Freshman Academy

The goal of the Huntsville City School Freshman Academy is to ease the transition from middle school to high school and to ensure that freshmen successfully graduate within four years with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in college and career.

Across the nation, high school freshmen have the highest rates of failures, discipline referrals and truancy. Often called the "make it or break it" year, ninth grade can be a very difficult time for teenagers learning to navigate new territory while developing skills for success in high school and beyond.  

What to Expect at the Freshman Academy

While each high school may house its Freshman Academy a little differently, the fundamental philosophy of additional student support remains the same. Incoming freshman students will be scheduled into teams with a group of core teachers who are able to plan together, share common expectations and help students acquire the skills necessary to successfully navigate through this transition year.  Students will still experience mainstream high school through elective courses and extracurricular activities.

For a list of Freshman Academy contacts at all of our schools, click here to consult our staff directory.

Teams will embed the concepts of Sean Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, and freshman academy students will receive a personal copy of Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Personal Workbook.

Freshman Transition Standards

Freshman transition standards, developed by George Washington University and Dr. Rebecca Dedmond, must address a combination of personal/social, academic, and career and life skills.

Personal Social Development
  • Help students envision a future that is productive, achievable and stimulating.
  • Provide the framework to help students learn to prepare for the future and understand the consequences of today's choices and actions.
  • Expose students to potential stumbling blocks that could impede their success and help them develop the necessary coping skills and attitudes required for a productive transition into adulthood.
  • Provide practice in the communication and interpersonal skills required for career and personal success.
Educational Achievement
  • Facilitate students' recognition of the value of education and the importance of becoming internally motivated to succeed in school.
  • Motivate learners and workers who challenge themselves and strive for higher achievement.
  • Help students understand how education, training and career choice impact their personal lifestyle.
  • Motivate students to apply themselves, because once they understand how core subjects impact their future success, academic achievement will increase.
Career and Life Skills
  • Introduce a life and career planning process so students can continually adjust their plans throughout their education and adult life.
  • Help students become 'career focused' so every student is prepared to enter the workforce upon successful completion of their education.
  • Facilitate the development of a personalized ten year plan that matches each student's career aspirations and commitment to education.
  • Teach students the skills, aptitudes, and attitudes needed to successfully transition into high school, post-secondary education and/or training, the workforce, and adulthood.

Additional Information for Parents

Parents play a key role in easing the transition of their children into high school. Find out more about helping your freshman student on our Tips for Parents page.

Additional Information for Students

Ready for some more great ideas on how to have a successful freshman year? Check out our Tips for Students page.

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