January Newsletter 2023

HNGA...For Students

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Happy New Year, Parents and Families!

As the Principal of HNGA, I could not have asked for a better start to our new semester. Our students have physically and emotionally matured tremendously since the beginning of the school year, and I am excited to see how much more they’ll grow between now and May.

As we rolled into January, there was talk about New Year's Resolutions, self-improvement, and personal growth. Each January, millions of people determine that THIS is finally the year when their goals will be accomplished.

To succeed and reach goals, one has to be consistent in the little things repeatedly. For our students, the one thing that can be a catalyst for success is school attendance. Simply by showing up, students are more likely to be successful and be on the path to graduation.

Each year, there is a direct correlation between attendance and student achievement. The students who will be completing extra assignments, attending tutoring sessions, and serving lunch study hall this semester will most likely be the students who are inconsistent in their attendance.

Robert Collier said it best when he said, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out”. For 9th graders who want to reach their goals and be successful, the “small effort” required of them is to simply show up at school and be ready to learn every day.

We appreciate the partnership we have with our parents and families as we work together FOR Students. If there is anything we can do to support you or your student, please let us know!


David Leenman


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Habersham County Schools will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2023 (Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.)

Credits & Graduation

Everything we do here at HNGA is done with our eyes on the ultimate goal, graduation from Habersham Central. After the first semester, most students are well on their way to earning the required 5 credits to go to Habersham Central as a sophomore in the fall. (Refer to HNGA Handbook pg. 33 - 34 for more details).

One of the best ways to ensure our freshmen graduate on time is to pass all their classes. Research shows that 85% of students with 0 semester failures will graduate on time. It is vital that our students end the year without any course failures.

We will continue to motivate our students, and the first step towards graduation is to earn all 8 credits as a 9th grader, including core content credits in science, history, math, and English.

Report Cards were sent home on January 10th. If you need Powerschool access to see your student's grades and attendance, please email Penny Rineheart @
prineheart@habershamschools.com. Your student also has access to Powerschool and can access it at home.

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ATTENDANCE MATTERS... New Attendance Incentives

Congratulations to students in Mrs. Carver's Homeroom for winning December's Attendance Challenge! Each month, homerooms compete against each other to see which homeroom has the highest attendance. The winning homeroom earns major House points and is treated to a sweet treat!


In an effort to improve attendance, course performance and the likelihood of students graduating on time, we are offering an incentive for students with exemplary attendance. Students with exemplary attendance will be entered into weekly, monthly and quarterly drawings for prizes ranging from concession cart bucks, free lunch and larger prizes.

Thank You, Judge Carswell and Assistant District Attorney Snow!

HNGA students had the privilege of participating in a presentation delivered by Judge Carswell and Assistant District Attorney Snow. They covered topics relevant to our students such as implications and legal actions taken for vaping, truancy, and drug/alcohol use by minors.
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Congratulations to Mr. Ben Bolton, Coach Lindsay Herrin, and Penny Rineheart for being the most recent recipients of the Academy Award of Awesomeness. Each week, the recipient of this prestigious award passes it to a faculty or staff member who has gone above and beyond FOR Students.

22-23 HNGA Yearbook Staff Makes Us Proud!

Our Freshman Yearbook Staff spent more than 4,715 hours in eDesign this semester. Meeting every deadline! And creating top notch content recognized by our Herff Jones advisors! Mrs. Natalie White (Herff Jones advisor), Mrs. Selena White (HCHS Yearbook Advisor), and myself are extremely impressed with the dedication and hard work these students put into making not only our first semester Freshman Yearbook class a success, but producing quality content, choosing the 2022-2023 Yearbook theme, and designed influential modulars that truly encompass the class of 2026.
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Paraprofessionals, We Appreciate You!

We are so very thankful for our HNGA Paraprofessionals! They are often the unsung heroes of the school and are willing to do whatever it takes FOR Students to succeed here at HNGA! We truly appreciate each of you!

