Helping schools with issues successfully transitioning 9th graders.
Traditional educational programs have been unsuccessful in dealing with the myriad of problems that many ninth graders face today as they transition from middle school to high school. These students come to the high school often behind in many of the areas that would allow them to be successful in the traditional model school. As a result, many students will repeat this all important grade and start on the spiral of additional failure and eventually dropping out of school (Some schools have over 50% failure rate year after year). A lack of success in ninth grade is both devastating to the student and their future and as a group is devastating to the overall educational atmosphere in a school.
In many of these schools over 60% of the issues of violence and suspension involve either ninth graders or repeating ninth graders. After failing ninth grade many of these students are overage and quickly give up hope on ever graduating from school. In the place of hope comes frustration and alienation. Attendance drops. Class cutting increases. Disciplinary problems are exacerbated and fighting and the gang type culture becomes their mindset. The dropout cycle has begun. It is hard on the student, the school, the student’s families and the community.
9th Grade Success Academies
In numerous urban high schools in the last 10 years, 9th grade success academies have been shown to dramatically increase the success of the ninth grade students. Separating ninth graders from older peers and nagging and nurturing those students throughout the day have led to well documented increases in credit accumulation for the ninth graders.
Schools have experienced 75% reductions in suspensions and arrests in the first year after implementing a ninth grade academy. (Philadelphia Education Fund report- Neild) Attendance increases, class cutting drops and test scores go up. In a cohort of comprehensive high schools in Philadelphia, the schools experienced a 27% increase in earning an Algebra 1 credit in ninth grade (MDRC report –Kemple et al). In one school in Baltimore ninth grade promotion increased from 34% to 75% while suspensions decreased dramatically.
Ninth Grade Success Academies planned for and implemented correctly can be both beneficial to the students but also to the school as a whole.