Submitted by Bob Driver, STMA High School
Last month 441 freshmen students, our largest class to date, entered the high school to embark on a four year journey that will help prepare them to become 21st Century Learners. The freshmen class has acclimated well to high school. The freshmen year is a process; and, throughout the year, the freshmen will experience many “firsts” that come with entering a new learning environment. To help ensure success, we have implemented a number of programs that focus on creating a smoother transition for the freshmen. Listed below are some of the newly developed transitional programs.
Freshmen Connections: Through Freshmen Connections, groups of 8-10 freshmen are assigned to an upperclassman who serves as their mentor. This program is new this year and is very similar to the Web Program at the middle schools. The goal of the leader is to become the “tour guide” and advocate for his/her assigned group. During the year, the group will come together 10 times – five times to focus on academics and five times to focus on the social aspects of high school. From initial feedback, all the students involved within the program have found it beneficial.
Ninth Grade Academy: The Ninth Grade Academy is another newly formed program that we are offering this year. This program is designed for students who have been identified as needing an extra boost as they start their journey at the high school. Students in this program meet each day to acquire classroom and life-long skills that will help them discover their personal direction in life.
Spring Transition Day: We are entering our third year of offering the Spring Transition Day. In late May, we invite the eighth grade students to our building for a half-day introduction to our building. During that time, the students meet teachers, administration and other staff members. They are also given a tour of the building, listen to a speaker, and go through our lunch process. This has been quite successful for our students and has alleviated the apprehension of entering the building in the fall.
Resource Room: Although this is not strictly a freshmen program, it can serve as a great resource for students who want to get into a routine of acquiring extra academic support or quiet study time. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 PM, the media center is open for our students to come in for extra math help, quiet study or to make up tests. At the present time, we have one math teacher and a volunteer tutor who staff this program. The intent of this program is to provide our students with an environment that is conducive to learning.
Our goal is to create a smooth transition for our incoming freshmen. We understand that when students feel comfortable within their surroundings, they will be able to focus more clearly on their academics. Furthermore, through relentless improvement, we want to continue to enhance our school culture through programs and opportunities that will benefit all of our students.