Welcome to HNGA!

FOR Students

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Welcome to Your Ninth Grade Year!

Students and Families of the Class of 2026, 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!

Open House
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FOR Students

Most of us can easily associate major companies with their brand. We all all associate Nike with "Just do it," McDonalds with "I'm loving it," and Chick-Fil-A with "Eat More Chicken". At HNGA we are FOR Students.

Our admin team recently read “Know what you’re for” by Jeff Henderson. In it, Henderson talks about growth and finding ways for your organization to accomplish its mission. Henderson encourages everyone to ask 2 underlining questions of themselves and their organization. First, he asks, “What do you want to be known for?”

When we asked this simple, but challenging question of ourselves and of our staff, our answers ranged from promoting 100% of our students to molding our students into men & women who will become productive citizens. Even though we received many answers for what we want to be known for, almost all the answers had a common component - students. At the end of the day, HNGA wants to be known FOR STUDENTS. Yes, promotion, graduation, and character development play a role in that. But ultimately, being for students means something different to each student on any given day. Caring for students’ mental health, basic life needs, and emotional well being are all part of being FOR STUDENTS. It also means providing academic support or redirections when a student does not live up to our expectations for them. We go to great lengths to hold our students to high expectations and to meet all of their needs, whatever that entails.

The first question, what do we want to be known for, speaks to our mission. The second question is how others perceive us. It is, “What ARE you known for?” It’s asked of your peers, your families, and of the community members that you know. If you say you’re for students but your actions don’t show that and no one knows that’s what you’re for, you’re not accomplishing the mission nor are you growing. Growth only happens when what you want to be known for aligns with others know of you.

As we welcome the Class of 2026, we want our words and actions to make it so that HNGA is known around our communities and around our state that Habersham Ninth Grade Academy and our school system is a model template for reaching one of the most crucial grades of students and that no matter what, HNGA is FOR STUDENTS.

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Show Up Everday!

Our main goal for each student is for them to graduate from high school. While there will be tests, projects, and group activities along the way, the key to graduating high school is not as complicated as quoting Shakespeare or labeling the Periodic Table. The first step to graduating high school is to simply show up every day!

Research shows that low attendance during a student’s first 30 days of their 9th grade year is a stronger indicator that a student will drop out than any other 8th grade predictor – including test score and grades. Let that research sink in. Regardless of academic performance, wealth, or family background, simply coming to school every day can indicate if a student will graduate on time or not.

The National Dropout Prevention Center says that 43% of high school dropouts decided to quit school because of poor attendance. And another 38% decided to drop out because of poor grades, which are often directly impacted by school attendance. Because HNGA is on the block schedule, students who miss an entire 90-minute class often miss two lessons! Additionally, students are still responsible for their missed assignments, even if the absence is "excused".

One of the things I often tell students is that while so many things in life are outside the control of a 9th-grader, showing up to school every day is something they can control. While we cannot control getting sick, we can control our attitude and effort, especially on days where it's more tempting to snuggle up with Netflix than brave the weather.

The pandemic is behind us, and by recognizing the importance of attendance and partnering with parents and guardians, it is our goal that each student has exemplary attendance throughout the year. We will recognize exemplary attendance with competitions, incentives, and rewards throughout the year.

We work hard to make HNGA a place where students feel safe and where they want to be. And we know the first step to having a successful 9th-grade year and high school graduation is simple...just show up every day!

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In order to graduate with the Class of 2026, 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.

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Academic Supports

The first year of high school will be academically challenging for students. It is common for students, even those who did very well in middle school, to have difficulty adjusting to the rigor and pace of 9th-grade courses. At HNGA, we offer multiple supports in order for students to have every opportunity to earn all 8 credits during the 9th-grade year. Students whose grades are not where they want them to be should take advantage of the following academic supports and interventions that HNGA can offer.

  • Before and after school tutoring - Students should make arrangements with their teacher to take advantage of tutoring opportunities.
  • After school math tutoring- HNGA offers free math tutoring after school twice a week. There is free bus transportation home for students who stay for after school math tutoring.
  • Parent - Teacher conferences - We believe that families are our greatest allies, and we believe in speaking with our allies frequently!
  • Mandatory Lunch Study Hall - One of our most impactful interventions for students who are not passing a core academic class (math, English, science, & history) is our mandatory lunch study hall. For the last several weeks of each semester, students who are not passing a core academic class are required to attend study hall during their lunch shift. More information will be communicated about this very effective intervention before it begins in the fall!

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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
  • Audio/Visual Technology
  • Band
  • Business Technology
  • Chorus
  • Drama
  • Engineering
  • Freshmen Seminar
  • Graphics Design
  • Health & Personal Fitness*
  • Marketing
  • Peer Facilitation (Student Leadership)**
  • Psychology
  • Sculpture
  • Spanish I
  • Spanish II
  • Team Sports
  • Weight Training
  • Wildlife Management
  • Yearbook

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

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

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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 seven 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; 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.

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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

    Nutrition Information

    All students at HNGA will receive a free breakfast. A student lunch will be $2.50 and $0.40 for reduced lunch.

    Family Applications for free and reduced meals should be completed online at www.family.titank12.com. Select the box that says APPLY FOR MEALS TODAY, available in several languages. Please provide an email address for the results.

    Online meal payments can be made by creating a free account at family.titank12.com (mypaymentsplus is no longer available).

    f you need assistance, please contact Nutrition Department at 706-754-2110.

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    Car Rider Morning Drop-Off and Afternoon Pick-Up Procedures

    MORNING DROP-OFF: Students who are car riders in the morning need to be dropped off at the doors near our band room/trophy case area as seen in the picture below. Doors open at 7:15. They may go to the auditorium if they opt out of breakfast, or they may choose to go to the cafeteria for a no-cost breakfast. The bell to go to classes will ring at 7:55 and the tardy bell will ring at 8:00. After 8:00 your child must enter through office doors and get a tardy pass to class.

    AFTERNOON PICK-UP: Enter the school entrance and use the 2 designated outer lanes. Car riders will be waiting in our outside covered area by the front office. Please pull as far forward as possible. School personnel will be monitoring the area and using stop/go signals for loading and moving the cars. Please encourage your student to watch for your arrival at the loading areas and be ready to load when permitted. For safety purposes, we will have 2-3 loading areas for students. In order to keep the line moving as efficiently as possible as well as keep the line out of the main road, your student may be asked to walk down to the furthest loading zone to meet you. An adult will cross students as needed.

    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.