The Freshman Transition Network

Working together to transition freshmen & transform schools from the bottom up!

Please tell the other members of the network a little about yourself. Nothing is too short and nothing is too long. Just let us know who we are so we can turn this network into a true community.

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Hi Darrell and Sandra

I am Director of High Schools for Chesapeake Va.
Great ideas Sandra. I am anxious to pass those along and follow your progress.
Darrell, we do have a freshman seminar class under the umbrella of Freshman Transition Initiative.
The seminar is only one piece and serves some of the most neediest. Those triggered under an early warning system.
We worked some with Scott Habeeb in training our teachers. I will be glad to pass on more information including our successes and grows based on our limited experience.
If you are looking for that info on a seminar class let me know

Thanks, Linda, for joining and for introducing yourself to the group!  It was nice seeing you in DC this week.  Hope our paths cross again soon!

I'm the Program Manager for Citizen Schools California.  We partner with middle schools to provide "apprenticeships” (hands-on projects taught by volunteers from business and civic organizations), academic support and a culture of high expectations.  As a result, our students develop the skills, knowledge and beliefs they need to succeed in middle school, advance towards college, and become leaders in their careers and communities.  Our goal is to demonstrate that these approaches, taken together, can transform struggling schools.

In my role as Program Manager, I oversee our 8th graders' transition into high school. Our goal is to make sure our students enter high school on a college pathway. We look for our students to be at a college-track high school, in a high quality college readiness program, or taking the coursework it takes to be a competitive college applicant. 

Citizen Schools operates in eight states (California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas), serving approximately 5,000 students and engaging over 4,000 Citizen Teachers.  Nationally, Citizen Schools is scaling its Expanded Learning Time (ELT) model reach 10,000 students by 2017.

Thanks, Nora, for joining.  Sounds like you bring a wealth of experience to the Network.  Please be encouraged to share through blogs/comments/etc.

Hello all,

I hold New York State SBL and SDL administrative certifications and am dual-certified in Health and PE at the classroom level.  I currently work as a Director of Instructional Technology on Long Island, and an Adjunct Professor at Manhattanville College, both in New York. I continue to investigate and implement cutting edge, pedagogically sound innovations into classrooms and schools to strengthen teaching and learning.

As a former Health Education and Peer Leadership teacher, we built a "ninth grade advisory program" that met weekly for about 30 minutes per class.  The classes were lead by upperclassmen, with faculty assuming a supervisory/assistive role during the student-led classes.  These classes dealt with topics like time management, communication skills with teachers, planning and goal setting, stress management, and dealing with positive and negative pressures (among other topics).  The program reigns successful to this day, and I've been invited to present at numerous conferences at the local, state, and regional level.  I also present well-attended workshops on effective technology use, media literacy, and Twitter as a professional development tool.

I strive to stay abreast of internal and external influences affecting our students, and believe we as educators need to always be cognizant of what's going on in our students' lives, in an effort to better connect with them both inside and outside of class.

Attached is a sample of our 9th grade manual, given to student peer leaders and faculty advisors involved in the program.


Thanks, Ryan.  Great introduction.  Would you consider making that a blog post and posting all of it that way?  Then I can send it out to all members and more people will see it.

Thank you - I described our ninth-grade Peer Advisory program in more detail here:


My name is Michelle Beaulieu and I have been teaching science to students in the middle grades, 7-9, for my entire career (20 years). The first 5 were in Virginia in Pittsylvania County and Lynchburg City Schools.  For the past 15, I have taught only freshmen at The Norwich Free Academy, a large (>2000 students gr 9-12) independent high school in Norwich, CT.   The freshman class is divided into 5 teaching teams, and I serve as one of the team leaders and also the freshman science coordinator.  I chair the"Freshman Experience" Committee, charged with improving students' transition from middle school to high school.  In recent years, the number of at-risk students has increased and we are looking for ways to reach not just these students, but all of our 9th graders.  We are currently working on ways to address student study and technology skills.  While these are both incorporated into students' core classes, we are looking at ways to make this more effective.  

When I am not working, I love spending time with my husband and our blended family of 5 children ages 9-18. 

Thanks, Michelle, for joining and for introducing yourself to the group.  Glad to see you're already joining in some of the other discussions as well.  Let me know if I can ever help you out, and look forward to hearing more from you on the Network!

Hello! My name is Paul Williamson and I am a high school principal in Des Moines, IA. Lincoln High School is unique in that our 600 9th graders are in a seperate building 2 miles south of our "main" building. I oversee both buildings. Almost all of our classes are offered at the 9th grade building, but students for some classes such as band are shuttled between the buildings by the school district.

Welcome, Paul. Thanks for introducing yourself to the group.  I hope you find helpful resources on this site.  Please let me know if I can ever help you out in anyway.

My name is Paul Torgerson and I am the vice principal at a high school in central Utah. Our school has about 260 students 9th-12th. I am currently in the process of establishing a FTP within our school. I am looking for any and all suggestions that would help me to move forward in this process. I have visited with our counselor and faculty most all of them have been very receptive and supportive. Our freshman class has struggled this year, but looking back, so have several others. I really like the idea of helping our freshman succeed. 

Feel free to give me any insight you may have. 


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