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Denton ISD opens with freshmen only school day

Friday, Aug 21, 2009  |  Updated 7:24 PM CDT
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Denton Schools Fight Freshman Anxiety

AP

Seniors and juniors will be missing from classrooms as freshmen get acquainted on their first day of school. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

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Denton Schools Fight Freshman Anxiety

The Denton school district is giving ninth graders a day in school to themselves in an effort to reduce anxiety among students.
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The Denton Independent School District is trying something new this fall.

Only freshmen will be at the district's three high schools on Monday, Aug. 24. Upper class men won't report until the next day.

"They don't have to worry about interacting with juniors and seniors.  It's just a peer group they're familiar with," explained Ryan High School principal Vernon Reeves.

The district's incoming ninth graders will learn their way around the building, where their classes are, how block scheduling works and what's expected of them. 

"Survival Camp" is about relieving anxiety that comes with the transition to high school.

"If you look at the research, it'll show one of the toughest years in an adolescent's life is that transition time," said Reeves. "I can personally remember my transition into high school and the anxiety I had."

Cook Children's Medical Center
psychologist Joy Crabtree told NBCDFW that she often sees young clients at times of transition. In some cases, medication is needed, but also a lot of encouragement. 

Crabtree said often times, parents can help on their own.

"Lots of reassurance, help them take small steps, don't let them avoid situations but support them and help them get through the best they can," recommended Crabtree.

About 1,500 freshmen are enrolled in the Denton ISD this year. School begins Tuesday, Aug. 25, for more the more than 23,000 students in other grades.

There's information about anxiety disorders at the National Institute of Mental Health, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and  American Psychological Association.

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