Ninth Grade Program

Gould Academy’s Ninth Grade Program is designed to help new students lay sound foundations for success, in both their academic careers and their lives beyond Gould. Through our intentional instruction and student mentorship program, ninth graders learn and implement productive academic habits. They are encouraged to seize the varied learning opportunities that Gould offers and embrace our unique culture. Ultimately, they develop independence as well as the ability to work collaboratively. They are confident, capable, and willing to take risks; they contribute to Gould – and to the world – in positive and unmistakable ways.

The program instills effective skills and habits that allow students to make the most of Gould’s academic offerings. A nightly proctored study hall teaches students how to create a constructive environment and work independently or with groups, under faculty supervision. We find that ninth graders are more prepared for and engaged during classes following evening study hall.

The Camp Kawanhee ropes course, trips to the Fryeburg Fair, snow tubing at Black Mountain, Physics Day at Funtown Splashtown USA, and, of course, a journey abroad with Gould’s signature Four Point Program are just some of the engaging and creative educational opportunities available through our Ninth Grade Program. These trips correspond with the ninth- grade academic curriculum and often focus on group problem-solving. During trips, students build relationships with one another and faculty and develop leadership skills. Plus, the trips are a lot of fun.

“Gould Academy is dedicated to the life of each ninth-grade student,” says Program Director, Mr. Brett Shifrin. “We recognize that each student is different in many ways. By honoring who each student is and whom he or she wants to become, the faculty support, encourage, and challenge students to become the best version of him or herself – now and in the future.”

Student Mentorship Program

Each ninth-grade student is assigned a mentor-student who helps him or her understand the opportunities and expectations of Gould life. New students and mentors are introduced during the summer before they arrive at Gould. Mentor students answer questions, help navigate the plethora of information that new students are given, and make the newest members of our community feel welcome.

Ninth Grade Four Point Program and Gould’s Mission

Gould’s mission to prepare students for success in a dynamic world is largely achieved through the first piece of our Four Point Program: Immersion. Ninth graders travel abroad to places like China and Tanzania to experience new cultures and obtain broader worldviews. More info.

Ninth Grade Program Director

Brett Shifrin Brett Shifrin

Mathematics Department Co-Chair
B.S., B.S., Miami University
Certified Financial Education
Prep Snowboarding Coach
Road Cycling Coach
Director of Ninth Grade Program
Advising Team Leader


Mr. Shifrin teaches mathematics at Gould and lives on campus with his wife, Sara, their daughter, Mia ’19, and son, Eli ’23. As director of the Ninth Grade Program, he has created and implemented a program that enables each ninth-grade student to transition to Gould life and become a valued member of the community. Each student is recognized by students and faculty for who he or she is and who they want to become. As an experienced mathematics educator, Mr. Shifrin developed his own algebra utilizing an online content presenter, Heymath, to create a course of study that allows each student to learn at a pace and level that best suits their ability and need. He has also developed a course on financial literacy for seniors called Mathematics of Finance that integrates the principles of personal finance and mathematics to help students evaluate and make informed financial decisions. Mr. Shifrin has a great interest in the outdoors and utilizing experiential educational opportunities to help students understand how an individual can grow and impact a group. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Shifrin is passionate about soccer, holding a National B License from the United States Soccer Federation, which he used to coach at an elite level within the Olympic Development Program in Maine and New England.