A Guide for Incoming Ninth Grade Students and Families
"What made high school a bit better was building a good relationship with a specific teacher. For me that was my club advisor (who became my teacher through an elective class). Her support and friendliness really helped my high school experience." - West High School Student
Below you will find resources to guide you through the transition to high school.
Upcoming events/orientation dates to know about
- Movin' West: May 6
You are encouraged to look at the West High School calendar regularly to see new events and opportunities.
Tips & Pointers: Preparing for High School
"Choose classes that YOU want to do and not things that seem easier than others."
- West High School Student
- Make sure to attend freshman orientation: This is the number one most important time to prepare yourself for high school! Be sure to check out other events as well (see above).
- Talk to your friends from middle school: Many of them will go to the same high school as you. But remember that you’re likely to make some new friends, too. On average, your high school will be about 3 to 4 times bigger than your middle school!
- Check out the school’s publications: From blogs, to social media, to TV broadcasts, to other online materials, you can learn about what other teens are up to at your school. You could also get involved in school media yourself, if you’re interested!
- Keep track of your stuff: Do you have a good system for organizing your schoolwork? Make sure you’ve got a binder, assignment notebook, and anything else that helps you stay on top of things. Going paperless instead? Awesome! Tech tools will help you succeed from freshman to senior year, and beyond.
- Tech tools: Check out your school’s website, Infinite Campus, Google Classrooms, and your MMSD e-mail to make sure you’re in-the-know about all the tech tools available to students. If you’re not familiar with these yet, your teachers and other school staff will be happy to help.
- 1:1 tech devices: Don’t have a computer at home? No problem! All MMSD high schools are going one-to-one with devices this year, which means you should have access to your own Chromebook. MMSD’s policy for appropriate use of tech tools can be found here.
- Be yourself! (Seriously.) There are so many people in high school, you’re bound to find other people with the same interests, hobbies, and even quirks, as you.
- Be kind! In the words of one East High student: “You’re going to be with these people for the next four years of your life, you might as well get along with each other.”
- Specific supports: Do you have anything in particular you need to find in the school? Learn about AVID, Student Services, Personalized Pathways, and other programs early in the year, to get a head-start on your own needs as a high schooler. Some helpful links can be found at the bottom of this page.
Making the most out of your high school experience
High school can be an amazing experience for students. Below are a few tips for making the most of the next four years.
- Join a club or sport. High school is much more enjoyable when you get involved. Don't see a club that interests you? Start one!
- Stay on top of your progress and grades. Check Infinite Campus often.
- Ask for help when you need it!
- Get to know your teachers and help your teachers get to know you.
- Attendance is VITAL! Come to school on time, every day.
- Take advantage of the supports provided at your high school. That may be tutoring, counseling, mentoring and more.
- Talk to adults at school about your postsecondary goals and get advice on courses you should take while in high school to help you reach your goals.
- Get to know your classmates, especially those that are different from you.
- Ask questions! There are many people here to to help you, communication is key.
- Take a good balance of classes. Explore a new hobby or skill through an elective class and challenge yourself with an Advanced Placement course or Dual Credit class. Learn some of the benefits of advanced coursework.
- Know your support system! There are counselors, social workers, psychologists and many other adults at our school who are here to support your academics and well-being.
Staying on Track: Academics
Ninth Grade: The Most Important Year of High School
You are about to start the most important year in your high school career! How do we know this? Madison Metropolitan School District’s research team has found that more than anything else, your grades and attendance in ninth grade matter for high school graduation. If you are On-Track at the end of 9th grade, you are more than twice as likely to graduate in 4 years. Graduate with a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) or higher and your opportunities beyond high school skyrocket!
What does it take to be On-Track to Graduate?
To be On-Track to graduate on time, you must:
- Attend school at least 90% of the time (miss no more than 4 days a quarter of school), AND
- Earn no more than 2 semester Fs