Freshman Academy FAQs

Freshman Academy FAQs

These are "Frequently Asked Questions" about the McDonough Freshman Academy:


1) What is the Clement G. Freshman Academy and how is it different from Lowell High School’s other programs?

The Freshman Academy is a program designed to promote an effective and positive transition for students going from grade 8 into their first year at Lowell High School. Through the offered academic and social supports, our vision is to insure that all students who enter as freshman successfully leave with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful Lowell High School students.


2) What is a cluster?

A cluster is a small team of content teachers that works extensively with a group of approximately 200 students. The cluster model allows for a small school feel within the larger high school community.


3) If I have questions about my child’s schedule, who can I call?

To get in touch with your child’s guidance counselor, you can call the Freshman Academy Guidance clerk at 978-441-3707 and she will get you in contact with your son or daughter’s guidance counselor.


4) Who do I call if I am not sure who to talk to about an issue?


Call the Freshman Academy Office at 978-441-3704 and we will connect you with the appropriate person.


5) How can I monitor my child’s progress throughout the year?


We have “Open House” two nights a year where parents can come in and meet with their child’s teachers. However, we also have many teachers who use the Aspen Portal. The Aspen Portal allows you to track your child’s grades in a particular class. To get more information about the Portal, please visit the Aspen Portal Page. Most important, never hesitate to contact the Freshman Academy Office with a question or concern!


6) What is Freshman Seminar?


Freshman Seminar provides students with an opportunity for “self-study”. Throughout the year, students will explore career interests, establish goals, and explore possibilities for post-secondary pathways. This course infuses a PBIS framework and develops students’ organizational skills and study habits in order for them to navigate through their Freshman Year successfully.  In addition, Freshman Seminar focuses on enhancing student literacy: functional literacy, digital literacy, and financial literacy.


7) How does a freshman find out about signing up for clubs and sports?


Activity sign-ups are promoted throughout the year and are announced regularly during daily morning announcements. The Student Activities Advisor visits freshmen advisories to promote clubs and activities during the first few weeks of school.  Additionally, flyers and posters are displayed in the building throughout the year.  One program, which is unique to freshmen, is the Compass Program.


8) Where and when can students buy bus passes?


Bus passes may be purchased during lunch at the end of each month in the Freshman Academy cafeteria. During the 2013-2014 school year, bus passes were $20 per month. This price is subject to change by the LRTA.


9) Where do students catch the bus?


Buses come to Lowell High School at the end of each school day. Students should inquire as to the location of the bus they need on their first day of school.  Teachers and administrators will be available outside to assist students at the close of school during the first week of school. Specific information about bus times and bus routes can be found on the LRTA Website.


10) Can freshman students eat in either cafeteria of Lowell High School?


Students assigned to advisories in the Freshman Academy building must eat lunch in the Freshman Academy cafeteria.


11) I left a phone message that my child would not be in school today, so why did I receive a phone call saying my child was absent from school?


Our system is fully automated and is designed to place a phone call to confirm any and all students who are recorded as absent.


12) What time does school start and end?


School starts and students must be in their advisory room at 7:55 am. The school day ends at 2:30 pm. We recommend that students be at school by 7:45 am. Students, who would like to eat breakfast prior to the 7:40, may enter the Freshman Academy cafeteria after 7:00 a.m.


13) What is the attendance policy?


For the 2014-2015 school year, students exceeding 8 unexcused absences in a semester cannot earn course credit.  


14) What is an excused and unexcused absence?


Excused absences are those absences that are documented by a medical office note, a court appearance receipt, or similar official documentation. Please refer to a more complete and detailed list available in the student handbook. A parent note does NOT excuse an absence for academic purposes but is important in letting the school know that the child was not truant. The parent note also allows the student to make up the missed schoolwork.


15) What is the policy about cell phones and electronic devices?


Cell phones, electronic devices and/or their holders are only permitted in the cafeteria during breakfast and lunch. All other use is prohibited unless authorized by a classroom teacher for educational use.