PHS Freshman Academy is designed with the freshman student in mind, preparing them to make a successful transition into high school and beyond. The Academy provides a supportive environment, promotes responsibility, and develops the skills necessary for future success in high school and, ultimately, college and career readiness.
At PHS, students have the opportunity to be involved in various academic, community, and social activities. Each of these activities will provide a wealth of experience and help clarify students' interests, goals, and plans for the future. Active involvement in high school is one key to a successful and rewarding high school experience. We hope that students get involved, take charge, and become the best student they can be.
The Freshman Academy is a semester-long course designed to help freshmen students make a smooth and successful transition from middle school to high school. The Academy will equip students with the social, academic, and organizational skills necessary to make a positive start to high school and provide a solid foundation for future success. In the Academy, students will focus on building character and leadership through the study of attitude, preparation, perseverance, respect, honesty, integrity, courage, appreciation, composure, empathy, gratitude, tolerance, sacrifice, loyalty, responsibility, and compassion.
Areas of Focus:
- High School Survival - goal setting, study skills, organizational techniques, understanding academic areas, and academic success
- Course Descriptions - CTE, AP, JROTC, Dual Enrollment, Sports, Clubs, Academic Decathlon, Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, Peer Tutoring, and Student Council
- Career Interest Surveys
- Career Exploration
- Personal Finance
All freshmen students will be enrolled in Freshman Academy for the fall of their 9th grade year and will choose a one-semester “exploratory” elective for the spring semester. Options for this one-semester, spring elective include: Exploring Art, Exploring Business, Exploring Choir, and Exploring Computers. Freshmen may also choose to take a one-year, two-semester Freshman Academy class for both the fall and spring semesters; Challenge and JROTC.
If you would like additional specifics, please refer to the Q&A below.
Q: What will my child learn in the Freshman Academy course?
- High school study skills, homework strategies, and research skills
- Email and cell phone etiquette
- Time management and decision making
- Interpersonal skills
- Personal finance
- Job skills and career guidance
- Help select future PHS classes
- PHS sports & clubs
- PHS programs such as JROTC, Academic Decathlon, Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, Peer Tutoring, and Student Council
- PHS and MICTED Career and Technical Education courses
- PHS advanced placement courses
- PHS/Yavapai College dual enrollment courses
Q: Will 9th graders be able to take other full-year electives in addition to Freshman Academy?
A: YES! Every freshman has room in his/her schedule for at least two full-year elective courses. The Freshman Academy/Exploratory combo will be one of these courses. In addition, all students will choose at least one more full-year elective course. If a student wishes to take even more electives as a freshman, there are lots of options for this: The student may enroll in an early bird class, take our JROTC Freshman Academy option (details below), or visit with an academic advisor about other options.
Q: Will this course be a requirement for graduation from PUSD?
A: No. We have students transfer to PHS as grade 10, 11, or 12 students all the time. These students will not take Freshman Academy. They will be introduced to some facets of Naviance in other ways.
Q: Can a grade 9 student be exempted from automatic enrollment in Freshman Academy?
A: If a student can show a need for additional elective options in their grade 9 schedule, and none of the options above will work for a student, parents may request, in writing (email), an exemption from the Freshman Academy course. Given the many elective scheduling options available and the many benefits of Freshman Academy, we anticipate that nearly every grade 9 student will take Freshman Academy.
Q: Do other schools have a course like this for freshmen?
A: Yes, both Bradshaw Mountain and Chino Valley HS have courses that parallel this, as do many other high schools throughout Arizona and the United States. We are pleased to now be able to offer this opportunity to our PHS students.
Q: Will my student receive credit toward graduation for Freshman Academy and their one-semester Exploratory Elective?
A: Yes. Passing both one-semester classes will earn 1 of the 6 elective credits required for PHS graduation.
Q: My child has heard great things about the PHS JROTC program. Can he or she take JROTC as well as Freshman Academy during their 9th grade year?
YES! Students interested in participating in our award-winning U.S. Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program as a 9th grader enroll in our JROTC P.E. class. This course includes many elements of regular P.E., plus leadership skills and a great introduction to JROTC. Starting in the fall, ALL elements of the Freshman Academy curriculum will be included in the JROTC P.E. class. So, students who complete the year-long JROTC Freshman Academy P.E. will earn BOTH their P.E. credit AND fulfill their Freshman Academy requirement in one class. This will free up one period each day for additional electives a student would like to take.