Rockford East High School attributes 70-percent of it's crime to the freshmen class. So to make sure the underclassmen start off the year straight, they're getting to know each other outside of the classroom.
Jessie Lantz has a lot to look forward to this school year. She's taking on a bigger building...bigger books...and bigger responsibility.
"I made the varsity volleyball team and that's starting this season so I'm really excited about that and I want to be on homecoming cause I'm gonna be busy with that and I'm running for class officer. I'm running for secretary," says East High Freshman Jessie Lantz.
Jessie is one of nearly 5-hundred East High freshmen taking part in a two-day leadership camp. The students are joined by their freshman teachers in playing name games and other team-building exercises. Teachers say programs like this will help keep kids out of trouble.
"A lot of times kids get lost in the cracks they don't' know people they're not comfortable with their teachers, they're not familiar with the climate," says Gene Lee, the East High Grant Coordinator.
East High has not had the best reputation. Gene Lee says the school was ranked last for the number of students who want to go there. He says helping the freshmen "before" they get into trouble, will help improve the school down the road.
"It's so important because they're incoming freshman and they're new and to work progressively year by year instead of trying to change a whole building and make progressive change," Lee said.
Teachers say team-building exercises will hopefully improve the graduation rate and get more students interested in going to college.
Teachers say they'll be hosting school assemblies more often and will meet with freshmen weekly to make sure they are up-to-date with their homework and staying out of trouble.