Keeping Your 9th Grader on Track

A Helpful Parent Guide

Welcome to 9th Grade

Your teenager's future begins now! The Huntsville City Schools recognizes the importance of the ninth grade year. The Freshman Academies are designed to welcome students into a safe and nurturing environment with excellent teachers who will challenge and grow your students.

Working in partnership with the teachers, parents must express high expectations for their children. The top priority is to ensure that all students graduate from high school college and career ready, equipped with the skills needed to succeed in college or the workplace.

Working together, we CAN make it happen!

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September is Attendance Awareness Month

From "Attendance Works" Website

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and on the job.


• Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation.

• Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.

• By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.

• By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

• Missing 10 percent, or about 18 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.

• Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.

• Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.


Make school attendance a priority

• Talk about the importance of showing up to school everyday, make that the expectation.

• Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.

• Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.

• Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.

Help your teen stay engaged

• Find out if your child feels engaged by his classes and feels safe from bullies and other threats. Make sure he/she is not missing class because of behavioral issues and school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, work with your school.

• Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.

• Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.

• Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.

Communicate with the school

• Know the school’s attendance policy – incentives and penalities

• Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.

• Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.

• Ask for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school.

Your Teen Needs You Now More Than Ever

Help your teen prepare for success in school!

* Set limits on bed time to ensure well rested students.

* Be sure your student gets to school on time every morning.

* Know your students' teachers/counselor and encourage them to inform you of any concerns, and work with them to solve any issues.

* Know the report card schedule and utilize the online grading tool - iNow.

* Make sure your teen is completing homework every night and provide assistance if needed. Help your teen study for tests, and emphasize the importance of doing well.

* Encourage the use of a student planner to record homework, due dates and deadlines.

* Attend school open house and parent conferences to learn how your teen is performing and what you can do to support him/her.

* Register for the school newsletter to stay "in the know" about events and opportunities for parent involvement.