In the Greater Cleveland Area, eighth grade graduation is a big deal. Green Inspiration Academy (GIA) is proud to report high 8th grade to high school placement rates.
We are a free public charter school in Warrensville Heights, serving the Greater Cleveland area, and we’re preparing our grade school students for the big time in high school and beyond. We care so much about high school readiness, we have a dedicated team of staff called our “High School Readiness Team” led by Mr. Richard Clark.
Why is 8th Grade Graduation Important?
According to an ACT report, the more students find success in 8th grade, the more likely they will achieve in high school and life beyond. In schools with rigorous academic programs like GIA, students learn how to manage time, get and stay organized, adopt healthy study habits, work in groups, and discover what they love, in addition to achieving better grades. These skill sets are crucial for high school, ongoing education, and any career.
We asked Mr. Clark, Educator and Head of the High School Readiness Team at GIA, to share his wisdom on preparing students for high school.
“GIA believes that being prepared for the next level in education is extremely important in making sure that our students have a firm foundation for success.”
Why is it important to prepare middle school students for high school?
“As administration, teachers, parents, and role models, we always want our students to be successful at the next level. At Green Inspiration Academy we want our students to not only be successful at the next level, but we also want to make sure that the platform that was created for them in middle school will sustain them in high school and develop the steps needed to propel them into college. We believe that with a FIRM foundation in place, and with us providing the students with all of the tips and tools they need, then the opportunity for success is much easier to achieve. Starting in the 7th grade with the development process gives the students the opportunity to practice and to be more comfortable when they walk through the doors for the first time.”
What makes GIA’s philosophy/experience with the students different from other schools in the area?
“At GIA our philosophy/experience starts with the quality of teachers and staff that work with our students on a daily basis. We pride ourselves on having a teaching core that stays in place. This develops a relationship with the students that starts well before the High School Readiness Program begins. Students have already begun to work on developing the educational skills needed to be successful. The students are also able to see the success from previous classes and are given the opportunity to speak with previous class students on what steps they needed to complete in order to reach some of the high school choice goals. Finally, experience, knowledge and commitment from the High School Readiness Team is very important. At GIA the dedicated High School Readiness team is willing to go above and beyond to assure that our students are placed in the best possible high school for their individual success. This commitment puts GIA ahead of the game in making sure that every graduating 8th grade student is prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically for high school.”
How does GIA prepare students for high school?
“We start working with our 7th grade students on what their interests are (athletics, clubs, location, etc.). We also encourage the students in the 7th grade year to begin visiting their high school choices to get a better feel if it would be a good fit for their educational needs. We provide the students with the tips and tools they need so that the site visits are more about getting the information they need to make an informed decision, and less about how the facility looks or how cool it may or may not be. We finally spend a great deal of time within the 7th grade school year working on the students’ grades, testing scores, etc., to make sure they are in the best possible position to apply and be accepted. Whether looking into private or public education, the preparation is the same to give the student the best possible opportunity to succeed.
Students who start their 8th grade year at GIA will start the year off providing the names of three schools that they would like to apply for admission. Personal one-on-one meetings are held with both the students and parents to review the list of names and to secure a plan for completing the application process. GIA also provides the information for students and parents to attend a High School Information Fair during the first quarter of the school year. This fair is another opportunity to speak directly with school representatives and to gather the information directly for the admission process. Suggestions are high for students to secure shadow days at their schools of choice and each year the 8th grade class attends a high school site visit as a class. This is a very special opportunity for the students because for many of the students they have never seen the inside of a high school and having a shadow day alone can be stressful. The goal at GIA is to have all 8th grade students enrolled at their high school of choice by the end of the third quarter of the school year.”
“Here at GIA we look at all of our graduation students as success. Many of our students come from the inner city and in many cases are not provided equally with the opportunity to visit, explore and potentially attend some area private schools. We pride ourselves on giving our students the opportunity and work with them on making their hope a reality.
One particular student was from 4 years ago. This student during their 8th grade year at GIA could not stay focused and on track. While the student was very bright and educationally smart, distractions continued to build for this student as the school year moved along. While this student had their three schools of choice selected, the discussion was that some hard work would have to be put into place to be accepted. While many other students were being accepted, this particular student stayed committed to attending one of their choice schools. The student worked hard throughout the school year and made a verbal commitment to me and their mom that if they could get into this high school they would graduate. The student was accepted into all three of their choices, but made the decision to attend Cleveland Central Catholic High School. That student did very well at CCC and graduated this past school year with a 3.5 GPA and will be attending the University of Akron. Despite the obstacles that kept coming up, the students and the GIA staff stayed committed to working with this student. This is the same commitment we make with each student in middle school.”
It’s Not Too Late To Choose GIA
Deciding on the right school for your student’s development from Kindergarten through to 8th grade is an important decision. As Mr. Clark says, “Picking a school that is committed to making sure that your child is ready for the next level is extremely important for both the student and the family. Being prepared only creates a better opportunity for success, and having someone with the experience and knowledge to lead makes the process much easier.”
It might feel like time is running out to enroll in the right school for your student(s), but this is not true! It’s not too late to choose Green Inspiration Academy (GIA), a tuition-free public school for grades K-8, to benefit from our excellent programs in the 2022-2023 school year. Mr. Clark and the rest of the leaders at GIA are motivated and committed to bringing out the best in every child, everyday. Join us at GIA, and together we will make a brighter future. Onward. Upward. Inspired!
About Green Inspiration Academy (GIA)
Green Inspiration Academy is a free public charter school for grades K–8 located in Warrensville Heights, serving the Greater Cleveland area. Our school uplifts the educational experience with a focus on mental and emotional health, unmatched education, and strong parent-teacher-student relationships, every single day. Onward. Upward. Inspired! Join us at Green Inspiration Academy!