Benson High School Magnet implemented the Freshman Academies during the 2014-2015 school year. The Mission of the Freshman Academy at Benson High Magnet is to is to empower future leaders to take responsibility for their own success. The Freshman Academy has its own wing in the building, a team planning center for cross-curricular teachers to gather and meet on a regular basis.
As students start their journey on Career Academies at Benson, they are enrolled in our unique course, “Goals and Pathways for Success” (GPS). This course gives students an opportunity to explore these questions: Who am I? What do I want? How do I get it? In answering these questions, students develop skills in budgeting, decision-making, goal setting, and career research thereby providing a solid foundation for students to select their future career academy.
The dedicated educators of the Freshman Academy worked together to established and monitor the focus goals of the academy and collaborate with these community partners to enhance our mission: the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and 4-H, the Urban League, Gallup, and Youth Frontiers. As students are exposed to new ideas and career possibilities throughout the course, students learn their story starts here, with their decisions and choice. The culmination of these components of our Freshman Academies is to set our ninth-grade students up for success as they venture out into the Career Academies, to graduation and beyond.
As a results of our mission, vision, dedication to our goals as an Academy, the Freshman Academy was recognized as a Model Status Freshman Academy by the National Career Academy Coalition as of the spring of 2020.
The Goals: (What is your goal and how are you doing it)
1. Freshman on Track from Graduation …. We monitor student failure rates, regularly meeting with students that are not passing their core classes, our success rate is measure by the amount of students on track for graduation by the end of Freshman year by those that earned 7 of the 8 core credits.
2. To hit our Strive for 95 goals and decrease chronic absenteeism (district wide goal) ….. we monitor students that are meeting the on track for Strive for 95 by holding quarterly assemblies to recognize those students that have meet this marker. We focus on cross-curricular projects with a partnership to increase engagement.
3. To expose students their strengths as a tools/guides for their path using Gallup Strength Finder, Youth Frontier “Respect” retreat, campus tours, focusing on leadership and soft-skills and one of kind foundation course, Goals and Pathways for Success.
Jane Laughlin Academy Specialist
Shauntae Starks Counselor
Elisabeth Haskell-Voris Academy Lead Teacher, GPS
Jason Rhine Dean of Students (Discipline)
Nicole Anderson Special Education and Math
AJ Benker Science
Andrew Brown Instrumental Music
Paul Callahan Reading
Tyrie Fant Social Studies
Janelle Fentress Reading and GPS
Susy Gibbons Vocal Music
Julia Grant Special Education
Dan Kenny Physical Education
Kyle Kerger Science
Hugh Lawson Math
Tracy Manning Science
William Meadows Math
Meredith McIvor GPS
Tammie Meloy Reading
Ann Ronning Social Studies
Kelcey Schmitz English
David Strohbehn JROTC
Matthew Weidner Social Studies
Paula Wenberg Special Education
Ben Wells English
Jennifer Wittry Math
*Students may take electives outside of the academy. Please consult the course guide for a full list available of electives.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln