Five Things to Know About Freshman Teaming

Five Things to Know About Freshman Teaming

Venessa Kuchenik, Staff Writer

1. What is Freshman Teaming?

Freshman teaming is a statewide movement for a collection of data started by the University of Chicago to improve high school graduation; the “network for college success.”

Teams were installed just last year in an attempt to maintain and improve a smooth transition from middle school to high school for students.  This meant that all freshmen students were split into four teams and each team would share the same four core subject teachers.   

All freshmen teachers of core subjects–math, science, social studies and language arts–have an extra prep period.  The extra hour is to help them prepare for incoming freshman classes. During this time they look over the students that they are responsible for to see how well they’re doing.  They can take notice of specific students who might be struggling and reach out to them. These same teachers also hold weekly meetings with all other freshmen core subject teachers where they share how each of their students are doing and to see if any patterns, or ways to help an individual student, are discovered.  This closer attention is supposed to create a better understanding of why some students might be underperforming and how to help them. It is simply creating a deeper connection with students.  

2. Understanding the Data 

Last year’s freshmen team data has been collected to see how well freshmen teaming actually works. Click here to get the results. 


  • Students’ success is measured by a combination of GPA (their grade point average), ATT (attendance), and overall earned Credits.  Ideally, students are to have a GPA of at least 3.0, a 90% attendance, and earn all the credits required in a semester (around 3.5, which equals a total of 7 credits a year).  
  • The data is also categorized by gender, ethnicity, ELD (English Language Learners), and Special ED.  
  • “2 or more” is the category of multi-racial students
  • “NH/PI” stands for Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • “AI/AN” stands for
  • “SpEd” stands for Special Ed
  • “ELs” stands for English Language Learners

3. Results

Last year’s second semester results show that CHS is not meeting required standards.  80-90% of students should be “on” track to graduation, meaning that all three (GPA, ATT, and Credits) should be at the minimum “on track” tier.  

CHS is 5% short of missing the 80-90% tier for ATT; the majority of students are “off” track in their ATT.  

CHS does meet the 80-90% margin for the Credits category; with an average of 88.18% students receiving all of their required Credits.  However, the quality of those credits aren’t well. Nearly half, 48.23% of students have a GPA of less than 3.0, landing them in the “off” track category.   

Two ways of seeing the data:

Anne Haverkamp, CHS instructional coach who is currently working on collecting this data and finding ways to fix the developing issue, explains that there are two ways of interpreting the results collected from last years freshmen teams.

Microscopically: When seeing the results of the data, the immediate instinct is to help each individual student.  Giving extra attention to those in need and trying to help them with their struggles. This would be an example of seeing the data microscopically; taking the results and applying them to each individual. 

Macroscopically: However, taking a broader look at the picture will reveal bigger trends that can help uncover the source of the troubling results.  Mrs. Haverkamp explains that we, “as a school, need to critically examine our systems; the schedule, our curriculum and instructional practices.”  This is because we are not “responding to students’” needs. “We need to be flexible and determine how to help students reach a high level of achievement right as they walk in through the door.”  Meaning that our way of teaching should be flexible enough to fit each individual student to aid them achieve the best education and experience at school, so that every one of them receives the same opportunities for success.  

4. What The Results Mean for CHS

Haverkamp said, “We definitely have to explore our systems to see what we’re doing well and what areas need improvement.”  There could be multiple reasons for these unfavorable results and “we can’t blame [any] one single person.”  

Change is on its way.  We might not know how quickly it will come about, but we do know that people are beginning to stir.  Our “principle is one hundred percent dedicated to looking at the data.” Having the leader of the school be on board with the project Mrs. Haverkamp has taken on is a big motivating booster that will help move things along.  CHS even has the help of a non-profit group called Stand for Children. They have coaches who go out and support these projects. CHS has been assigned a coach and her name is Tara DeBois and “she has been doing a lot to help us move this work forward.”

5. Staff at CHS Are Very Dedicated

We are very lucky to have a principal who is very interested and knowledgeable in the work that is going on, said Haverkamp.  Our teachers also care enormously for all of their students. Haverkamp notes, “This isn’t a staff who just shows up for a paycheck; this is a staff who is deeply committed to each student who walks through these doors.”  It is extremely reassuring to know that we have people here in this building who will do anything they can to see their students’ succeed.