Historical Information

The Shenendehowa Central School District has a grand and honored history. What began as one- and two-room school houses is now one of the largest central school districts in New York’s Capital Region.

A map of the district with the 22 schoolhouses marked by red dot

The Shenendehowa Central School District was organized on January 14, 1950, by a vote of the residents of 21 former common school districts and one union-free school district.

These 22 schools, educating children in the towns of Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Malta, Waterford, Ballston and Stillwater (representing approximately 86 square miles), became officially centralized on July 1, 1950.

  • old photo of children standing in front of an old school house
    Clifton Park School #2 - Grooms Corners. Groom Road, Northeast corner of Sugar Hill & Ray Road. Photo taken September 1914. Teacher - Alma Wood. Razed. Photo from district archives.

From 1950 through 1953, the district housed grades K-8 in 16 one-, two- and three-room school houses plus an eight-room school house in Round Lake. All high school students (gr. 9-12) were transported to one of four high schools: Ballston Spa, Mechanicville, Waterford or Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

In 1951, the School District voted to purchase 160 acres to build an 1,800-pupil school for kindergarten through grade 12. This land was part of the Shenendahowe or Clifton Park Patent of 1708. The Iroquois word “Shenendahowe” means Great Plains. That’s how the district became know as Shenendehowa Central Schools.

Building Shenendehowa

1950

January 14, 1950 – The Committee of 50 organized a vote of residents from 21 common school districts and one union free school district in Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Malta, Waterford Ballston and Stillwater. Officially centralized and named “Central School District No. 2, of the Towns of Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Malta, Waterford, Ballston and Stillwater, County of Saratoga, New York.” 962 votes were cast, 769 in favor, 189 opposed, 4 blank ballots. 

January 23, 1950 – The first meeting of the trustees of Central School District #2 Clifton Park was held at the school house at Clifton Park: Alice Goddard, Alfred Stiles, Carl Easton, Neil Hesson Jr., Phillip Morse, C.W. Cyphers and Ralf Beck. Neil Hesson was the first board president was selected by the board

February 20, 1950 – The board discusses a name for the district. “Consideration is given to Clifton Park, Halfmoon or an Indian or other individual associated with the area.” (reported from Board minutes).

Shen Land Patent Map

March 12, 1950 – The following names and historic connection were proposed: Mahican; Mahican-aki; Iriquois; Mohawk; Dekanawida; Hayanwatha (Hiawatha).

May 8, 1950 – The board votes to name the district Shenendehowa based on an old Dutch map that designates the area the district intended to purchase as Shenendahowe. It is approved 7-0. There are many different ways to spell ShenendehowaThe name would not be formally changed with the State Education Department until 1973.

June 5, 1950 – The first Supervising Principal Charles Frier is hired for $5,700.

August 2, 1950 – First Budget Vote for $208,561 for the 1950-51 school year – 123 ballots cast.  (117 yes, 6 no). Resolution: Shall the Board of Education be authorized to continue, where possible, the respective contractual relations in effect in each district prior to centralization for the instruction of pupils and expend the necessary sums for tuition and transportation of the pupils of such districts, and raise the necessary sums therefore by tax on the taxable property of the Central District that for the aforesaid purpose the Central District shall designate the following schools:- District #1 Waterford. Waterford, N.Y., for grades kindergarten through 12: #1 Ballston, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School, Ballston Lake, N. Y., for grades 9-12: Halfmoon-Stillwater #10, Mechanicville, N. Y. for grades kindergarten through 12: Milton #1, Ballston Spa, N. Y., for grades 9-12: Glenville #15, Alplaus, N.Y. for grades kindergarten through 6

September 11, 1950 – The district approves offering the National School Lunch Program.

1951

District voted to purchase 160 acres and to build an 1,800 pupil school to house K-12. This land was part of the Shenendahowe or Clifton Park Patent of 1708.

October 20, 1951 voters approve a referendum to build a school building to accommodate 1,300 students grades K-12. and bus garage on the land. 

1953

Residents vote on March 21, 1953 to provide additional funds to add six classrooms to the school to accommodate an additional 180 students.

Kindergarten students and gr. 8-12 moved into the main building that was Shenendehowa Central Schools (now Gowana/Acadia)

1954

Grades 1-7 moved into rooms in the main building (now Gowana/Acadia) as they were being completed closing the numerous one- and two-room school houses.

Configuration change: K-12 in one building (what is currently Gowana/Acadia)

1955

District votes to build a new senior/junior high classroom wing and playground.

1956

Residents vote to add an addition to the high school wing (currently Gowana/Acadia)

1957

Long-range plan report

1958

Additions made to Main Elementary (now Acadia).

1962

A new wing was built on to the main building (now Gowana/Acadia).

Configuration change: K-6 in Main Elementary (what is currently called Acadia) and gr. 7-12 in the High School (what is currently called Gowana).

1963

Aerial photo of Shen campus from 1963 with just on building on it

1964

District purchases 51 adjoining acres (Karigon/Orenda and Tesago/Skano are built on this parcel). Shenendehowa Junior High (called Middle A, then Koda, now called HS West Building) opened housing gr. 7-9.

