Community High School Students Visit Middle Schools to “Educate, not Recruit”

Shadi Ahmadmehrabi and Sam Sorscher

Community High School students have begun visiting Ann Arbor middle schools for presentations on the inner-workings of CHS. The visits began right after students returned from winter break and will continue for the next month. CHS “student ambassadors” will visit all the public middle schools in Ann Arbor along with Honey Creek and Emerson. Students are currently visiting Forsythe Middle School this week.

Community High’s counselors, Diane Grant and John Boshoven, schedule the visits so that middle school students have the opportunity to learn about Community. Students from Community provide a personal perspective on the school and the student life. “We don’t try to recruit. We try to educate the right students to apply. We’re trying not to get too many people because then we turn away more people,” said Boshoven.

This information comes at a pivotal time for 8th graders who are thinking about their high school future. Students automatically enter Huron, Pioneer, or Skyline based on their home’s location. But Community provides a different option for students who feel they may benefit from the alternative structure of the school.

The presentations are designed to let 8th graders know about Community’s day-to-day structure and the many ways students learn outside of the classroom. The counselors, along with a group of students from Community, go over the five  ways to earn credit: scheduled block classes, classes at the bigger high schools, independent studies. Community Resource classes (CR’s), and college courses.

The presentations also give middle school students the opportunity to talk about the rumors surrounding Community High. Typically, the middle school teachers are asked to leave the room for a portion of the presentation to provide a more comfortable atmosphere. Natalie Schultz, a senior at CHS, is one of the students who goes to the middle schools for presentations. “I really like talking about Community because I love it so much and it’s easy to talk about something you love,” she said.

Community students from all different backgrounds are encouraged to attend a training session about the presentations and subsequently visit the middle schools to help give information about high school.

Community visits all the public middle schools in Ann Arbor. The goal is to let students know about Community and broaden the application pool. Many students have already decided on applying and many other students have only heard rumors about Community. The middle school presentations serve to clear the air and hopefully expand the diversity of the applications. This will, overall, make the school more diverse and more representative of the larger community. “The more representative of the population of Ann Arbor we can be, the better the school is…it wouldn’t be diverse enough that it would spurt interest in other things. We want to make sure we have a diverse population in many, many aspects,” said Grant.
As Boshoven says in many of his presentations, “It’s about fit and what works for you.” Over 300 freshman typically apply to Community High School, and about one third get in. The number of freshman slots is determined by the capacity of the school to give every single freshman “Introduction to Literature” and “Foundations of Science” classes.

Students interested in applying must attend an information night with their parents and fill out an application for a random lottery conducted in February. Community will admit 114 freshman in the graduating class of 2016.