Freshmen students entering Flower Mound and Marcus High School will soon have their very own campuses where they will attend classes.
Slated to open in the 2014-2015 school year, ninth grade campuses will open their doors to welcome incoming students. Both facilities will be located on the same campus as their high schools.
Voters ratified the construction of the ninth-grade campuses as part of the May 2008 bond package.
LISD Public Information Officer Karen Permetti said the objective is for incoming freshman to have a school just for themselves to get acclimated to the rigors of high school.
“Due to the success of the Lewisville High School Killough Ninth-grade Campus, the district sought to incorporate this initiative for the remaining large high schools: Flower Mound, Marcus and Hebron,” Permetti said. “Hebron’s center opened two years ago. These campuses provide smaller learning communities for our ninth-graders.”
Laura Madison, East Zone Communications Coordinator, said she is already seeing the benefits of the ninth grade campuses in her zone that encompasses Hebron.
“These schools provide a more focused student environment,” Madison said. “Students are able to make an easier transition from the middle school level, to a more challenging high school level.
“There is a bit more one on one attention that will help to ensure that they will succeed in school, and that is kind of the driving force behind what we are trying to do.”
District Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Waddell, said he believes the new ninth grade campuses will be of great service to the district, and said the transitional period from middle school to high school is a critical point in a student’s education.
“It is a time when many students struggle to make adjustments with heavier coursework, extracurricular activities, and large campuses,” Waddell said. “It is also a difficult time in their development, and it is felt it is much easier for them to be in a place away from older, more mature students. Ninth grade historically has seen the largest number of grade and test failures and is the time when most dropouts occur.
Concerns from Wellington residents regarding the placement of the new ninth grade center at Flower Mound High School prompted district officials to make changes to the plans over this summer.
The new campus is now proposed to go southeast of the main school building, where the baseball field is currently located. Sports fields may be relocated behind Liberty Elementary School in Wellington or to property closer to the high school should the district acquire it.
To accommodate the ninth grade center at Marcus, the tennis courts and softball field will be moved to the district’s sports complex on Dixon Lane a few blocks west of the high school.
“Ninth grade centers provide smaller learning communities, while exposing students to the larger world of the high school campus,” said Dr. Waddell. “Ninth grade centers also provide a means for absorbing growth without the addition of a sixth high school campus.”