August Newsletter

HNGA...For Students

Big picture

Welcome to Your Ninth Grade Year!

Students and Parents of the Class of 2025, Welcome to Habersham Ninth Grade Academy! We believe that a student's 9th-grade year is their most important year of high school. A successful 9th-grade year will put a student on the right path to high school graduation.

In addition to being the most important year of high school, it is our hope that your first year of high school will be your best year ever! The ninth grade will be academically challenging, rewarding, and fun. In order to have a successful year, all students should get involved in extracurricular activities, work hard academically, and use the resources and supports HNGA provides. Please let the administration know if we can help in any way!

Welcome video

School Safety

The safety of our staff and students is our main priority each day. Supervision, monitoring, and building relationships with our students are paramount to ensuring our safety and well-being each and every day.

Our full-time School Resource Officer, Deptury Paul Kent, our Raptor visitor check-in system, and the security cameras throughout the building are just a few of the vital components of school safety.

Another resource we implement is the Raider Report app. With this free app, HNGA students will be able to anonymously report safety concerns directly to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Leenman. In the previous years of the app, HNGA’s administrators were able to intervene with safety issues immediately and swiftly.

As we introduce this technology to our students, we hope that they will understand the vital role they play in school safety as we encourage our students to “See Something, Say Something”.

Big picture

New Faculty & Staff

We are excited to welcome the following new staff members to HNGA. Please help us welcome the following staff member to the HNGA Family:

  • Jessica Irvin, World History
  • Casey Brock, World History
  • Dylan James, Art
  • Erica Laguna, Parent Involvement Coordinator
  • Nicole Ausborn, Paraprofessional
  • Samantha Burnett, Paraprofessional
  • Tammy Hopper, Custodian
  • Justin Wheeler, Custodian
  • Dottie Minskoff, School Nutrition

Click the picture to enlarge


Research shows that one of the main indicators of a freshman's future high school graduation is his/her attendance. While we ask that you keep your student at home if his/her temperature is higher than 100.4 or if he/she is experiencing any ill symptoms, good school attendance directly impacts a student's grades, emotional wellness, and more. It is our goal that each student is absent no more than 5 school days throughout the school year. Simply being at school each day moves a student closer to graduation!

This year, we will have monthly attendance competitions between the 24 homerooms. The winning homeroom will earn House points (see below), the coveted attendance trophy, and bragging rights. Additionally, we will have quarterly attendance competitions between the 8 Houses. The House with the best attendance each 9-week period will be treated with a sundae bar, s'mores, hot chocolate, or other great prizes!

Big picture


In order to graduate with the Class of 2025, students will need to earn a minimum of 24 credits. However, research shows that a student's freshman year is the most important year of high school. We know that students who finish the 9th grade with minimal behavior issues and earned credits in ELA and math are four times more likely to graduate on time than their off-track peers (John Hopkins School of Education). These facts are at the center of each decision we make for the students.

Each student will begin the fall semester with a schedule that includes four, 90 minute classes. A typical student schedule will include two academics and two electives each semester.

In order to finish 9th grade on track and be promoted to Habersham Central as a sophomore, students must earn a minimum of 5 credits, though students will have the ability to earn up to 8 credits as a freshman. It is our goal that 100% of freshmen finish the year with credits earned in each core content area; science, math, English, history, and Health and Personal Fitness.

In order to be academically successful, students need to be at school when healthy, actively participate in each class, and take advantage of all the opportunities given to them by their teachers.

Attached below, you will find a copy of the HNGA Parent Handbook. This will give you important information including course offerings, graduation plan, college scholarships, etc.

- YouTube

Dress Code

The HNGA dress code is the same dress code as each of the middle schools. Dresses, holes in jeans, or shorts (for all students) must be no higher than 3" above of the knee. For more information, please reference page X of your student's handbook.
Big picture


HNGA is proud to offer a wide variety of electives. It is our hope that each student will find an elective offering that fits their career interests and goals. Each rising freshman will rank his/her elective choices and will be matched with an elective of his/her interest. HNGA's elective offerings are as follows:

  • Air Force JROTC
  • Animal Production
  • AP Human Geography
  • Art
  • Band
  • Business Technology
  • Chorus
  • Drama
  • Engineering
  • Fashion Merchandising
  • Graphic Design
  • Health & Personal Fitness*
  • Marketing
  • Peer Facilitation (Student Leadership)**
  • Psychology
  • Sculpture
  • Spanish I
  • Spanish II
  • Team Sports
  • Weight Training
  • Wildlife Management

*Health and Personal Fitness are 9 week courses and are required for all freshmen

**Students must complete an application for approval for Peer Facilitation

- YouTube

House System

In an effort to create a school where students are actively engaged and want to be at school each day, and the type of school that meets the needs of all of our students while building self-confidence and a sense of belonging, HNGA instituted a school-wide House System. A House is much like a team, and the members of each House become very close-knit.

