Ninth Grade Academy

Hale Ninth Grade Academy

The Nathan Hale Academies are the result of a multi-year, all-staff educational reform process. They are a key part of a long-term goal to create a school that meets the needs of ALL students, ensuring they will become honorable, thinking, skillful citizens.

There are three academies in our ninth grade program, each staffed by four teachers.

  • Each of the four teachers in an academy is a specialist in one or more of the following: health, language arts, science or social studies.
  • Students will receive a full year of academic credit in each of these four subject areas.

For the fall semester, each academy is further divided into a health/science block and a language arts/social studies block.

  • Students will do course work in a single block first quarter, and then work in the other block second quarter.
  • Your student will have either health/science or language arts/world history first quarter; second quarter they switch and have the block they did not have first quarter.
  • Quarter academy classes are worth a semester credit per class.
  • We are able to do this because the class periods are longer and material is covered in an in-depth manner.
  • Throughout the entire semester both blocks will focus heavily on reading and writing.

Academies meet during the first three hours of the day.

  • We have developed a schedule that consists of two academic blocks each day ranging from 65 to 90 minutes.
  • For the first several months of school, Mondays begin with a 20-minute “all-academy” meeting used for announcements, team-building activities, and orientation to Nathan Hale High School

Our academies operate on the inclusion principle: all students attend the same classes and meet high standards of behavior and academic achievement and all students have the option of doing honors level work by fulfilling requirements specified. IEP teachers oversee and implement accommodations for students who have an IEP.

In the ninth grade, we begin building the skills necessary for students to be successful beyond high school in the Innovation Era. Some of these skills are collaboration, communication, critical thinking, inquiry, creativity and persistence.

As you may know, current ninth grade students are required to complete 24 credits to graduate. At Nathan Hale, we have required 23.5 credits for graduation for nearly two decades and our current schedule offers 27 possible credits towards graduation. Our present school design work focuses on Career-Connected Learning because we believe students will benefit if they understand the ways their learning in school will be relevant to their lives after graduation.

Article about Curriculum

We strongly encourage parents to read the following article:

This article addresses the concerns parents may have that de-tracking academic classes results in “watered down” curriculum.

In fact, the opposite has been true in our experience since implementing our model in 1998. Our curriculum has become far more rigorous as we have focused on developing critical thinking skills in all of our students. We also encourage parents to explore the links on our website to The Coalition of Essential Schools site for more information about the core principles that drive our school design.

Access The Source

  • Frequently check your student’s progress  in each of  his/her classes by  logging on to The Source
  • Encourage your student to talk to his/her teachers in order to stay on top of schoolwork. 
  • Check your student’s log books regularly. This will keep you updated on what we are doing in class.
  • Use the school progress report form if you would like weekly updates. Have your student take the form around for teachers to complete, and bring home to you. Forms are available in the counseling office. 
  • Contact your student’s classroom teachers with any questions or concerns you may have. 
  • Contact your student’s mentorship teacher to discuss specific ways to support or intervene. 
  • Make sure your student has a quiet space in which to work on school assignments at home.

Language Arts Courses

Essential Question:  What is the significance of self-identity?

LA 9A (Fall)
  • Unit 1The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ~ Personal Narrative
  • Unit 2The Hate U Give ~Project and Exhibition
  • Unit 3American Born Chinese ~ Text Response
LA 9B (Spring)
  • Unit 1Romeo and Juliet ~ Reading & Performance
  • Unit 2Night ~ Analytical Essay
  • Unit 3The Joy Luck Club ~ Family History Narrative

World History Courses

World History I (Fall)
  • Unit 1 – Introduction to the year and to each other – who we are, our families and our culture. How does our culture     and personal philosophy shape how we see the world and help us understand world history?  Note: the exploration of culture and philosophy continues through the year.
  • Unit 2 – The rise of democracy and the Republic in Ancient Greece and Rome.  Exploration of contemporary democratic conflicts (CBA).
  • Unit 3 – Middle East. Origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, historical and geographical context of modern Middle East.  Issues of US foreign policy in the Middle East.
World History II (Spring)
  • Unit 1 – India.  Geography and demography of modern India. Philosophy and religion in Indian history including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism. Origins of modern India, including the movement for independence, and modern Indian society with a focus on environmental issues.
  • Unit 2 – China. Geography and demography of modern China. Philosophy and religion in Chinese history including Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism, and Buddhism.  The dynastic system and the birth of the People’s Republic of China.  Modern China with a focus on the environment, culminating in a final environmental summit (joint project with Science class).

Science Courses

Physics (Fall)
  • Unit 1 – Static Charge and discharge
  • Unit 2 – Waves— Sound vs. Light
  • Project/Application—Science Exhibition Night
Chemistry (Spring)
  • Unit 1 – Atomic Structure and nuclear chemistry
  • Unit 2 – Electrons location and mobility
  • Unit 3 – Ionic Compounds, conductivity, solubility
  • Unit 4 – Covalent molecules, electronegativity, polarity, bulk properties
  • Project/Application– Paris Climate Summit Human Ecology Project

Health Courses

Your Developing Brain (Fall)
  • Personality and your unique brain ~ knowing yourself supports healthy decision making.
  • The Teenage Brain is Under Construction ~ Optimum brainpower through health and wellness.
  • Mental Health: Strategies to deal with stress, depression, and bullying. Suicide warning signs and how to help a friend. Accessing resources for support.
  • Drugs/Addiction: Understanding addiction and its effects on individuals, families and communities.
Your Developing Body (Spring)
  • Communication skills: conflict resolution, assertiveness skills.
  • Human Sexuality: Knowledge and communication skills are essential for healthy relationships.
  • Physical Health ~ Food choices and exercise habits affect overall health.
  • First Aid/Emergencies: CPR certification and emergency preparedness. 


