Class of 2015 First to Experience the Freshman Academy
MRHS initiated a new approach to freshman orientation
Matawan Regional High School welcomed their newest class of students Thursday morning with a new type of freshman orientation - the Freshman Academy.
According to Superintendent David Healy, the Freshman Academy is designed to a year long program that focuses on small learning communities to create a school within a school.
Upon arrival to the high school for orientation, freshman were broken into three teams: Alaskan Huskies, Siberian Huskies and Polar Huskies. Each team has specific teachers for each subject, creating a small interdisciplinary community to help students and create an environment for success.
The purpose of the program, according to Principal Michele Ruscavage, is to acclimate students to the building, rules, teachers and support staff.
"It's a team concept to build cohesion in the class," Ruscavage said.
The students listened to a short presentation from teachers and administrators before rushing out of the auditorium for a scavenger hunt.
Students had to find their locker and open it using their new combination to uncover a map with checkpoints throughout the school.
Debra Sheard, the director of secondary accountability, hopes that this program, with its ongoing support throughout the year, will help student to understand that they are in a community of learners and any support they need is there.
The Freshman Academy was one of the initiatives Healy hoped to implement this Sept., as he enters his first full year as superintendent.
"Like any new program, there's going to be some speed bumps," Michael Wells, the new assistant principal assigned to the freshman class. "This is really an opportunity to taylor our program to the need of the students."
While students became acquainted with the lay of the land, parents remained in the auditorium for their own version of orientation. The goals of Freshman Academy, Parent Portal - an online tool for parents to access their children's grades and homework, and other information was relayed to eager parents.
"I think [Freshman Academy] is great," said Lisa Johnson, who's only child is entering the high school in Sept. "The kids get to see the school for themselves and meet the teachers. This way school isn't thrown on them."