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Keeping Ninth Grade Students Engaged ASCA Conference Boston, Massachusetts July 4, 2010 Elizabeth Fasteson Pawtucket (RI) Public Schools Donald Labossiere.

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Presentation on theme: "Keeping Ninth Grade Students Engaged ASCA Conference Boston, Massachusetts July 4, 2010 Elizabeth Fasteson Pawtucket (RI) Public Schools Donald Labossiere."— Presentation transcript:

1 Keeping Ninth Grade Students Engaged ASCA Conference Boston, Massachusetts July 4, 2010 Elizabeth Fasteson Pawtucket (RI) Public Schools Donald Labossiere Central Falls (RI) Public Schoools

2 A Critical Juncture for Students  Transition to ninth grade is a critical step for all students, not just at-risk students  Nationally, more than one-third of the students lost from the high school pipeline failed to move from 9th to 10th grade (Diplomas Count, 2007).  We realized, “if you want to improve the drop-out rate, then we better begin with our freshmen” 2

3 Expected Lifetime Earnings in Rhode Island

4 Expected Lifetime Tax Payments

5 Net Lifetime Fiscal Contributions

6 Research Examples of effective middle to high school transition programs:  Academies and small learning communities of students within a school  A special school to prepare ninth-graders for high school to focus on their academic studies in the first year of high school

7  9 th grade “a minefield for the most vulnerable students,” especially those who become disengaged and discouraged  70 to 80 percent of students who fail to pass ninth grade will not graduate from high school  “Ninth Grade has become the holding tank for high schools” Research

8  9 th Grade outcomes add substantially to our ability to predict dropout.  Most high school offered little or no guidance to help ninth graders adjust academically or socially  25% of ninth graders nationally repeat 8 Research

9 Why Kids Drop Out of School  Academic Difficulty and Failure  Poor Attendance  Retention  Disengaged from School  Transition to New School  Other Life Factors (pregnancy, family issues) 9

10 Warning Signs for Students at Risk of Dropping Out  Repeating one or more grades  Ongoing pattern of absenteeism/ tardiness  Multiple suspensions o r behavior problems  Performing below level in sixth grade or earlier  Poor grades or achievement on tests  Lack of connection in school  Failing one or more subjects (especially English and Math) in ninth grade 10

11 Kids Count Recommendations  Early identification and supports with struggling students  Access to high quality educational opportunities  School climate  Community and Family involvement 11

12 Demographics  90% Free/ Reduced Lunch  Student Population 72% Hispanic 72% Hispanic 15 % African-Amer. 15 % African-Amer. 13% White 13% White  34% Mobility   >80% Free/ Reduced Lunch  Student Population 30% Hispanic 30% Hispanic 35% African-Amer. 35% African-Amer. 25% White 25% White 10% Asian 10% Asian  40% Mobility 12 Central Falls Pawtucket

13 13 Feinstein 9 th Grade Renaissance Academy Central Falls High School Central Falls, Rhode Island

14 Feinstein Renaissance Academy  Purpose of the 9 th Grade Academy is to foster a positive and effective transition from middle to high school  Housed in one building created a personalized environment 14

15 Feinstein Approach  Meet and Greet every day on the way in and out  Surveyed the students about how to make the school better (refined results and re-surveyed)  Used data to institute supports for students 15

16 Feinstein Results  30 First Time Honor Roll Students  The number of dropouts fell from 34 to 4  After school tutoring saved 76% of students from failing 16

17 Community Supports  Targeted students with poor attendance  Tutoring for students failing  Restorative Practices  Toyota Advisory  Family Care & Community Partnerships 17

18 Personalization 18 Adults Who Know Their Students Well

19 19 Student Perceptions about Adults at School

20 Teaching Students the Importance of Attending School 20 Personalization

21 21 Feinstein Attendance Data

22 An Effective Way to Keep Students in School 22 Personalization

23 23 Feinstein Dropout Data

24 24 Failing Students’ Data

25 25 Failing Students’ Intervention Data

26 Next Steps For Grade Nine  Continue Personalized Approach ―Meet and greet ―Survey students for input ―Restorative Practices  Use Data to ―Identify problems ―Demonstrate impact of program on student achievement  Keep Advisory and ILPs relevant 26

27 Shea High School Pawtucket, Rhode Island

28 Shea High School  Urban Comprehensive High School  The physical set-up of grade nine stayed the same  Took a more personalized approach to grade nine  Dedicated one counselor to grade nine 28

29 Shea Approach 9 th Grade Problems 9 th Grade ProblemsIntervention  High # of repeaters  Poor attendance rate  Lack of personalization  Dedicated counselor grade 9  Truancy referrals /calls home  Advisory/English Classes: Setting goals 29

30 Shea Approach 9 th Grade Problems Intervention  Difficult transition from middle school  High failure rate with trimesters  High # of discipline referrals  High # dropout  Transition Activities  Course changes and Credit Recovery  “My Turn” Advisor  Partnering with Vice Principal

31 Percentage of Shea 9 th Graders in Truancy Court 31 6%

32 Endicott Survey 12/

33 Endicott Survey 12/

34 9 th Grade Discipline 34

35 9 th Grade Dropouts 7% 4%

36 Trimester Two Grades

37 Attendance & Tardies

38 Trimester One Promotions 41% were promoted to Grade 10

39 ILP Student Survey Data I know what is required of me to graduate from high school

40 ILP Student Survey Data I understand the importance of developing an ILP each year

41 ILP Student Survey Data I feel that adults in my school care that I am successful

42 9 th Grade Statistics September-June  294 Current total of 9 th graders  13 were promoted to 10 th grade after trimester one  70 transferred out  68 entered Shea during the year  Approx. 100 students participated in after school tutoring (S.T.A.R.)  28% are currently repeating (62 could be promoted with summer school)

43 Next Steps at Shea  Mentoring by academically successful upper class students is a key element in providing positive role models  Shea switching to a Lower House (9/10) and an Upper House (11/12)  Increase in Advisory and ILP time  Continue to use ILP data to enhance student achievement

44 Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchhill The Courage to Persevere

45 Questions?

46 Contact/Resource Information Donald Labossiere Guidance Counselor Central Falls High School 24 Summer Street Central Falls, RI Elizabeth Fasteson Guidance Chair Shea High School 485 East Avenue Pawtucket, RI (401) Rhode Island School Counselor Association Website:


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