Springfield Schools to roll out new program geared at helping freshmen students prepare for their future

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The largest school district in Missouri is making some changes.

Two high schools in Springfield will be taking on a pilot program with the goal of better preparing kids for the future.

Administrators presented their idea of a half-credit, freshman course to the school board Tuesday night.

Some parents, however, are concerned that their student may not be free to choose their own path towards the future.

"It's one thing to not intend to hurt. It's another thing to seek to protect," said Victoria Batchelder.

She, and many other parents are questioning the program Springfield Schools wants to roll out.

"When it's just kind of being eased in without the end game, when you know they're putting a lot toward it, it's a little disconcerting to be honest," she said.

Administrators spent more than a year, looking at other programs at schools in Nashville and Atlanta to get an idea of what will work with students in Springfield.

Shane Dublin, Executive Director of Secondary Learning for Springfield Schools said, "We want kids to find, not only what they might want to do but also they might find something they don't want to do."

The freshman academies pilot will be tested at Glendale and Hillcrest High Schools.

"Getting them transitioned to high school, from middle school to high school, is a big key to their success. A big component this freshman academy is high school skills, transition skills,study skills, learning how to be a freshman at a high school," said Dublin.

The seminar will be given to students over the course of a quarter or semester. This will be an a class added in addition to their normal course work.

"The traditional core curriculum we currently give stays in place. We're just adding that half credit course that all freshmen at Glendale and Hillcrest will be a part of. That's where those college and career experiences will come into play. The high school readiness. The skills to become a successful high schooler," he said.

Batchelder said parents aren't being given enough information about how the program will work to make an informed decision it's impact.

​"I think that if they could come out with some information about what academies will be offered and how those will be laid out I would be more likely to be on board," she said.

Right now, administrators will wait to see how the first year of the program goes before making any decisions about keeping or expanding it.