WHS 9th Grade Academy


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Informational presentation about the 9th Grade Academy at Wissahickon High School.

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  • As an administrative team and through the conversations of the initiatives subcommittee we have identified and discussed a need to put in place supports to meet the developmental and transitional needs of incoming 9 th grade students. Research shows the best way to address these developmental/transitional needs are by developing smaller learning communities. We have decided to do that through the implementation of a 9 th grade academy.
  • The needs of 14 and 15 year-old students differ from those of 17 and 18 year-old students in our building. A 9 th grade academy will allow us to, through a team approach, target the specific needs of our 14 and 15 year-old students while also focusing them on the importance of life after high school.
  • Some benefits of a 9 th grade learning community are listed above.
  • Listed above are reasons why a 9 th grade academy will be successful at WHS.
  • The benefits of a 9 th grade academy at WHS can be realized without having to alter the student course selection process or teacher schedules. Students and parents will continue to select their own courses as they have previously done. Teachers will utilize common planning time to focus on individual student needs and best instructional practices.
  • Collaboration has already taken place between the high school and middle school. WMS and their 8 th grade teams have expressed a desire to share their successful team practices with 9 th teachers.
  • WHS and WMS PTC’s : What are the benefits my 9 th grade child will receive? How will the 9 th grade academy effect my child’s schedule? BCTC : Is the 9 th gr academy similar to the pod system at WMS? How are the students placed onto teams? How will the students transition from 9 th to 10 th gr? How will the concept be introduced to the 8 th gr parents? WHS Faculty : How will the elective courses be affected?
  • WHS 9th Grade Academy

    1. 1. Wissahickon High School 9 th Grade Academy
    2. 2. Research <ul><li>“ Most 9 th graders move to a larger school where they are expected to adapt to a variety of instructional styles and conform to a different set of rules and expectations. 9 th graders often get overwhelmed by all the changes in a large, anonymous and sometimes alienating high school. At the same time, parents tend to become less involved in their child’s education. Some schools provide support to 9 th graders to gain self-confidence, important social and academic skills.” </li></ul><ul><li>National School Board Association </li></ul>
    3. 3. Why 9 th Grade Academy? <ul><li>Freshmen will need increased skills in the 21 st century workplace. </li></ul><ul><li>A 9 th Grade Academy promotes a small learning environment with rigorous standards in reading, writing, math, speaking, listening and thinking skills. </li></ul><ul><li>A 9 th Grade Academy promotes interpersonal skills, effective use of resources and a high degree of accountability. </li></ul><ul><li>A 9 th Grade Academy helps students look at life after high school. </li></ul>
    4. 4. What the Research Tells Us <ul><li>Schools where the 9 th Grade Learning Community is in place report that students: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have fewer disciplinary events. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have acquired better study habits and time management skills. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are better able to handle work in 10 th grade and beyond. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work more seriously and with more self-understanding toward graduation and career. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a steady or increased GPA. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have positive mental health. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are goal oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have more parental involvement. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. What Works in a 9 th Grade Academy <ul><li>Collaboration of administrators, teachers, students, parents/guardians. </li></ul><ul><li>A culture that is welcoming, accepting, hopeful and flexible. </li></ul><ul><li>Standardized expectations, established routine, persistence and consistency. </li></ul><ul><li>Structured Organization and Time Management. </li></ul><ul><li>Student Recognition. </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent Family/Parent Contact. </li></ul><ul><li>On-going evaluation and data collection. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Impact on Teachers and Students <ul><li>Teachers will carry a traditional work load: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers will utilize common planning time to collaborate with team members focusing on individual student needs and best instructional practices. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Students will carry a traditional course load: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students will still have the same access to a variety of academically rigorous, core and elective, course offerings at the high school. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. 9 th Grade Culminating Project (10 Year Plan) <ul><li>All 9 th graders will present their own personal 10-year plan, through their wellness class, that focuses on the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A health and wellness plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A high school academic plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A post-secondary education plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A start of professional career plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What life events could sidetrack you from attaining your goals? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Preparing for the 9 th Grade Academy <ul><li>Met with Dr. Michael Rettig to discuss scheduling options </li></ul><ul><li>Team-building activities by Craig Erb and Jon Bearoff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set themes and goals to focus on: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Doing things together as a class” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Sense of belonging” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Establish/Sustain Traditions” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Similar standards, methods” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Communication” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Transitional Activities <ul><li>Met with WMS and WHS PTC organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Met with WMS team to discuss student teams </li></ul><ul><li>Beginning of the year 8 th grade and 9 th grade team meetings </li></ul><ul><li>8 th grade tour of WHS- 5/26/10 </li></ul>
    10. 10. 9 th Grade Orientation <ul><ul><li>Wednesday in the AM - August 18 th , 2010 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Parents and students will follow an abbreviated schedule to acquaint themselves with: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WHS building </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WHS Policies and Procedures </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The 9 th Grade Teams of Teachers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your Child’s course schedule </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Immediately following the 9 th grade orientation will be a cookout for all to enjoy. </li></ul></ul></ul>