Freshman Academy

Every student known, valued, and inspired.

Since 2008, Ruston High School’s Freshman Academy exists to provide ninth grade students with a structured yet nurturing academic environment that enables a successful transition from middle school to high school.

The RHS Freshman Academy is designed to ensure success for every student. We believe that all students can learn and achieve at a high level; therefore, our priority is to set high expectations for all students and to not accept failure as an option. Because we believe that relationships are essential to a student’s success, the academy fosters communication between students and teachers, the school and the parents, and the school and the community. We desire to create an atmosphere that will assist students in a smooth transition from middle school to high school, educating and caring for the whole student.

The Freshman Academy supports Ruston High School’s efforts to emphasize academic excellence, encourage school involvement, nurture personal and social responsibility, and recognize student accomplishments.


Much of what allows students to transition into the high school setting involves strategic scheduling. Freshmen students are divided into four teams, and each team of students has the same four core teachers who communicate with each other and administration regularly about student progress. Class sizes within the Academy are limited to 20-25 students per class, enabling the classroom experience to be as personal and productive as possible. All freshmen students have the same lunch shift each day. The academy classrooms and lockers are located together on the third floor of the school, allowing students to move from class to class with less confusion.

Bearcat Mentoring Program

The RHS Bearcat Mentoring Program is an organization in which upper class students help freshmen students with the transition to the high school campus. Open to juniors and seniors, students chosen as mentors are assigned a small group of freshman students to mentor. They conduct Bearcat Orientation at the opening of the school year, and they meet weekly during Advisory in the fall.

Special Activities

  • Bearcat Orientation: On the first half day of school, freshman students attend our Bearcat Orientation. Led by our Bearcat Mentors, this day is dedicated to making our new Bearcats feel welcome. Games and activities are conducted with students in their homeroom groups, a shortened bell schedule of classes allows students to get orientated to their surroundings, and the day wraps up with a special pep rally dedicated to showing our 9th graders the basics of cheers, traditions, and school spirit.
  • Incentives: As part of the Freshman Academy model, we offer incentives to our students to motivate them to do their best. Each nine weeks, students are rewarded for following expected behavior guidelines, and they are recognized for their honor roll status (3.0 and above). Additionally, we recognize students each semester as Sharp Cats, standing out because of their attitudes, grades, or improvements through the first semester.
  • Transition Activities: In February, we begin offering opportunities for 8th Grade parents and students to explore what Ruston High School has to offer. We host parent nights at the junior high campuses, a parent Open House at RHS, a student visit where all 8th graders come to RHS for a special program during the school day, and registration activities where students select classes for the upcoming school year.
  • Tutoring: A class time called Advisory is built in to each school day between 3rd and 4th Period. During this time, students can receive extra help from teachers as needed. In the spring, students are recommended by teachers to participate in LEAP 2025 Prep Courses during Advisory.