JCHS is committed to fostering our students’ growth and education as individuals throughout their high school experience. 

Our ninth grade program helps students learn how to build relationships, make healthy decisions, manage stress, and improve executive functioning and study skills. 

As a regularly scheduled class that is team-taught by School Counselor Julie Beck, 9th & 10th Grade Dean of Students Michelle Matz, Director of Social Justice & Inclusion Roni Ben-David, and Director of Educational Support David Neufeld, the Freshman Seminar offer new students support in four key areas:

Dean Time: Students meet one-on-one with the Dean of Students Michelle Matz each week for a check in about any issues or concerns they may wish to discuss, academic or otherwise. 

Health and Wellness instruction: School Counselor Julie Beck covers topics such as healthy sleep habits, stress management, emotional awareness, mindful use of technology, sex education, and mental health education–important life skills that will continue to serve students throughout their JCHS years and well beyond.

Community & Connection: The Community & Connection curriculum engages students in conversations about what it means to be a citizen in a diverse world. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own identities in order to gain a greater level of self-awareness: their values, beliefs, biases, etc. Topics covered include stereotypes and stereotype threat, racial stress, implicit bias, systemic inequities, and responding to microaggressions, among others.

Study Skills: Director of Educational Support David Neufeld works with students to add to their arsenal of study skills, teaching techniques for time management, organization, and note taking. The class collaborates with other classes to help students develop their reading, writing, and research skills, while building awareness of academic integrity. 

In addition to putting emphasis on strategies that set students up for success, the Freshman Seminar program also provides an opportunity for the Student Support team to personally engage with every individual in the freshman class. The experience helps freshmen create a lasting relationship with these key JCHS professionals, so that students may feel comfortable using them as resources throughout their years at the high school.

Julie Beck, LCSW
School Counselor & Director of Advising
415.694.5772 x107

Roni Ben-David
Director of Social Justice & Inclusion
415.694.5772 x175

Michelle Matz
Dean of Students for Ninth & Tenth Grades
415.694.5772 x160

Dr. David Neufeld
Dean of Learning Support
415.694.5772 x110