Configuration change: K-6 in Main Elementary (what is currently called Acadia); gr. 7-9 in junior high; and gr. 10-12 in high school (what is currently Gowana)

1966-67

1967 Aerial view of campus

South Elementary Building (currently Tesago/Skano) opened housing gr. K-6

District purchases an additional 25 acres adjacent to the campus (bus garage area).

1968

North Elementary Building (currently Karigon/Orenda) opened housing gr. K-6.

Main, South and North Elementary buildings renamed: Arongen, Tesago, Skano, Orenda, and Karigon

1970

Shenendehowa High School was built and housed grade 9-12. The original high school building (currently called Gowana) is named Middle School B and the original junior high school building (currently called HS West Building) is named Middle School A. They house gr. 6-8.

Configuration change: K-5 in five elementary schools; gr. 6-8 in two middle schools; and gr. 9-12 in the high school.

District purchased 94 acres east of Moe Road.

1972Aerial view of campus in 1972

Jerome Rosen donates land to on Cresent-Vishers Ferry Road (Okte)

Robert VanPatten donates land on Round Lake Road (Chango)

1973

In compliance with State Education Law, the official name of the district was changed to “Shenendehowa Central School District at Elnora” (at the time Elnora was the primary post office).

Because of increasing enrollments, the ninth grade was moved to the middle schools and sixth grade was moved to the elementary schools.

Configuration change: K-6 in five elementary schools; gr. 7-9 in two middle schools; and gr. 10-12 in the high school.

Okte (to achieve) Elementary School opened housing gr. K-6.

1974

Chango (happy and cheerful) Elementary School opened housing gr. K-6.

1977

Middle School A is renamed Koda (friend) Junior High (currently HS West Building) and Middle School B is renamed Gowana (great) Junior High.

1983

District’s name formally changes to “Shenendehowa Central School District at Clifton Park.”

1987

All campus kindergarten classes are moved to Arongen.

Configuration change: Arongen (now called Acadia) K-6, North and South elementary schools are gr. 1-6, Okte and Chango are gr. K-6; gr. 7-9 in two junior highs, gr. 10-12 in the high school.

1988

District office moves from Winan’s Wing in Arongen (currently named Acadia) to Fairchild Square.

Additions to Skano/Tesago and Karigon/Orenda are made.

1989

Four-room addition made to the high school.

Addition to Chango Elementary.

Addition to Koda and Gowana junior highs.

1992

Arongen (currently called Acadia) closes because aging infrastructure is in poor condition. New building opens on Clifton Park Center Road. It is named Arongen and houses grades K-6. Kindergartners in housed in the closed now Arongen building (Acadia) move back to campus schools.

Configuration change: K-6 in seven elementary schools; gr. 7-9 in two junior highs; and gr. 10-12 in the high school.

1994

Old Arongen renovated, reopened and renamed Acadia (place of plenty) it houses all of grade 6.

Configuration change: K-5 in seven elementary schools; g. 6 in Acadia; gr. 7-9 in two junior highs; and gr. 10-12 in the high school.

1998Aerial view of campus 1998

Additions to Gowana/Acadia facility and the high school are made.

Configuration change: K-5 in seven elem. schools; gr. 6 and 7 in Acadia, gr. 6, 7 and 8 in Gowana; gr. 8 and 9 in Koda (now called SHS Freshman Center); and gr. 10-12 in the high school.

1999

Third middle school added to Gowana/Acadia building. It is named Koda. Four science classrooms are added to the old Koda and it is renamed Shenendehowa High School West. The high school is renamed Shenendehowa High School East.

Configuration change: K-5 in seven elementary schools; gr. 6, 7, and 8 in three middle schools; all of gr. 9 and half of grade 10 in Shen High School West; and half of gr. 10 and all of grade 11 and 12 in Shen High School East.

2000

Aerial view of campus in 2000

2002

The district offices move from the leased space at 1 Fairchild Square to the district-owned property at 5 Chelsea Place.

2004

The new wing at the Shenendehowa High School East Building opens. HS East now houses all students in grades 10-12 and HS West now houses grade 9 only.

2007

Shatekon (a balanced life), the district’s eighth elementary school opens. It is attached to Arongen Elementary School.

June 2009

The pool is opened attached to the Middle School Complex.

2009

The new football/track stadium is opened at High School East complete with a turf field, new track, concessions stand and restrooms. The bell tower is also built housing the 11 bells from the district’s carillon.

2010

The new trails project opens connecting the campus trails to the Town of Clifton Park trails network.

2013

Fitness center/wrestling room opens in High School East.

2016

The Board of Education adopts the district logo, seal and student activities logo.

2017

The NYS Department of State Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code certified the registration of three service marks pursuant to Article 24 of the General Business Law – the district logo, seal and student activities logo.

2018

The district launches the licensing program and the Shen Shops for purchase of spirit wear.

The district sells 37.59 acres of land adjacent to Shatekon to the town of Clifton Park on February 28, 2018, for $1.1 million.