Freshman Academy

Two freshman working together on a school project in class.

Ninth-Grade Academy (9GA) Overview

The first year of high school is an exciting and important time in life. It is a year when students begin to deeply explore the many different paths they can take in their futures. The Ninth Grade Academy Team is structured to guide students through this transition year.

The Ninth-Grade Academy Experience


The Ninth-Grade Academy is an organizational structure designed to ensure a more personalized, supported, and integrated experience for students. We believe that relationships are the foundation upon which achievement is based. Administrators, guidance counselors, teachers and students are organized by teams. This team structure allows students to feel supported in this year of transition.



During the ninth-grade year, students will have multiple opportunities that will allow them to make informed decisions about their futures at Holyoke High School as well as after they graduate from Holyoke High School. Students will participate in a variety of experiences that help guide them choose an academy based on their interests and desired goals. Students will engage in an exploratory program, participate in reverse job shadows, complete interest surveys, research careers and occupations, and reflect on these experiences in a portfolio.


At the North Campus, the four academies students can choose from are:

  • Community and Global Studies
  • Medical and Life Sciences
  • Performing Arts and Media
  • Technology/Engineering/ Design

At the Dean Campus, the vocational education programs are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing: Machine Tool Technology
  • Auto Collision
  • Carpentry Technology
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary
  • Diesel Technology
  • Electrical Technology
  • Health Assisting
  • Programming and Web Development

Academic Achievements

Ninth-Grade Academy teachers and students will work together within their teams on project-based learning experiences and interdisciplinary projects. For example, your team may choose to study English and history through the lens of Ethnic Studies and focus your learning on the Holyoke community. The instructional model will allow students to apply knowledge, think critically, and problem solve. Teachers will also identify and incorporate habits of work and learning that will help students be successful in their academic pursuits and in the real world.


Lori McKenna
Assistant Principal
Holyoke High School North Campus

Advice for Incoming Freshman

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