Sneak peak at Harlingen's new 9th grade only campus

Angela Gonzalez is an 8th grader at Coakley Middle School.

The next step in her education finds she and her classmates on a construction site instead of a high school campus.

Cranes and contractors are building Harlingen new 9th Grade Academy.

Ninth grade students will have a chance to learn through project-based learning, lots of technology and schools within schools.

"I think it is going to be a better opportunity but I am still a little disappointed to not be going to a all four years of High School, Gonzalez said. But, it looks like we will have the same opportunities as we would at the other high school."

Harlingen CISD administrators are asking parents and students to think of the new academy like a university.

There will be five schools that students can choose from:

The School of Business The School of Education The School of Health Sciences The School of Liberal Arts The School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

"Instead of regular high school which is regular general, I get to focus more on the engineering than anything else, said eighth grader Patrick Ladd.

Vivian Bauer, the new principal of the 9th Grade Academy, told Action 4 News that she TMs excited to see these enthusiastic 8th graders.

"We are really able to focus on the Freshman in three trigger areas that we know they are sometimes not successful in; attendance, behavior and grades, Bauer said. So, we can give them that base for being successful at the 9th grade academy before they enter the comprehensive High School."

Most of the campus will open by August while two football practice fields, a performing arts hall, and track should be finished a bit later.

The kid's biggest worry seems to be about band and sports; some will go on to Harlingen High while others will press on to South.

"Not to worry, we are getting it all mapped out, Bauer said. We are working with all the directors and ensuring students do have all these opportunities."

Gonzalez hopes to become a lawyer while the rest of this group is interested in everything from communications to medicine and engineering.

They are just five of what will be a student body of nearly 1,300 in a state of the art learning environment and this tour has turned their anxiety into excitement for their future school.