Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to academic success, Bishop Maginn High School in Albany will transform its educational approach beginning next fall, offering an innovative learning experience customized to the strengths of each student.

The new, individualized model, known as CLASS (Customized Learning Accelerates Student Success), will also provide students with the opportunity to:

* graduate high school with more than a year's worth of college credits,

* choose from courses not typically offered at high schools in the region, and

* participate in internship programs.

"This new approach takes learning beyond the walls of the classroom, combining strong academics with real-world experience," said Christopher Signor, Bishop Maginn's principal. "There are very few high schools in the Capital Region that offer this type of learning, and none that have the proximity to -- and the ability to collaborate with -- state government the way that we do."

The program involves experiential learning through school-day internships at state agencies, the Legislature and the New York State Museum, all located within a block of the school.

In addition, a roster of college-level courses, to be taught by Maria College professors at Bishop Maginn High School, will be available to students through a unique partnership between the two institutions.

"This new approach gives students access to the best of all possible worlds -- a rigorous academic program and individualized learning all within the context of a caring Catholic school community. We look forward to watching how this program unfolds and flourishes at Bishop Maginn," said Giovanni Virgiglio, interim superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Albany.

Two years ago, Bishop Maginn moved to its current location on Park Avenue -- adjacent to the state museum property -- to reduce its operational expenses. School administrators saw an opportunity to capitalize on the benefits of the new location, as it allows for an easy walk to the state government complex and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

This program builds further on those community partnership and, moreover, fully integrates Maria College professors into the Maginn campus.

"Bishop Maginn continues to expand and explore the possibilities that are inherent in Catholic education, where a foundation of faith shapes and informs every class and every encounter," said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. "In the shadow of our historic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Maginn gives its students a bird's-eye view of the intersection of faith and public service, faith and science, faith and art, faith and everyday life."

Bishop Maginn students will also benefit from being part of a growing international student population that provides a global perspective through first-hand interaction with other cultures. This year, the school is hosting students from China, Myanmar, Vietnam and elsewhere.

"Bishop Maginn will be providing a critically-needed alternative that not only prepares students for college, but for life," Mr. Signor said. "I truly believe this is going to become a model of what education in the 21st century and beyond can and should be."