Students will attend class daily, and be prepared to work at the start of class. A student is considered TARDY if not seated when the bell rings for the beginning of class. A student is considered ABSENT if a class, or a significant portion (10 minutes or more) of a class is missed. Three tardies will also be counted as an absence.

The Nathan Hale attendance policy requires students to appeal for credit in a class when ten absences are reached. Academy class (Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Health) students are required to appeal for credit after five absences are reached. This is due to the fact that academy classes change quarterly, and are longer in class period length than semester classes.


All students are members of the Nathan Hale learning community. They are expected to show respect for themselves, and for their fellow students at all times, inside and outside of the classroom. This includes:

  • Always giving your individual best effort
  • Being quiet and listening when others are talking
  • Respecting school property, and the property of others
  • Remaining seated during class presentations by teachers or students
  • Using appropriate language (no swearing or put-downs, in any language)

Food/Drink Policy

Students will be allowed to drink water during class time. Other than water, eating/drinking in the classroom will be allowed only during silent reading time, except for special occasions, planned in advance by the instructor.

Students are expected to be in class, prepared to work, during class time (see Attendance expectation). It is the student’s responsibility to take care of non-classroom needs, such as trips to the bathroom or getting materials from lockers, during passing time. To accommodate unusual or unforeseen circumstances, students will be given two hall passes per quarter by their mentor teacher.


The Nathan Hale staff is dedicated to providing a supportive environment for student learning. Ultimately, responsibility for that learning belongs to the student. In addition to the expectations above, all Hale students are expected to show responsibility for their own learning by:

Asking for help, especially from their mentor teacher
Turning in work on time (see Late Work, below)
Doing their own work (see Cheating, below)
Supporting other members of their learning community, both students and staff

Late Work

Late work is any work turned in after the assigned date or time without advance agreement from the instructor. Late daily work results in losing 50% credit.Late major projects results in a loss of 10% each day. It is the responsibility of the student to discuss late work with the instructor.


Cheating is taking credit for any work that is not your own. No credit will be given for work that is other people’s work. This can include copying on a test, copying homework, and plagiarizing (copying from a published author without giving them proper credit). In the case of homework or tests, both persons will lose credit for the work.

Responsible Scholarship

is expected of all students.

Ninth graders at Nathan Hale use log books to record their daily assignments, to keep track of their class readings, for in-class work and for homework responses. Homework assignments are checked (signed or stamped) daily. Log books are collected and graded approximately every two to three weeks. This information will help you in understanding our grading system.

An “A”  response log (90-100%) exhibits these traits:

  • Always contains a clear index
  • Always has all entries completed
  • Always has sincere and genuine response for all assignments/responses
  • Always has thorough summaries
  • Always has vocabulary completed
  • Always has compelling quotations when appropriate
  • Always contains insightful questions
  • Always contains every assignment/notes in completed form
  • Always contains all tests, quizzes, projects, etc.
  • Always has entries completed on time

A  “B”  response (80-89%) exhibits these traits:

  • Usually contains a clear index
  • Almost all entries completed thoroughly – only minor things missing
  • Usually has sincere and genuine responses
  • Usually has thorough summaries
  • Usually has vocabulary completed and legitimate (very minor things missing)
  • Usually has compelling quotations when appropriate
  • Usually contains insightful questions
  • Usually contains every assignment in completed form (only very minor things missing)
  • Usually contains all tests, quizzes, projects, etc.
  • Usually has entries completed on time

A  “C”  response log (70-79%) exhibits these traits:

  • Sometimes contains a clear index, but usually has problems
  • Missing some entries, but nothing minor
  • Sometimes has sincere and genuine responses
  • Sometimes has thorough summaries
  • Sometimes has vocabulary completed and legitimate, but things missing
  • Sometimes has compelling quotations when appropriate
  • Sometimes has insightful questions
  • Sometimes is missing minor assignment, or parts of assignments, and responses
  • Sometimes missing tests, quizzes, projects, etc.

A  “D”  response log (60-69%) exhibits these traits:

  • Rarely contains a clear index and often has major problems
  • Missing entries
  • Rarely has sincere and genuine responses
  • Rarely has thorough summaries, usually shallow or hurried
  • Rarely has vocabulary completed and legitimate and major things are missing
  • Rarely has compelling quotations
  • Rarely has insightful questions
  • Whole assignments or responses are missing
  • Often missing tests, quizzes, projects, etc.

An  “N”  response log (below 60%) exhibits these traits:

  • Never has clear index, or lacks an index entirely
  • Missing major entries
  • Never has sincere or genuine responses, or lacks responses altogether
  • Never has well thought out summaries, or lacks summaries altogether
  • Never has completed vocabulary, or is missing on significant entries
  • Never has compelling quotations, or missing quotations altogether
  • Never has insightful questions, or missing questions altogether
  • Whole assignments or responses are missing
  • Rarely has tests, quizzes, projects, etc.

Please answer the questions below so we can better serve you. We will meet with you within the first weeks of the start of the school year to discuss this information.

  • Name:
  • Why did you choose Nathan Hale High School? 
  • What are your hopes for your 9th grade year at Nathan Hale? 
  • What language(s) do you speak? 
  • What would you like us to know about you? 
  • What questions do you have about Nathan Hale and/or high school? 
  • What concerns do you have? 
  • Describe the kind of teacher you have learned best from in the past. 
  • Some subjects/classes I have done well in the past include: 
    • MATH
    • HEALTH
  • The subjects/classes I have NOT enjoyed in the past: 
    • I think this is because: 
  • I seem to learn best when: 
  • I find it difficult to learn when: 
  • One challenge I look forward to achieving this year is: