Focus on Freshmen - Los Angeles
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Best Practices: Freshman Transition in Action
Successful Models from Results-Oriented Schools

Session Descriptions

Conference Attendees

The Best Practices Institute highlights model schools with successful programs built on the George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative (FTI) Standards for a Freshman Transition Course. Sessions are presented by administrators, classroom instructors, and independent educational consultants who are working in or with these model programs.


Lost Now Found: The Sequel
Who are we? An urban district whose freshman failure rate was unacceptable, with a team of dedicated teachers and administrators ready to do whatever necessary to reach any and all students. What did we want? To guide students as they worked towards becoming self-sufficient adults by defining success, developing interpersonal skills, and realizing their own dreams. In this session, our team will share how we did it by discussing our journey toward changing the prevailing climate of our city’s high school.
Ann Croft, Teacher, Woonsocket High School, Woonsocket, RI
Colleen Bibeault, Teacher, Woonsocket High School, Woonsocket, RI

The High School/College Connection: Creating College Success for All Students
This session will provide high school and college leaders an example of one high school-college partnership that worked to create an early college pathway where students can graduate with a high school
diploma in one hand and an AS degree in the other. This early college program starts with a Freshman Transition course as the foundation. Danielle and Jorge will share the process of getting their program started, as well as the challenges and obstacles they have faced and how they have overcome them.
Danielle Aguilar, Counselor, Summit Charter Collegiate Academy, CA
Jorge Ramos, Vice Principal, Summit Charter Collegiate Academy, CA

Whole-School Get Focused...Stay Focused!® Implementation: Starting the GFSF Program with the Entire High School Population
During this session, Sheri Gempler, Success 101 teacher, and Dave Urquhart, superintendent of the Big Oak Flat/Groveland USD, will discuss how they were able to start a Get Focused...Stay Focused!® program with not only the freshman class, but with the entire school population. The presenters will discuss the process used to make this happen and review the pros and cons of such a beginning. For their school, the pros well outweighed the cons. All students gained insightful and important information about themselves that they can use as they pursue either additional high school courses or, in the case of the senior class, pathways to further education. This is a small and rural high school, so connections with the “outside” world are very important.
Dave Urquhart, Superintendent, Tioga and Don Pedro High Schools, CA
Sheri Gempler, Success 101 Teacher, Tioga and Don Pedro High Schools, CA

Freshman Transition—Collaboration in Motion: Building Hope and Opportunity in Your School Community
Rahway High School Principal, John Farinella, will share key aspects of the Rahway High School freshman seminar program. The presentation will highlight aspects of the strategic collaboration among members of the school community that yield a winning program. Additionally, the presentation will include remarks from selected graduating seniors. Furthermore, Principal Farinella will touch on staffing, scheduling, and other key program considerations.
John Farinella, Principal, Rahway High School, NJ

Developing a Freshman Transition Curriculum and Program: PLCs and their Role in Freshman Transition Courses
This session will include the process behind Bridgeton High School’s program—from establishing a need for a Freshman Transition program to creating a vision for our course from the district office to our teaching staff. We will focus on assembling a curriculum development team, organizing professional development for teachers, and a plan to assemble a Freshman Transition Professional Learning Community of teachers.
Stephen DiPatri, Curriculum Supervisor, Bridgeton High School, NJ
Tanya Corbett, Assistant Principal, Bridgeton High School, NJ

Buy-in and Persistence: How We Are Building a Get Focused...Stay Focused!® Program in Adult Education
Learn about the GFSF program we have developed and are expanding in our school and regional consortium. This presentation will focus on staff, student, and consortium buy-in and the methods we use to retain students in our Career and Academic Preparation program. We award high school elective credits and leverage thousands of ancillary resources targeting almost every page in Career Choices and Changes. Celebrate with us some of the many success stories our students have shared over the past two years.
Geno Malkiewicz, Teacher, Elk Grove Adult and Community Education, CA
Michelle Triplett, Teacher, Elk Grove Adult and Community Education, CA

From an Instructor’s Perspective: Practical Advice from Career Choices Mentor Teachers
Moderated by Rachelle Fast, this panel of Career Choices Mentor Teachers will share insights they’ve gained, techniques they’ve honed, and strategies they’ve successfully implemented in their own classrooms.