related professional development session calendar.


  • Identify teaching and instructional leadership staff for training (10% of AHS teachers/100% of Night School teachers and leadership).
  • Develop a minimum of four blended learning courses in chosen LMS for AHS Night School based on e-learning instructional design guide and professional development.
  • Implement teacher professional development for effectively positioning e-learning courses within the chosen LMS, fully leveraging its functions and features.
  • Continuously improve instructional design of e-learning courses and PD for teachers during implementation throughout grant term.


Implement e-learning in four Albany High School Night School courses (multiple course sections).


  • Pilot students are highly engaged in pilot lessons (turn in 90% of assignments, average 200 minutes weekly of logged actions within LMS).
  • Pilot students in courses achieve intended learning outcomes (80% course pass rate, 80% Regents participation when course culminates in a Regents exam).
  • Pilot students show increases in overall academic measures from baseline. Comparisons will be participating students pre to post LMS coursework and between participating students and statistically matched non-participating students pre to post LMS coursework (25% increase over previous Night School participants and similarly matched AHS peers in regard to attendance rate, course pass rate, and Regents participation).
  • Pilot students show growth in non-academic behavioral measures from baseline to end of course, as compared with prior year/semester. Comparisons will be participating students pre to post and between participating students and statistically matched non-participating students pre to post LMS coursework (25% reduction in discipline events, 25% increase in virtual engagement as applied to 2020-2021).
  • Pilot students show growth in social-emotional learning (SEL) measures from beginning of course to end (measures will include student GRIT (passion and perseverance for long-term goals) scores, student agency/independence scores, and growth mindset scores collected via pre and post LMS coursework web surveys.


Plan for district-wide e-learning at the secondary level, and for targeted staff PD.


  • Broaden scope of LMS implementation to incorporate e-learning within the LMS to grade 8 at the middle school, to allow for grade 9 acceleration to take place. Enrichment activities to support extended elementary and summer programs will be planned.
  • Transition from use of MS Teams and Google Meet to the new LMS for district-offered PD activities, focusing at inception on the annual, mandatory trainings now offered via a third party. This will broaden to a complete menu of PD opportunities fully online within the LMS.

Contact Information