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The Freshman Academy A Presentation by Zach Longyear The General Idea:  Small learning communities intended to meet the needs of all students  Created.

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Presentation on theme: "The Freshman Academy A Presentation by Zach Longyear The General Idea:  Small learning communities intended to meet the needs of all students  Created."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Freshman Academy A Presentation by Zach Longyear The General Idea:  Small learning communities intended to meet the needs of all students  Created to address a myriad of issues schools face (To name a few...)‏ Failures Attendance Issues Discipline Problems

2 The History The Freshman Academy was first mentioned around 1995 and 1996 (A New Freshman Experience, Macala)‏ It does not seem to have a first root or origin...

3 The Reasoning The transition between middle and high school is difficult  Physically and emotionally changing  Different setting with different expectations and experiences Generally they are moving from a schooling model that is supportive and nurturing to one that is designed to usher students into adulthood Academics are going to be challenging Young teenagers are immersed with older students

4 The Reasoning A Freshman Academy recreates a teaming model designed to facilitate and support the transitioning student's success. It provides another network of support that benefits all students involved with the Academy.

5 Why Create? Schools that have created successful Freshman Academies have done so because they faced obstacles that were impeding learning

6 The Common Factors... Failure rates Absenteeism Discipline issues Large student population

7 Create... Let me dip into my Progressivist mindset. You have seen the factors that lead into the creation and implementation of a Freshman Academy... Very briefly (and somewhat idealistically) outline a model you think could work. (Remember that we are dealing with a perfect educational world where everything works out how we want it to.)‏ --Please take 5 minutes to complete--

8 Anything to Share? What did you come up with?

9 Elements of a Freshman Academy (Please remember that every model is different...)‏ Team of core teachers with common planning time A mission/vision created by members of the team Faculty that is committed to the program A supportive administration A modified schedule

10 Sound eerily vague? Intrigued? Any potential?

11 Benefits Support model for students that incorporates and streamlines Special Ed. and Regular Ed. Student focused common planning time Improved failure rates Creates a smaller population within a larger one Promotes and improves student/parent involvement Continues a successful model of teaming Heterogeneously groups students Promotes cross-curricular lessons and teaching Involves all students Separates students from the rest of the population

12 Benefits? Understandably, this is vague and intendedly so. Any other benefits? This creates an opportunity for all of the philosophies we have discussed to thrive and exist...

13 Deterrents? A Logistical Nightmare? Please think about where this could fail to launch: What about this idea stands out to you? Where could it go wrong?

14 Needs For Implementation A demonstrated need for a restructuring of the current system A supportive administration A supportive faculty A supportive school community An understanding of the change process Resources Creativity A unified vision...

15 Challenges to Implementation? It is new and different It will draw resources and time Schedules will have to be adjusted for everyone  The scheduling could become unwieldy Will run independently from the rest of the building There is not an ascribed model. The term is used loosely This will take sacrifice

16 The Practical Elements It has the best interest of the students as its foundation Creating a team of educators creates a strong entity to ensure student success. Students know who they can go to. Freshmen will not get lost in the proverbial shuffle If it addresses many of the issues, that means less time is spent by administration managing The structure is self-regulating Scheduling is streamlined The faculty is involved in the creation of their own schedule Common planning time is utilized Teachers maximize their time at school Continues a model that works

17 The Practical Elements Provides an arena for: Professional Learning Communities Data analysis Testing  RTI, NWEA, Writing Prompts Professional Development Real, meaningful reflection

18 The Ethics and Big Questions... I was not able to find information about the program as a whole not working. Why do you think that is? If it has a high success rate, wouldn't everyone do it?

19 The Ethics and Big Questions... Ideally, students are broken up heterogeneously. Is this preventing students from standing out or getting the services they need? How would Special Education services work? Would a Special Education teacher be part of the team? How would remediation (Read 180, intensive math programs, etc.) promote heterogeneity?

20 The Ethics and Big Questions... How can we measure the success of this program? Are we going to trade relationship building and support for content and curriculum?

21 The Ethics and Big Questions... Can we justify adding a fourth year to the middle school? Will this create too much isolation? How will it be perceived by the other faculty members? Will it draw too much from the rest of the organization?

22 The Ethics and Big Questions... We need to be careful when reforming our entire school...I know. This is not really a question—it is more of a statement and a warning? Freshman Academies place a strong emphasis on the faculty team leading. With autonomy like this, where else could this go? How could this possibly be regulated?

23 The Ethics and Big Questions... Are we really addressing the needs of our students, or are we addressing the need for a change? We need to make sure the goal is clear.

24 References Clark, C., et. al., Freshman Academies on a Shoestring. Principal Leadership (Middle School Ed.) v. 7 no. 7 (March 2007) p. 41, 43, 45. Holland, H., et. al., Where everybody knows your name [freshman academy to help ninth- graders make a smoother transition from middle school to high school]. Phi Delta Kappan v. 83 no. 4 (December 2001) p. 294-303. Fulk, B. M. Concerns About Ninth-Grade Students' Poor Academic Performance: One School's Action Plan. American Secondary Education v. 31 no. 2 (Spring 2003) p. 8-26. Macala, W. F. A New Freshman Experience. Principal Leadership (High School Ed.) v. 2 no. 6 (February 2002) p. 27-9. Schlechty, P. C. (May 14, 1997). Common Misunderstandings. Education Week. Reprinted with permission from Inventing Better Schools: An Action Plan for Educational Reform, by Phillip C. Schlechty. Copyright 1997 Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers. Retrieved from

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