Is Freshman Success Essential?

a new class at THS meant to aid freshman, is put under scrutiny.

Is Freshman Success Essential?

Rylee Cass, Writer

Freshman Success is a newfound class for Tahoma High School, put into action in the 2017-2018 school year and made a required class for freshmen to take for one semester. It was designed to help freshmen go to high school with the correct tools needed and is supposed to be helpful – but it isn’t.

Freshman Success is more of a stressor and an annoyance than it ever is helpful. Some are coming from a schedule where Freshman Success and World Studies are combined into one period and it feels like a never-ending hole of ‘good habits’ and ‘being proactive’ preaching intermingled with the harsh realities of life and history. There is not one time that the skills taught in the class have ever been used outside of it. Not to mention, the class is incredibly dull and routinely. “My thoughts [on the class] now are that it’s kind of a complete waste of time. In a way, it’s kind of nice to see how freshman year would be going and that’s how I thought it was gonna be, but it’s just reading a book about life lessons.” said freshman Sophie Hopp. Hopp also stated that it was boring and it doesn’t feel like a class that is worth taking because it’s not required for college.

Freshman Success is not helpful because a good amount of the students casually spoken to about Freshman Success do not care about it. We, as a whole group, were required to sign up for the class and this brings resentment upon it. If one is not actively engaged or caring about something, they will not fully learn and simply want to get it over with.

In fact, some think it is unfair that no other grade had to sign up for a similar class as well. “I think the class itself should be an elective class that you can optionally take. I’m pretty sure it’s new this year, so all the people who are not freshmen didn’t have to take it, so it’s unfair. If they’re gonna keep Freshman Success, they should make everyone else take a class that is the same thing,” said freshman Sophie Potvin.

Freshman Success teaches that everyone should start with the end in mind. As a general rule of thumb in life, this is correct. When one is college hunting and deciding all of high school based on one inkling of what they want to do in life in 9th grade, though, is a whole completely different and ridiculous story. It is understood that integrating ‘start with the end in mind’ into the learning system is a newfound phenomenon. Taking that element out of school would require a giant change, but is students at the age of 13/14 deciding what they are going to be doing at 30 really necessary?

There are students who have been casually heard to have the opinion that Freshman Success is very beneficial and allows students to learn skills essential for high school and college. The program was created to help eighth-grade students transition to high school smoothly because freshman year determines how the rest of high school is to go. Statistics in The Importance of the Ninth Grade on High School Graduation Rates and Student Success in High School by Kyle McCallumore and Ervin Sparapani found that when a form of Freshman Success was implemented into schools, students found more academic success. However, multiple interviewees of THS have stated the same thing when questioned if they had brought the Freshman Success teachings out of the classroom with them: they had already learned everything Freshman Success is teaching in elementary and middle school. The class is a repeat of everything that has been drilled into students’ heads and is therefore irrelevant. Instead of having the class be put into high school, put it into lower grades to aid the learning of required future skills. Perhaps keeping the class means altering the curriculum or making it an elective. A daring suggestion is to get rid of the class altogether.

Freshman Success is a class that had high hopes at the end of the 2016-2017 school year and is falling short of expectations in the current year. Freshman students are wondering why it was put into the system and quite frankly a bit (if not incredibly) irritated. No information retention is going to occur if students resent the class to this extent. Maybe we should rethink Freshman Success altogether.