Historical Information

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

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


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. Minutes from the original centralization vote.

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.

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

May 8, 1950 – The board votes to name the district Shenendehowa which on old Dutch maps is the designation for this area. It is approved 7-0. The 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 Shen Land Patent Map ExplanationWaterford. 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.


District voted to purchase 160 acres and to build an 1,800 pupil school to house K-12. 


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


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 G


Additions made to Arongen (now Acadia).


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

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


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 Arongen (what is currently called Acadia); gr. 7-9 in junior high (what is currently SHS Freshman Center); and gr. 10-12 in high school (what is currently Gowana)


Tesago (courage) and Skano (peace) Elementary Schools opened housing gr. K-6

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


Orenda (great spirit) and Karigon (to join together) Elementary Schools opened housing gr. K-6.


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.


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

Robert VanPatten donates land on Round Lake Road (Chango)


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.


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


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


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


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.


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

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


Four-room addition made to the high school.

Addition to Chango Elementary.

Addition to Koda and Gowana junior highs.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

History of the Carillon Bells

Before 1CarillonBellsWeb950, the district was made up of 22 one- and two-room school houses located in the towns of Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Malta, Waterford, Ballston and Stillwater (representing approximately 86 square miles)

Of these 22 school houses, 11 still had school bells. Rodney Winans, was a part of the committee that worked to centralize the district and he was the first superintendent. He brought the 11 bells together to the bell court on the main campus (the courtyard at Gowana) and had them assembled into a structure they named “the Carillon” (see picture above). The bells are a symbol that pays tribute to the schools and the towns that combined to form Shenendehowa Central Schools. Bell Tower

Age and the elements began to take their toll on the Carillon Bells. In the early 1990s, they were taken down and safely stored in one of the district’s storage facilities until they could be refurbished and displayed properly once again.Carillon Bell Tower

In August 2009, after being cleaned and refurbished, the bells were assembled into a bell tower in front of High School East to be prominently displayed once again. While the bells are no longer able to ring, they will serve as a symbol for generations to come. The bell tower was paid for through donations from the Shenendehowa Educational Foundation.


Location and status of original 22 schools that centralized to form Shen (underlined schools indicate where the bells of the Carillon came from).

  • Clifton Park #2 Grooms-N.E. corner, Sugar Hill & Ray Rd, razed
  • Clifton Park #3 Vishers Ferry (circa 1850), Clifton Park, private home (bell)
  • Clifton Park #4 Wilbur (circa 1832)-N.E. corner Moe/Crescent-Vischers Ferry Rd, Clifton Park – razed
  • Clifton Park # 5 Moe-S.W. corner Moe/Grooms Road, Clifton Park, sold at auction in 1955 for $800, now a nursery school
  • Clifton Park #6 Town Sheds (circa 1837)- N.E. corner Vischers Ferry/Clifton Park Center Roads, Clifton Park razed (site of current town hall)
  • Clifton Park #7 Waite (circa 1855) – North side Route 146, East of Waite Rd, Clifton Park, sold at auction in 1953 for $600
  • Clifton Park #8 – Originally located on Appleton Rd, annexed to Burnt Hills in 1915, Clifton Park #13 renumbered #8 North side of Ushers Road, razed (bell)
  • Clifton Park #9 Jonesville (circa 1856) – West side Main St. opposite church, sold at auction in 1977 for $10,550. (bell)
  • Clifton Park #10 Elnora – West side Rt 146A, south of Kinns Rd, sold for $1,025 private home (bell)
  • Clifton Park #11 Kinns, Skunk Hollow – South side of Kinns Rd, west of Plank Rd, burned by vandals
  • Clifton Park #12 – Northwest corner Cemetery Road/old Route 146, sold used as private business (bell)
  • Halfmoon #1 Middletown – Churchhill Road, private home (bell)
  • Halfmoon #2 Newtown – intersection Rte 146/236, private business
  • Halfmoon #3 Beach Rd – razed (bell)
  • Halfmoon #4 Cary Rd – original burned in 1950
  • Halfmoon #5 West Crescent – East side Dunsbach Rd., private home (bell)
  • Halfmoon #7 Coons Crossing – private owner
  • Halfmoon #9 – Originally located on Rte 9, moved around the corner, now a private business (bell)
  • Halfmoon #11 Crescent – North side Churchhill Road, east of Rte 9, razed (bell)
  • Malta #4 Maltaville – Rte 67 east of Rte 9, private home (bell)
  • Malta #5 Armstrong’s Corners – Southeast corner Eastline Rd and Round Lake Rd, razed
  • Malta #9 Round Lake Free Academy – razed following repeated vandalism