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Seminar aims to ease transition for Gainesville High freshmen
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Ninth-graders at Gainesville High School will have more help this year to make the move to high school.

A freshman seminar will be part of each student’s schedule at the Ninth Grade Center.

Misty Freeman, principal for the center, said the course will help “kickstart” students’ high school careers.

The class, a 45-minute period each day, will focus on non-academic topics. It will deal with topics such as learning how to study, learning to focus on what students might do after high school and how to deal with success and failures.

Freeman said the school will make the effort to “start them off on the right foot” with the transition course. A part of the class also will be to explain the specific requirements to graduate from Gainesville High.

The school district started the Ninth Grade Center last school year.

Talking about the center in March, Freeman said, “Data says the ninth grade is the most critical year of high school” for attendance, grades or behavior problems.

She told the board “ninth grade is the most important year.”

The board approved buying course material for the transition class. It will cost $18,452.88 and come from Title I funds.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• The board plans to hold a “retreat” Aug. 13. Details on the location and agenda are not ready yet, Superintendent Wanda Creel said. The board agreed at its July 18 meeting to hold a separate session. That followed a motion to table any action on a new Enota school until the project is rethought. Willie Mitchell made that motion, but it failed. Mitchell and board member Sammy Smith voted in favor.

• Sarah Bell, chief academic officer, reported the system had a 10 percent increase in the number of students who read on a third-grade level. She said the percentage of “on-grade” readers went from 49 percent in 2015 to 59 percent in 2016. The district started a new “literacy framework” program last year and will use that in all schools this year.

• Keith Palmer, the district’s technology director, said the school system has a 1 to 1.19 ratio of computer devices to students. “We are not very far from a 1 to 1 (ratio),” Creel noted. Palmer said the district’s ratio has dropped from “about (1 to) 4.5” in 2003.

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