A positive school climate, where students and adults know each other well and where adults express care and concern for students' well-being, intellectual growth, and educational success, is a key motivational element in the learning process for students.
We recognize that the large size of our high school may have the tendency to leave students feeling somewhat lost and anonymous and prevent the development of an atmosphere conducive to learning. This problem tends to be intensified for ninth-graders leaving behind the more family-like environment of middle school.
Many students find the journey from the middle grades to high school difficult. In many ways, high school is a big departure from what these students have experienced in elementary and middle school. They are faced with changes in scheduling, academic expectations and social pressure.
For most students, transition into high school from middle school is stressful in terms of experiencing a larger more impersonal, competitive, grade-oriented environment. This transition is difficult for all students of varied backgrounds and academic ability. The academic, social and emotional factors for ninth grade students can positively or adversely affect their overall success during high school if they are not met with initial support throughout their first year of high school.
As a result, beginning with the entering freshman class in September 2012, the Lake Orion High School Freshman Academy will be initiated to focus specifically on the areas most likely to affect students’ success during their initial steps into the high school setting. It is designed to help all students succeed academically by eliminating some of the pressures they often face as they enter high school.
Small learning communities and teams will be established within the larger high school to create a more intimate transition from middle to high school. The goals of the Freshman Academy include an increased class identity and cohesiveness, early identification of at-risk academic behaviors, a smaller setting for individualized instruction in our large high school, assistance with the social transition to the high school environment and, most important, preparation for ongoing academic success.
(More information will be available as plans are finalized for the LOHS Freshman Academy.)