Mark Your Calendar

Please mark your calendar for these important, upcoming events:

Report Cards went home - Jan 10

Special Assembly: Judge Carswell & District Attorney Snow - Jan 13

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (No School) - Jan 16

Progress Reports go home - Feb 7

HCHS Parent Night for Rising 10th Graders - (Feb 2 - 6:00 PM HCHS)

Registration for 10th Grade Courses (during school hours) - Feb 7

Presidents Day (No School) - Feb 20

ABC Incentive Event Criteria Begins - Feb 27

Teacher Work Day (No School) - Mar 13

Math Pi Week - Mar 14 - 17 (Themes for each day TBA)

Battle of the Houses - Mar 17

College and Career Day - Mar 22

Spring Break (No School) - April 3-7

AP Human Geography exam- May 4

Algebra 1 Georgia Milestones EOC - May 11

Battle of the Houses - May 12

Last day of school - May 26

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HCHS Parent Night

Habersham Central will be hosting a Parent Night for rising 10th graders on Feb. 2 at 6:00 PM in the Performing Arts Center at HCHS.

For more information or questions, please contact HCHS's 10th grade counselor, Dan Keef at DKeef@habershamschools.com.

Georgia Parent Survey 2022-2023

We are always looking for ways to improve our school and we value your feedback. In an effort to help us improve, please click on the following link and complete this short School Climate Survey:


After School Math Tutoring

Students who are enrolled in Foundations of Algebra, Algebra 1, or Geometry have the opportunity to attend after-school math tutoring. Tutoring will begin on Jan. 17 this semester and will be available every Monday and Thursday, 3:15-4:30 PM.

There is free transportation for all students. Please reach out to your student's math teacher with any questions.

Dress Code Reminders

Students are expected to continue to follow the HNGA dress code found in the student handbook - Pages 13-14.

Please review this particular section which is a problem area for a number of students:

  • Leggings, "jeggings", tights or yoga pants are permitted ONLY if the outer garment (shirt, skirt, dress, etc.) appropriately covers the student’s front and back.
  • Shirts must be long enough to extend beyond the top of the pants, shorts, leggings/joggers, or skirt. No midriff exposed.
  • No cleavage should be exposed. Sleeveless shirts/dresses are permitted providing the clothing meets the end of the shoulder and does not expose undergarments or have arm openings large enough to expose the sides, back or chest of the student. Shirts with cutoff sleeves are not permitted.
  • Exposing undergarments is prohibited.
  • Halter tops, strapless tops, midriff tops, tank tops, and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
  • Pajamas or other bedroom apparel are not permitted.This includes pajama pants and bedroom attire.
  • Dresses, holes in jeans, or shorts (for all students) must be no higher than 3" above of the knee.
  • Sweatshirt hoods are not allowed to be worn in the building as this is a safety issue. Hats are only allowed on designated hat days.

For more information, please reference page 13-14 of your student's handbook. Thank you for your support!

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.

HNGA Handbook Policy: Students may use headphones/earbuds for instructional purposes only, and should not be worn when not being used with the teacher's permission.

Students are to have their electronic communication devices and other electronic media turned off and put away upon entering the school, throughout the school day, and until they leave the school each day. A student using a cell phone outside of instructional purposes (including, but not limited to use in common areas, cafeteria, restrooms, locker rooms, and hallways) will result in the following consequences:

  • First Offense: Cell phone will be confiscated and returned to the student at the end of the school day.
  • Second Offense: Cell phone will be confiscated and returned to a parent at the end of the school day.
  • Third or additional Offenses: Cell phone will be confiscated and returned to a parent at the end of the school day. The student will also serve one day in In School Suspension (ISS).

Students who repeatedly violate the cell phone policy may be required to leave their cell phone in the office at the beginning of each school day.

Students are not permitted to video, take pictures of, or audio record other students violating any section of the Code of Conduct.

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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.

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