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students smile on first day of school

High School on the Horizon

 Preparing for Freshman Year

As the sun sets on their middle school days, 8th-grade students in Manteca Unified School District are preparing for an exciting new adventure: high school. This journey is more than just a change of scenery – it's a pivotal moment in their academic and personal growth.

Over the next few months, students will meet with academic counselors and fill out a “Class Ballot” to pick their freshman-year classes. As she gears up for a new school year and freshman class, Ms. Loretta Hoyer, an Academic Counselor at Lathrop High School, shared what families can expect in high school and how they can support their children!

Freshman Year: Recipe for Success

“Freshman year counts,” emphasizes Ms. Hoyer.

During their first year, most students can expect to take a few core-subject classes: English, math, PE, and life science. Ms. Hoyer shares that it is important for students to take these classes seriously to avoid needing to redo them to graduate.

But high school is not just about textbooks and tests – it’s an opportunity to explore interests and skills.

Ms. Hoyer believes getting involved is the secret ingredient to success during high school. “Participating in campus clubs, sports, programs, and/or activities keeps students connected to their school, which increases their investment in their education.”

“I recommend that students step out of their comfort zone and try something new,” adds Ms. Hoyer. From choir to photography, agriculture, health, and more, freshmen have room in their schedules to experiment and discover a passion they never knew they had!

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Family Support

While academic counselors work diligently to set students up for success in high school, families play an essential role in this transition. Ms. Hoyer advises parents to encourage their children to pursue their interests. For example, if your child is involved in elementary band, you should learn more about your high school’s music program. You can even attend a performance as a family to show your child what they can be a part of!

Communication is also key. Ms. Hoyer advises families to connect with their child’s teacher(s) if they feel their child is struggling academically. She notes that all high schools have tutoring before school, and many teachers offer help after school that students can take advantage of.

To learn more about this transition, families can visit our Horizon to High School webpage.

To support your child beyond freshman year, check out this article where Sierra High School Counselor Adrian Hernandez explains how families can stay involved through graduation!

A-G Courses Explained

You may hear a counselor mention a class is an “A-G” course — this common phrase refers to the set of high school courses that the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems require for admission. These standards have been developed to ensure that students have taken a broad range of courses that have prepared them for the academic demands of a state college in California.

The subject areas include:

  • A: History/Social Science (2 Years)
  • B: English (4 Years)
  • C: Mathematics (4 Years)
  • D: Laboratory Science (3 Years)
  • E: Language Other than English (2 Years/3 Recommended)
  • F: Visual and Performing Arts (1 Year)
  • G: College Preparatory Electives (1 Year)

In MUSD, nearly all courses count as an A-G course. You can explore A-G courses and graduation/college entrance requirements in our course catalog.

  • 8th Grade
  • Academic Counselors
  • High School
  • Lathrop
  • Lathrop HS