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FHS offers freshman ‘boost’

Farragut High School took a proactive step toward early intervention with its inaugural year of Boost Camp for rising freshmen this summer.

The three-week camp was offered to students who have been identified as having had problems in certain areas of their previous education.

Three FHS teachers, Brenda McGrath from the Math Department, Michael Knapp, from the Science Department and Erin Ashe from the English Department, ran the camp.

“This Boost Camp is where we are giving them a head start. Last week we took them all through the building and showed them where everything is,” McGrath said.

“We split out into three groups where we learn. We rotate among math, English and science and then we come back together at the end of the day and do another activity together.

“We start off with an activity and we end with an activity. Usually the end of the day activity is more of a trust issue, where we are team building,” she added.

The camp is voluntary for the students but when school starts, these students also will have special scheduling for core subjects, which is not voluntary.

“Normally kids take an hour- and-a-half of biology one semester and an hour-and-a-half of math the next semester so they get two credits at the end.

“These kids will take 45 minutes of math, then 45 minutes of science each semester and still get their two credits at the end of the year,” McGrath said.

FHS administration is not trying to single these students out, but to give them a jump on the rigors of high school.

“They just need some guidance so that they do not feel lost. They have all made low grades in something or other in eighth-grade and so we want to give them a boost so they don’t feel lost,” McGrath said.

“We are learning but we are making it fun. This is not what we will do during the average school year, but we want them to come into the building feeling that they know more than the average kid that walks into ninth-grade; and they do,” she added.

Not only do these students get an early idea of what will be expected of them as ninth-graders, they get a head start on meeting some of the faculty as well.

“I’ve got each of the principals coming to talk to them. I’ve got guidance coming the third week. They will tell them about transcripts and the things they need to know at the end so we can start setting goals,” McGrath said.

“I am trying to teach them to think beyond right now.

“For example — we get off on varying subjects — we were talking about if something went wrong that they need to tell a teacher or somebody and one kid said ‘Oh I don’t want to tattle.’ And I said, ‘Well, I can respect that, but let’s say you didn’t tattle and that kid then went on to do something worse to another student. Because you didn’t want to tattle, he really hurts someone else and you could have stopped it.’ I am trying to teach them to think beyond that moment and into the future, whether it be academically or socially,” she added.

McGrath said it is important for students to know how to work together in today’s educational setting, so Boost Camp offers exercises in team building as well.

“For team building this week they all have to build a chair out of paper and they have to be able to sit in it for 15 minutes before it falls. We are split into three groups; so all three groups will have to build a chair out of masking tape and paper,” she said.

Erin Ashe said the students seem to be enjoying the camp.

“I talked to a mom yesterday and she told me that her child is coming home everyday telling her what fun things we are doing,” McGrath added.


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