Freshman Year

Welcome to the freshman experience at AHS! Freshman year is a time of transition: joining a new school community, understanding higher academic expectations, exploring talents, and meeting new friends. This outline serves as a road map to important programs, resources, and tips on how to have a successful freshman year. 

Counseling Programs

Freshman Orientation

In late August, Counselors help facilitate the Freshman Orientation Program. During this event students will learn their way around the building, get to know some of the sophomores, juniors and seniors and get to meet some of their teachers. They will also meet fellow classmates. That way, on the first day of school, students may already recognize a few familiar faces.

Freshman Parent Orientation

During the student orientation program, parents are invited to attend an informational session to discuss high school transition issues, both academic and social.  

Freshman Groups

Counselors will meet with all freshmen in groups during the fall to discuss transitional issues:  academic expectations, clubs and activities, how to access teachers and counselors for help, etc.  In addition, counselors focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), a student-centered approach that emphasizes building on students' strengths; developing skills through hands-on, experiential learning; giving young people voice in the learning process; and supporting youth through positive relationships with adults over an extended period of time.

SEL Core Competencies:

    1. Self-awareness: the ability to identify our own feelings, as well as how our feelings and thoughts influence what we do
    2. Self-management: the ability to manage our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in a variety of contexts
    3. Social awareness: the ability to understand and empathize with others' points of view
    4. Relationship skills: the ability to communicate and connect with a range of people in a healthy way
    5. Responsible decision making: the ability to make positive choices about how we behave

StrengthsExplorer in Action

In collaboration with the English Department, the Counselors conduct a strengths based workshop during the ninth grade Composition classes. StrengthsExplorer, an online Naviance assessment, identifies each student’s three strongest emerging talents, provides explanations of these themes, strategies for capitalizing on each, and action items to help students gain insight into their greatest talents to leverage in the classroom and in life.

Course Selection

In the spring, counselors will meet with freshmen in groups to discuss course selection for sophomore year.
Personal/social/academic counseling is available on an as needed basis


National Honor Society Tutoring

The National Honor Society provides free tutoring in every subject, please contact your student’s counselor for additional information on the National Honor Society Tutoring service. Teachers will often give extra credit to students who attend the NHS Tutoring.


If you need assistance obtaining referrals for academic or personal issues, please contact your student’s counselor.

Helpful Tips for Parents

Attend Back to School Night, an evening program in the fall and spring where you follow your child’s schedule, meet his/her teachers, and are provided with course expectations.  An excellent opportunity to learn how your child spends his/her day!
If you have an academic concern, first contact your child’s teacher directly, and if needed, then the Program Coordinator for that specific subject area.  If additional assistance is needed, contact your child’s counselor.
Talk to your child about the importance of consistent on-time attendance.  
Help your child establish a study routine:  a physical environment free of distractions (no Nintendo, phone, internet, TV), a block of at least two hours set aside for homework, and access to organizational and study tools (daily assignment notebook, calculator, backpack).
Expect to receive mid-October progress reports from each of your child’s teachers first term, and there after if the teacher has specific academic concerns. The progress reports will be available online through Aspen.
Regularly check Aspen for updates and progress reports. 
Encourage involvement in sports, clubs, activities, music, or theatre—these are an excellent opportunity for students to meet new people and share their talents at AHS. There is an activities fair held early Fall semester during all 4 lunches for students to learn about and sign-up for extracurricular activities.