9th Grade Experience
Palm Beach Day Academy offers a unique experience that provides an all- encompassing opportunity for growth academically and socially. Students will experience an environment that develops experiential confidence. The interdisciplinary approach allows for purposeful learning, flexible thinking, and a commitment to leadership in the school and community. With extremely small class sizes, faculty members are able to individualize their instruction for each student.
HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT
Students are able to gain high school credit, and with the smaller class sizes, get the attention they need to be extremely successful. Beginning tenth grade with a strong grade point average is paramount to a student's overall high school g.p.a. On average, a student who graduates from PBDA will receive credits in the following courses:
- Two credits in a World Language
- One to Three credits in Math
- One credit in Biology
- One credit in World History
- ½ credit in Physical Education and ½ credit in Health
- One to two credits in Fine Arts (Visual or Performing)
YEAR-LONG INDEPENDENT PROJECT
Students will choose, with the support and guidance of the advisor, a topic of which they are passionate. Through self-guided research and community involvement, along with the help of committed faculty, our students will understand how they learn and develop an experiential confidence that will provide them a solid foundation for their next academic step. The student will present his/her findings at the end of the year in the form of a TedTalk.
Each Spring, the ninth grade advisors meet with the rising freshmen to discuss possible day and overnight class trips. Over the past two years, students have traveled to The Island School in Eleuthera, Bahamas, and Washington, D.C. Last year, students visited New York City and had private tours at MoMA, The New York Times, and the Museum of Natural History. Additionally, as they were fans of the theater, the students attended Hamilton, which was awarded the Tony for Best Musical for 2016. Again, the small class size allows us to build a freshmen experience with the students' passion in mind.
In 2016-2017, the ninth grade will travel to Washington, D.C., and the students will witness the excitement of Election Day in our nation's capital. The students will travel by train to New York City for sightseeing which will include plays, museums, and the overall history of NYC.
Each year, the Drama teacher will choose a play solely for the ninth grade, and due to the small class size, the play is chosen specifically for the current class. Rehearsals are scheduled during the school day, and the students perform for the school community in the Smith Family Theater in the fall. This is yet another way for the students to collaborate and continue to build upon the idea that the ninth grade is a family within a family. All students will include "Theater performance" in their secondary school applications; admissions officers share with us that this is a wonderfully unique piece of a student's overall resume.
BACK TO SCHOOL RETREAT
The ninth graders are the leaders on campus. They take their role very seriously, and the faculty and administration put tremendous trust into these high school students. As a way to build momentum for the year as well as strengthen relationships with their peers, the students and advisors will participate in an overnight retreat before the start of the school year. Activities will include team building projects and a ropes course.
As these students are the "seniors" on campus, they have many more opportunities for leadership had they left for a traditional high school program. Ninth grade students hold Student Leadership Council positions, are captains of their sports teams, and lead our on-campus-wide activities.
Ninth grade students support the homeless in Palm Beach County by providing sandwiches for the men and women at St. Ann's Place in West Palm Beach. In December, the students conduct a candy drive and all proceeds go to St. Ann's. The students organize the school dances and utilize the money from ticket sales to offer a class gift at Graduation.
FAMILY WITHIN A FAMILY
The ninth grade is a family within the PBDA family. The small class size allows for the students to know each other very well. It is common for students and advisors to walk into town for an off-campus lunch, or attend a movie after a half-day of school. Ninth grade parents host casual get-togethers, and during the major holidays, students participate in gift exchanges and parties.
One of the most powerful traditions at PBDA is during Graduation. Prior to graduation, students choose a teacher they feel knows them best. A Graduation, the teacher gives a speech about the student and then presents the student his/her diploma. It is in this moment we are reminded of the magnificently powerful relationships between our students and faculty.