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Investing in the Future: Freshman Research Course Aims to Level the Playing Field

R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H. (Pixabay)

Columbus Academy introduced a new, mandatory course for ninth-graders this year: Freshman Research. Taught by upper school librarians Ms. Nzimiro and Ms. Popelka during blocks 4 and 5, the class aims to level the playing field for all Academy students beginning their high school careers. 

Academy’s middle school makes a concerted effort to send its students to upper school with a comprehensive knowledge of citations and research. On average, however, 20% of CA’s matriculating 9th grade class is comprised of new students who have received varied exposure to citation practices, which can be confusing. 

Amid the hustle-and-bustle of the Academy experience, it is easy for students to forget small aspects of academics such as research skills and proper citations. So our librarians noticed the same questions about citations coming from 9th graders and seniors alike.

This new research course is a pilot since our administration has not  permanently implemented the class. The librarians and faculty alike are hoping that by the end of the course all 2023 students will be on equal footing regarding research techniques which will facilitate their academic success at Academy and beyond.

The class is designed to be stress-free: Ms. Nzimiro and Ms. Popelka assign little to no homework, and the course centers around group work and study skills.

During one lesson, seniors visited the class to speak about tricks and study habits picked up throughout their upper school years. Freshman Research students also practice citing different sources, such as websites, magazines, and books. They spend time analyzing primary and secondary sources and discuss various ways to take notes. 

So far, Ms. Nzimiro says she sees a significant improvement in 9th graders’ comprehension of citation. As the year moves on, students and faculty alike will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of this course. No matter how particular they seem to be, the details behind research and effective studying will lead to students’ success in the future. 


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