The North Junior High Freshman Academy written by Becky Melville and NJH Ninth Grade Teams addresses the unique needs of the transitional freshman year. Physically located in the junior high, ninth graders are working to earn high school credit. The $20,000 grant helped create an environment to ease this challenging transition. The Academy includes development of a humanities class that combines language arts and civics. The HEF grant also supports skill-building materials, including how to study for the ACT, exploring different careers and what classes to take to pursue that career. Additionally, funds support community-building activities, including an off-shoot of the student council called the Freshman Advisory Council.
To help ninth graders prepare for high school, the program focuses on writing as a form of self-expression. Students write their own memoir, belief statements, and create a resume. By the end of the year, they will be prepared to answer the question, The New American Dream: What’s your place in it?