According to Evie Reid (Education Week, June 2017), “Students pick up signals from their schools and peers about whether or not they belong; perceptions that can affect their success both inside and outside the classroom.” It is difficult to see students who try unsuccessfully to fit in at school or be accepted by their peers. According to research, approximately 25% of students are involved in extra-curricular activities such as sports, clubs, or fine arts.

The purpose of our House System is:

· To create a sense of family, camaraderie, and belonging for all students

· To create an avenue for consistent recognition and healthy competition

· To create excitement and a sense of pride in our school

· To create an environment where every child feels valued, nurtured, and loved

· To improve school engagement

Every student is randomly assigned to one of eight Houses. Each House has its own name and meaning. Tiyaga which means perseverance in Filipino; Respectus is Latin, and it means respect; Bonté, which means kindness in French; Integridad is Spanish for integrity; Uaminifu which means loyalty in Swahili; Zeren which means responsibility in Chinese; Mahalo which means generosity in Hawaiian, and Onore which is Italian for honor.

Students received a letter over the summer with their House assignments and will be given a House t-shirt on the first day of school. This helps create a sense of belonging from day one of the school year. Houses meet on the first day of school to learn about the House System. This is followed by a school-wide assembly where students sit with their own House and compete in a variety of fun competitions.

Throughout the school year, students earn points for their House by passing all of their classes, making the honor roll, having good attendance, performing random acts of kindness, participating in community service, and much more. In addition, a quarterly “Battle of the Houses” is held to keep the momentum going throughout the year. This includes a variety of competitions (sporting events, trivia, relay games, eating contests, etc.).

Finally, a full day of celebration is held for the House with the most points at the end of the school year. This may include a special breakfast and lunch, field trip, on-site laser tag, inflatables, ice cream break, and of course, plenty of candy and soft drinks.

The House System has gotten better every year. Student and teacher buy-in has increased; we have experienced an improvement in attendance and student engagement, which in turn has increased student achievement as measured by End of Course assessments, course performance, and credits earned. In addition, the implementation of the House System has brought a sense of excitement among students and staff and a drastic improvement in our school culture.

Big picture
Big picture

Putting the "Home" in Homeroom

The school culture we strive for, where students feel safe and want to be at school each day, has created a unique school setting. We like to call our unique setting the "HNGA Family". One major way we’ve been able to establish this sense of family is through daily homeroom meetings. Students have time each day with a teacher and group of peers that are familiar to them.

Homeroom has become a central hub of support and community for students, creating the feeling of a home at school. We’ve been able to participate in community building activities that have helped strengthen these bonds. Such activities have consisted of a door decorating contest hosted by Student Council, themed dress up days during Homecoming Spirit Week, and Homeroom Games on Fridays.

By creating time during each day for students to socialize and compete in friendly competitions and games, we’ve been able to build relationships and positive rapport with students.

What the students are saying:

“I enjoy having a place to go to every day that makes me happy.” -Madison T.

“I like being able to do things for my teachers during homeroom.” -Savannah P.

“It’s fun seeing people that I don’t normally have classes with.” -Brice W.

Written by Mrs. Terra Ward, 9th-Grade Literature

Get Involved

As discussed with the House System, freshmen are more likely to graduate when they belong to an extracurricular activity. As Raiders, freshmen are can participate in any of the 13 sports offered at Habersham Central High School.

Fall Sports

  • Cheerleading
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Softball
  • Volleyball

Winter Sports

  • Basketball
  • Swimming
  • Wrestling

Spring Sports

  • Baseball
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track

    Additionally, freshmen can join any of the clubs or other extracurricular programs as follows:

    • Academic Bowl
    • Beta Club
    • DECA
    • Drama Club
    • Environmental Club
    • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
    • Future Business Leaders of America
    • Future Farmers of America
    • Hispanic Organization Promoting Education
    • Interact Club
    • Key Club
    • Marching Band
    • Student Council
    • Tome Society
    Big picture

    Cell Phone Policy

    Students are permitted to use cell phones at HNGA for classroom instructional purposes only and only with the teacher's permission.

    Parents who need to communicate with their student throughout the day are encouraged to call the front office, where there is also a phone for students to use as needed.

    Big picture

    About Us

    Habersham Ninth Grade Academy will provide a positive, safe learning community, equipping and empowering students with skills necessary for graduation and post-secondary pursuits.