September 22, 2017

A successful freshman experience

The transition from the 8th grade to the high school can be exciting, but it can also be stressful for some kids. Transcripts and credits and GPA and athletic eligibility become important, and these changes sometimes take students by surprise. The freshman experience plays a particularly important role in a student’s academic career. Credit accrual in the 9th grade is, in fact, one of the strongest predictors of overall success in high school. A good freshman year creates a good high school career. A less successful freshman year becomes a weight around a student’s neck, like coming up to bat with two strikes.

This year we are specifically targeting the freshman experience. The teachers who spend time with our 9th graders have identified key strategies and interventions to provide for immediate feedback, assistance, and accountability for students who might be falling behind in their work. One part of this effort is our upcoming Freshman Fridays.

Freshman Fridays are experiences for 9th graders which will run the first 6 Fridays of the school year – August 30th, September 6th, September 13th, September 20th, September 27th, and October 4th. These are all day experiences and are aimed at helping our 9th graders begin their high school careers with a bang. The first Friday (August 30th) will be a day-long orientation to high school and will include games, activities, and specific pointers and techniques for establishing good academic habits. The next 5 Fridays will be led by professional staff from Outward Bound and will be filled with adventure activities including rock climbing, ropes course, and rappelling.

To help orient all of you parents of 9th graders, I’d like to invite you to one of two (or both, if you’d like) freshman parent orientations August 14th and/or August 21st from 6:30 to 7:30 pm here on campus in the MPB. Outward Bound Program Director Scott Patterson will be joining us and I’ll be describing in some detail our plans for the freshman experience. If neither of those two times work for you, please feel free to contact me at or 503-261-4209.

Have a great summer and I’ll forward to talking with you.


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