REDUCING DROPOUTS9th Grade Redesign Initiative Presented by Donna Nola-Ganey March 2, 2007
A Combination of Indicators Must Be Used to More Precisely Identify Students at High Risk of Dropping Out Research conducted by the National Center for Dropout Prevention over the past decade shows that: • There are common dropout indicators: • Academic Failure • High absenteeism/Truancy • Disciplinary Problems • The above are simply symptoms exhibited by potential dropouts, rather than root causes of dropping out
Root Causes of Dropping Out are Largely Unrelated to Academic Ability • Low self-efficacy • Failure to see value of high school courses • Lack of social connectivity to school community • Feelings of alienation/isolation • Pregnancy, drug abuse, or family problems HIGH SCHOOL REFORMS MUST ADDRESS THESE ISSUES IF WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT DROPOUT PREVENTION
Efforts Should Initially Focus on 9th Grade—a “Make-or-Break” Year for Students 9th grade retention is the single most powerful dropout indicator • Nationally, students retained in the 9th grade are 5-11 times more likely to dropout than students promoted to 10th grade • In Louisiana, of the first-time 9th graders in 2002-03 who were not promoted to 10th grade, 77% did not complete high school.
Barriers to 9th Grade Student Success • Going from small middle school to large high school • Transition from being known by teachers and staff to virtually anonymous • 9th Grade teachers typically less experienced • Lack of skills, habits, and attitudes needed for high school success • Transition from being oldest to youngest • Typical adolescent struggles • Lack of motivation, interest and support WE MUST HELP SCHOOLS FIND WAYS TO BETTER ATTEND TO THE PERSONAL NEEDS OF STUDENTS WITHOUT COMPROMISING A COMMITMENT TO HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS
Effective Strategies for Student Success in 9th Grade 9th Graders Need Own Time and Space… • Separate orientation time, including study skills assistance • 9th graders have their “own space” • Assign separate time for 9th graders to have lunch/break 9th Graders Need Positive Relationships with Teachers… • Examine Teacher Assignments • Group of teachers dedicated to freshman • Schedule classes so that groups of students are assigned to same teachers • Adjust schedule so teachers have common planning time • Assign each student a teacher advisor/adult mentor
Effective Strategies for Student Success in 9th Grade 9th Graders Need Extra Time and Courses.. • Extra instructional time for students struggling in math and/or reading • Tutoring--After school, in school and/or Saturday tutoring • Innovative credit recovery programs • Honors courses for the average 9th grader • Special freshman activities so students can bond with school
It Can Be Done….Grady High School in Atlanta(77% minority population and 44% free and reduced lunch) SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES… • 8th - 9th grade summer bridge program • Modified block schedule • Smaller classes • Best teachers assigned to 9th grade • Monthly advisory program • Mentoring Programs • Scheduled after school tutorial sessions • Saturday credit recovery program • More rigorous courses for all students • Literacy training for teachers SREB/HSTW Case Study, Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
It Can Be Done….Grady High School in Atlanta(77% minority population and 44% free and reduced lunch) SREB/HSTW Case Study, Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
Redesign of the 9th Grade Must Be Comprehensive for Significant Results Rethink the 9th grade experience: • Isolated redesign strategies have shown little or no positive impact • A coordinated and comprehensive set of reforms are necessary • Lead to dramatic improvement in the 9th grade “promotion power,” reduction in drop outs and improved academic performance A Johns Hopkins study found that comprehensive 9th grade redesign can be especially successful in schools with high poverty/high minority populations • Three years of implementation are generally required before maximum positive benefits can be realized
High School Redesign 9th Grade Initiative • BESE 8(g) funds to be awarded competitively • Possible 3 years contingent on funds being available –beginning July 1, 2007 • 40-50 schools • $25,000 per school plus $100 per 9th grade student / up to $60,000 per school
Eligibility • All public high schools in the state of Louisiana whose primary entry grade is grade 8 or grade 9 are eligible to apply • Magnet schools or other schools with selective admission, schools that are recipients of Lighthouse grants or HIGH Tech grants, and schools participating in the 2006-07 state literacy pilot program are not eligible to apply • There is no limit to the number of schools within a district that may apply for or receive grant awards; however, there may be only one application from a single school
Focus Areas – At least one and not more than 3 focus areas • (Required) Successful Transitions to High School • Early Dropout Detection and Intervention • Academic Catch-up • Literacy Skills • Remediation and Credit Recovery • Educational and Career Planning • Parental Involvement
9th Grade Initiative Grant Information Session • 4:30 in Camellia Room • To discuss grant application in detail • To answer questions JOIN US AND LEARN MORE!