Penn High School students come from three different middle schools (Discovery, Grissom and Schmucker Middle Schools) in the P-H-M school district. By entering the Freshman Academy, students are supported in making a smooth transition from middle school to high school, while learning how to be successful students.
A central goal of every Penn High School teacher is to develop and nurture meaningful relationships with every student. The Freshman Academy is divided into smaller houses, creating a personalized environment . Within the Penn Freshman Academy, each student is a member of a small group of 160 students called a “House.”
There are four or five teachers in each house who teach the core classes of Math, Biology, English, and Geography/History of the World. This allows teachers to communicate more effectively about each student and his or her unique needs, providing a very personalized education. Elective classes and physical education are taught outside of the Houses, which still gives each student a chance to assimilate with other students.
Freshman Academy teachers who teach the same content (Math, Biology, English or Geography) meet weekly to develop and revise relevant curriculum. Teachers collaborate within each house to create lessons that engage and challenge each student. Collectively, content-specific teachers develop curriculum and determine the pace at which students work. Because teachers assess their students regularly, they are able to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of each student in each class. When students are struggling, teachers work together to re-teach critical content skills and provide additional supplemental materials as needed. Likewise, students who have mastered skills are challenged with enrichment.
Teacher collaboration, combined with a shared roster of students in each academy house, allows the implementation of curriculum at appropriate levels of rigor. In addition to required Freshman courses, there are also opportunities for Freshmen to take electives, which are outlined in the Program of Studies course descriptions.