Presentation on theme: "Got Ninth-Graders? Bob Bardwell, Director of Guidance, Monson High School, Monson, Mass.; Amy Thompson, Career & College Counselor, York Community High."— Presentation transcript:
1 Got Ninth-Graders?Bob Bardwell, Director of Guidance, Monson High School, Monson, Mass.; Amy Thompson, Career & College Counselor, York Community High School, Elmhurst, Ill.
2 What’s the big deal?As a result of the increased demands of high school, the statistics generated from freshman year are concerning. Ninth-graders have the lowest grade point average, the most missed classes, the majority of failing grades, and more misbehavior referrals than any other high school grade level (Fritzer & Herbst, 1996).Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that up to 40% of ninth-grade students in cities with the highest dropout rates repeat the ninth grade, but only 10% to 15% of those repeaters go on to graduate (Kennelly & Monrad, 2007).While the transition of a student from middle school to high school can represent an important milestone in that student's educational career, it can also be a time masked with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection (Cooper & Liou, 2007).
3 The research shows…..Coming from a smaller-sized middle school to a larger-sized high school can be overwhelming for students (Butts & Cruzeiro, 2005).Transferring to a new school creates a transition period that is frequently marked by declining academic performance, increased absences, and increased behavior disturbances. These factors put freshmen more "at risk" than any other school-aged group (Fritzer & Herbst, 1996).In fact, students who fail to make a smooth transition to high school dropout as early as the end of ninth grade (Cooper & Liou, 2007).
4 What’s the solution?Solutions include, but are not limited to, (1) a meet the teacher night for soon-to-be freshmen, (2) a ninth-grade orientation for both students and parents before school begins, and (3) the use of student mentors (Morgan & Hertzog, 2001; Cushman, 2006).Surveyed high school students using hindsight suggest providing information to debunk myths. Other suggestions include sending high school students to the middle schools to discuss exactly what high school will be like (Cushman, 2006).These transition attempts should not end when the eighth-grade students arrive, but should be continued throughout most of the ninth-grade year (Morgan & Hertzog, 2001).
5 More research…There are many other ideas and programs that schools can implement to help with the freshman transition that are not as simple and quick, but require more time and often money. One high school in Georgia, for example, has created a special program for their ninth-graders that includes a class called "High School 101 ." In this class, students are taught essential high school survival skills such as time management, decision-making skills, study skills, test-taking strategies, social tolerance, computer research skills, and career alignment (Chmelynski, 2004).Other school districts have implemented summer schools for incoming ninth-graders, programs that provide after school homework and study help, seminar periods, and block scheduling (Kennelly & Monrad, 2007; Smith, et al., 2008).
6 It’s also about the adults Additionally, adults in authority are important, and play a large part in a student's successful transition to high school (Cooper & Liou, 2007). Such adults include the school staff (teachers, administers, and guidance counselors) along with parents.When these groups are asked how to help ease the transition to high school, parents suggest giving students better tours of the school and having more interaction between the middle and high schools, and teachers suggest a more rigorous middle school curriculum and enrichment work be given over the summer of the transition (Akos & Galassi, 2004).
7 Bottom LineRegardless, it seems imperative that something be done to smooth the transition. Research by Kennelly and Monrad (2007) shows that schools with fully operational transition programs have an average dropout rate of only 8%, while schools without these programs have a dropout rate of 24%.
8 How do you help Transition 9th graders? MentoringAdvisoryOrientation
9 MentoringMentor programs can be structured in many different ways, depending on what will best serve your student needs.Faculty, counselors, staff, or coachesCommunity members & business leadersUpper grade studentsAll Mentors serve in a “role model” capacity but may serve in very different ways:One-on-one time in open areasSmall groupsClassroom groups
10 How to select mentors? Any student in good standing can apply Counselors encourage those who we perceive will bring leadership skills to the program.Counselors also look for the “diamond in the rough” kids.Application requires:Responses to six short answer essay questions.Teacher recommendation.List of 5 “most important” activities.
11 Mentor Selection (continued) After preliminary review of applicants, interviews are scheduledMentors complete an online survey (google doc) indicating availability for interview.Mentors & their parent must sign a “Statement of Commitment”.Mentors must bring a sample lesson with them to the interview.
