What Will Having Freshmen at BASH Mean?

Many fear adding hundreds to the school will mean overcrowding, but keeping them in their own building should make things manageable.

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A sea of students flooding the hallways. Barely being able to walk through the halls, being pushed a prodded by everyone humanly possible. This is a common misconception about the 9th graders moving up into the high school.

BASH has been under construction since 2015 and is currently in the process to move up the 9th graders from the junior highs starting this fall. Many current students are far from excited to have freshmen here.

“There’s going to be too many people. I can barely tolerate people now,” 10th grader Em Guthre said. 

Another 10th grader, Colin Maloney, echoed that feeling. “The hallways are going to be really crowded.”

Many students — who have trouble walking through the halls and are late to a lot of their classes because of the construction — fear more overcrowding, except a few like Dylan Fisher, who just started attending Boyertown this year and said, “This is my first year in Boyertown and my last school already had 9th graders in it so I’m used to it.”  

Most of the fears are unfounded.  The 9th graders are going to be in the Annex — the newly renovated “Old Building” — for most of their classes.

“Ninth graders are staying up there most of the day except for lunch and gym classes,” Vice Principal Dr. Wayne Foley said.

Academies

Another change happening next year is the offering of academies.  Next year’s 9th graders will be the first to have the option to choose an academy. 

Students who choose to join an academy will have to take extra courses, attend lectures, complete special projects, attend a career fair, and create a digital portfolio — all related to their academy’s subject matter. In doing so, their transcript and graduation certificate will note that they completed extra academy requirements.

The five different learning academies are:

•STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

• Visual, Performing and Fine Arts

• Global Communications, Business and Leadership

• Health and Human Sciences

• CTC – Career and Technology Center

The purpose of the academies is to give students who know what they want to pursue in college more readiness, said Dr. Foley, but not everyone will be forced into the academy structure. Students will have a choice to join or not.

Dr. Foley, who is in charge of organizing the academies along with a faculty committee, said he believes a lot of students will see the benefit of joining an academy.

“I believe it excites the students to learn more about the field they want to go in and gets the students ready for college.”

Principal Dr. Brett Cooper echoed Dr. Foley’s thoughts in a recent edition of the Bear Essentials Newsletter.

“The concept of learning academies is growing across the nation as an effective model to prepare all students for college and career,” he said. “Studies suggest that students in career academies earn more credits, are more likely to graduate and earn more after high school than their non-academy peers. In addition, schools with career academies boast higher levels of student and teacher engagement”.

All incoming freshmen will be put into a “Freshman Academy”, Dr. Cooper said.

“The Freshman Academy is being established as a transition academy for our ninth grade students,” he said.

Link Crew

To help the new students even more, the school is starting a program called Link Crew, which is a student-based guide program.

“Link Crew is a year-long transition program that provides a structure for support to help freshmen achieve academic and social success in high school,” Dr. Foley said.

Upperclassmen are trained as Link Crew Leaders to be positive role models, motivators, and teachers who guide the freshmen. The Freshmen are divided into groups of 8-10 and are assigned a Link Leader who will serve as their mentor for the year. These Leaders check in with their group of students periodically throughout the year- especially during the first few weeks.

Vice Principal Mrs. Kelly Mason is in charge of organizing Link Crew.

“The program not only helps the freshman but helps promote a positive school climate throughout the school!”

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