Dover-Foxcroft – The 2020-2021 school year starts in just under a month for Foxcroft Academy students. For a dozen incoming ninth-graders, the school year is already underway with the fifth year of Foxcroft Freshman Academy.
Freshman Academy is a summer school offering that was an idea of administrators from both Foxcroft Academy and RSU #68. The program’s goal is to help several incoming freshmen to get a head start on the transition to high school with classroom instruction, social interaction, community service, and more. Without this, several students wouldn’t have the opportunity to get off to a strong start in the fall.
“We wanted to create a program that helped set these students up for future success in the classroom and beyond,” said Arnold Shorey, FA Head of School. “Entering the fifth year of the program means that it is working for a majority of students, as they are getting a start on classwork, required reading, and community service, which should give them the path to great opportunities over the next four years.”
The three-week program gives students the chance to sit in on English and Math classes every day, work on service projects around school and town to earn community service hour credits towards graduation, and finish a book of the student’s choosing that’s a requirement for graduation. They also get a chance to have physical activity throughout the day. Also, students are served breakfast and lunch in a similar way to the regular school year.
“It’s all about establishing a routine for the students and letting them know we are here to help,” said Morgan Rublee, Foxcroft Academy English Department Chair and Freshman Academy Teacher. “There has to be a school aspect to what we do, but they can learn in a fun way while being creative and active. If they put effort into what they do now, they will adapt pretty quickly in September.”
COVID-19 has changed the classroom’s optics with students separated six feet apart, masks required, and hand sanitizer available for use as needed. It also changed a few activities this summer as plans for field trips to inside venues were altered. Instead, outdoor ventures were added and so far, so good.
“We visited Moxie Falls last Friday, and for many of the kids, it was the first time they had ever been there,” said John Cornett, member of Foxcroft Academy Math Department and Freshman Academy Teacher. “We picked up trash on the trails behind the school last week, and over the coming weeks, we have a chance to help with some projects around town. It’s a win-win situation for our incoming students.”
Freshman Academy continues for the next two weeks. The 2020-21 school year will begin for all freshmen and new students on September 1, 2020. Returning students will begin later that week.
“If these students have their required reading finished, a journal of what they have accomplished taken care of, and know where a few classrooms are, we have done our job,” said Rublee. “I look forward to seeing them in the halls with all of our student population for years to come. They have a bright future.”