June 13, 2007
Crossland Summer Academy Crossland Summer Academy
Bernie Barron, a teacher at Crossland Ninth Grade Center, leads a discussion among a group of students involved in the Summer Academy.  At right, teacher Gloria Click listens to a student explain thoughts on a social contract among the students.
Crossland Ninth Grade Center is devoting three weeks during the summer to developing leadership qualities among incoming freshmen. The Summer Academy began on June 11, 2007, with almost a hundred students participating. All of the students recently completed the eighth grade at either Acton Middle School or Granbury Middle School and will be entering the ninth grade at Crossland when school begins in August. Each one had to meet certain criteria in order to be invited to participate in the academy, and school officials placed an emphasis on academic performance and leadership potential.

Assistant Principal John Dafoe, who is in charge of the academy, led a brainstorming session on the first day as the students developed a social contract identifying how they will treat others and how they expect to be treated by principals and teachers as well as other students. "The most important quality identified by the students was showing respect for one another," said Dafoe. "As young adults, they are becoming leaders and setting a tone for how all students and teachers will interact during the school year."

Each week, the program will emphasize a different quality necessary for a well-rounded student: a balanced physical potential, including fitness and diet; a balanced creative potential; and a balanced intellectual potential. While on campus, the students will rotate through several sessions, including some on reading and mathematics. Several field trips are also planned to the Museum and Science and History and the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth; the State Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin; and the Tarleton Challenge Course. The academy participants will also lead reading sessions with elementary students taking summer school classes at Emma Roberson Elementary School.

"We want to build champions in the classroom," said Principal Lynn Pool. "This academy will help these students hit the ground running when school starts, and we expect this to be a positive learning experience as they begin studying at the high school level."