Ninth-grade academy gets official name

Students walk the hallways of Gattis Junior High School, which will be converted into a ninth-grade academy. (CNJ staff photo: Marlena Hartz)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ Staff Writer

Plans for the Clovis ninth-grade academy are progressing smoothly, according to Clovis Schools officials.

Officials have decided to name the academy the Clovis High School Freshman Campus, and last Friday, students chose the colors purple and white to represent their campus. Purple and white also represent the Clovis High School.

Both decisions underscore the Freshman Campus is part of the high school, Clovis Schools Director of Community Relations David Briseno said.

Briseno said eighth-graders were polled informally about campus color preferences in their social studies classes.

“It was one of those things that was kind of unanimous,” he said of their color choice.

“Everybody is excited. … (But) there is always butterflies when you are looking at change,” Briseno said.

The Clovis Schools Board of Education voted in January to convert Gattis Junior High School into a campus for ninth-graders. Currently, Clovis ninth-graders, although part of the high school, attend junior high schools.

The Freshman Campus will open in August and students will be divided into core groups taught by teams of teachers.

Seventh- and eighth-graders will attend Marshall and Yucca junior high schools.

Clovis Schools administrators pushed for the Freshman Campus because they believe it will improve academic performance and create a more socially appropriate environment for ninth-graders — a population they said is at risk of dropping out of high school and consistently behind in gathering high school credits. Seventh- and eighth-graders will also receive more focused instruction as a result of the move, they said.

“We anticipate a smooth opening (of the Freshman Campus) in August,” Briseno said.

In preparation for the opening, an expert in professional development for ninth-grade campuses has been hired and some maintenance has begun at Gattis, Briseno said.

Renovations of Gattis basketball courts, parking spaces and picnic area are under way, he said.