12 Advisory – What is it?Small group advisory is an opportunity for all students to connect with an adult school staff member in small groups (10-12) on a regular basis. Students may participate in team building and interclass activities as well as participate in discussions about important school-related topics (i.e.: bullying, cheating, appreciation of differences, goal setting, future planning). Advisory can also act as a time for teachers to "check-in" with students in one-on-one meetings while other students complete school work. Advisory creates opportunity to foster ongoing relationships in hopes of improving the climate and sense of connectedness within the school.
13 Advantages of Advisory Provides another adult in addition to the school counselor in the school to get to know each studentMakes a large school feel smallerCan help to deliver the guidance curriculum and other skills not taught elsewhere in the curriculumIncreases morale & improves school climateProvides opportunity for class spirit and friendly competitionCan help with 9th grade transition
14 Sample Topics for Advisory/Orientation Agenda booksRules/Student HandbooksOnline progress report system (i.e.: Edline)Extra-curricular activitiesMission statement/academic expectationsGoal settingReport Cards/examsTechnology use policies
15 Orientation Can simulate the Advisory set-up. Can be event-driven. May be taught or lead by administration, counselors, faculty, and/or students.Activities can range to cover all domains and be delivered in different settings (depends upon your student’s needs):Social/EmotionalAcademic/EducationalCareer/College
16 What Can Transition Look Like? (Monson HS) Big Brother/Big Sister modelLetter writing from big siblings and SAP advisorsWelcome back activitiesDancePicnicLunch
17 Orientation – Monson HS We view the orientation as a process and not an eventWe incorporate many of our orientation activities into our Advisory programIndividual meeting in June with all grade 8 students and the high school counselors to review course requestsFreshmen receive three letters over the summer – Principal, SAP advisor, & Big sibling
18 Orientation – Monson HS (cont) Welcome barbecue for students and familiesTypically have 50% staff and 90% of students attendFunded by School Improvement FundsFood prepared by high school staffPresentation for students & parents after dinnerStudent get their schedules and tour with big siblingParent opportunity to address concerns, Q&AIce cream social
19 What can transition programs look like? (York HS) Freshman NightParents & Students together for welcomeParents sent to a series of presentations/discussionsRules and differences from MS: Presented by AdministrationWhat HS is like academically: co-presented by Teacher/CounselorExperiences from the parent view: Parent PanelsStudents sent to a different set of presentations/discussionsIce breakers, obtain ID’s, agendas: Lead by mentorsTour of school: Presented by mentorsActivities/Clubs & Code of Conduct: Presented by student leaders
20 More Transition – York HS Freshman DayHalf-day for freshmen only.Upperclassmen leaders help in the hallways,Freshmen have three large group sessions:Differences between HS & MS rules and regs: AdminYour support team: Student ServicesTechnology Access: Teachers/Tech TeamRun through their schedule with 6 minute periods & passing periodsCulminates in a lunch BBQ.
21 Freshman Orientation/Guidance(FOG) - York 50 minute lunch periodsFreshmen meet with a variety of people during ½ of their lunch period, four days a week (Friday Free Day)
22 York Community High School Guidance: Counselor teaches Guidance CurriculumMentors: Counselor supervises Freshman Mentors as they deliver Mentor Curriculum.Study Day: Teacher supervises study time two days per week and meet with freshmen individually to discuss grades/progress in all classes as well as connecting them to resources/academic supports.
23 Final product Curriculum review conducted annually Guidance Curriculum (Counselors)Mentor Curriculum (Mentors & Counselors)Advisor’s Role (Advisors & Counselors)Pre-Post surveys give us feedbackData Drives our decisions (see sample data)
24 I felt my counselor wanted me to be successful & connected to York.
25 I felt I developed a connection with my counselor.
26 I felt the Mentors wanted me to feel welcome & connected at York.
27 For more information Amy Thompson Bob Bardwell Career & College CounselorYork Community High School, Elmhurst, Ill.Bob BardwellSchool Counselor & Director of GuidanceMonson High School, Monson MAx1107