The Freshman Academy is a program being developed and implemented in the 2009-2010 school year as a small learning community to improve the success of students as they transition to high school. There will be two Freshman teams. Each team has approximately 100 students with one English, math, social studies, science, and special education teacher. Students are still able to take their elective classes and higher level classes, but these may not be within a team.
Why Implement a Freshman Academy?
Our world is changing and so is education. How will the Freshman Academy at the New San Juan High address these changes?
Freshmen will need increased skills in the 21st Century workplace. The Freshman Academy promotes interpersonal skills, effective use of resources and a high degree of accountability. All students will have to reach high standards in reading writing, math, speaking, listening and thinking skills.
Students will understand that there are no acceptable excuses for poor attendance, incomplete schoolwork, or inappropriate behavior. Those attitudes are not tolerated in the workplace and are not tolerated at the New San Juan High School. Students who need extra assistance in those areas will have the opportunity to extend their school day with us.
Research shows that students are more successful in smaller personalized groups. Most young people must feel connected to significant adults and a positive peer group to have the support to be an accomplished student.
Freshman Academy Goals
To increase the graduation rate
To increase individual GPA
To facilitate the transition into high school
To decrease the amount of learning problems associated with attendance and behavior
Introduce 9th grade students to the Spartan Way and to provide exposure to each of the career paths we offer here at New San Juan High School
Improved student achievement as measured by the number of students promoted to 10th grade and number of students passing courses and earning all credits.
Improved student attendance as measured by the number of students in school and attending all classes on-time.
Having 9th graders become more connected to a set of teachers and peers through the team approach.
Encouraging students to participate in extra-curricular activities and attending school functions.
Introduce 9th graders to career pathways (Construction; Engineering & Design; Hospitality Management; Transportation Technology; Arts, Media, & Entertainment).
All incoming first time freshmen are assigned to a team of students (numbers TBD). (A team is an organizational arrangement that assigns students and teachers to teams).
A summer camp orientation experience is offered to all incoming 9th graders.
Consists of cross-curricular teams of English, math, science, and social studies teachers with one member serving as a lead teacher
Contains courses of varying abilities, i.e. honors, regular, extra help, etc.
Has a common planning period for staff to meet.
Schedules ninth grade students in “all freshmen” classes with no upper classmen in those classes. Students remain with teachers in their Teams the entire year.
What are the benefits to students?
Increased academic achievement
Increased student attendance, attitudes, and behavior
Promotion of positive feelings about self and others
Increased number of students going on to 10th grade
Lower student drop out rate
Increased extracurricular participation rate
Development student awareness of academic/career options
Stronger student-teacher relationships
Involvement of each student along with his/her parent/guardian in a guidance and advisory system.
Teachers work as an interdisciplinary team, but they will also remain involved with their subject area departments. Academy teachers continue teaching courses in grades 10-12.
Academy teacher teams plan team conferences with students and parents as necessary.
Included in the Academy are an administrator, counselor and a special education teacher.
Each team establishes a common system of procedures and expectations.
Each team works to identify common problems and to discuss possible solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my student still be able to take electives? Yes
Will my student still be able to take Accelerated classes, i.e., Geometry, and Honors courses? Yes
Can my student take World Languages? Yes
Some of the activities we will use to make our vision a reality:
Team exhibitions & projects
Team school and community service activities
Team field trips
Career learning experiences
Ninth grade mentoring program (with senior class guides)
Ninth grade seminar/advisory program
4 year educational plans
Based on the Guiding Principles for the NEW SAN JUAN HIGH SCHOOL: “Innovation for Excellence”
•Creating personalized learning experiences •Developing student achievement through real-world connections •Empowering global citizens for the 21st Century