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Implementation of 9th Grade Teams: Improving 9th Grade
Retention and Outcomes
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EDLD 655 University of Oregon, Winter 2012
SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GOAL:
INTRODUCTION: SCHOOL INFORMATION
X High School is a large comprehensive high-school serving
approximately 1400 students. X High School has 57% of its students on
Free and Reduced Lunch, with the main feeder Middle School having
85% of its students receiving Free and Reduced Lunch. It is the most
culturally diverse high school in the county where it is located. X High
School received a Needs Improvement score on AYP reports during two
of the past three years.
COHORT GRADUATION RATES
X High School
ACT RESULTS 2010-2011
The average GPA of the graduating class of 2011 was 2.79. 61%
completed their high school program with 3 years of math above
Algebra. 41% participated in AP or College Now courses. 39%
graduated with an Arts Emphasis (Fine, Performing, or Applied). An
analysis of current Seniors using the graduation requirements for the
Class of 2014 and beyond (increased credit and proficiency
requirements) indicate as many as 50% of students may not graduate.
9TH GRADE ACHEIVEMENT 2010-2011
31% of X High School ninth grade students achieved below a 2.0
GPA. In addition, 30% of ninth grade students received at least one F
during the second semester reporting period. These measures indicate
that these students are at risk for not being on track for high school
CONTINUOUS ENROLLMENT RATE- CLASS OF 2012
Rates are based on the size of the collective group from year to year. It
does not reflect the rates of individuals within the groups- it is not a
cohort analysis that follows each individual student who started 9th
grade in 08/09.
3 YEAR RATE
Through the implementation of 9th grade teacher teams, X High
School will increase the number of 9th grade students who persist to
10th grade in combination with improving academic achievement.
1. 9th Grade continuous enrollment rates improved from 87% in
2009-2010 to 96% in 2010-2011. This equaled the retention of
approximately 30 students who would have historically dropped
2. Attendance rates for 9th graders improved by 2% during the 20102011 school year.
WHY FOCUS ON 9TH GRADE?:
ADJUSTMENTS TO 9TH GRADE TEAMS
Teams for the 2011-2012 school year consist of an English, Math,
Science, Special Education Teacher, Counselor, Administrator, and a
9th grade Transition Specialist.
Concerns about tracking were addressed by spreading the low Math
courses amongst all three teams, and by adding a Special Education
Teacher to each team to support the needs of students with
3. GPA data showed no significant change.
REASONS FOR CONCERN:
More students fail the 9th grade than any other year. Studies that track
academic progress show that between 70 and 80 percent of students
who fail in the first year of high school will not graduate from high school
(Horowitz, and Snipes, 2008).
4. There was a dip in the number of students on track to graduate
which was attributed to the inclusion of the 30 students who
persisted to the 10th grade.
5. Students were unintentionally tracked into a low-leveled team
based upon their Math placement. (One team had all Pre-Algebra
Staff at X High School believes that if a system of support is not
developed to improve the retention of, and academic success of
students in the 9th grade, we lose the ability to support them in their
subsequent years because they are no longer attending.
A risk-quotient was assigned to a student based upon the following 8th
grade factors: attendance, GPA, OAKS test scores, SPED
identification, ELD identification, and was used to balance the needs of
the students across all three teams.
Teachers were provided with a 50-minute collaboration period every
SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES FEDERAL GRANT
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:
In a review of the research, Corcoran and Silander (2009), found some
evidence that schools who reorganize their structures to include
collaboration, professional learning communities, and interdisciplinary
teaching, see an increase in student achievement. They also found
that teachers need supports and structures that allow for adaptive
instruction where teachers can systematically respond to students
progress and needs.
During the Fall of 2010, X High Schools School District received a
Small Learning Communities Grant. The Grant would provide funding
for the implementation of embedded collaboration, as well as
professional development for staff.
X High School received an additional 3.0 FTE to use to support 9th
grade teaming structures and provide embedded collaboration for
This funding allowed for some adjustments to the structure of the 9th
grade teams for the current 2011-2012 school year.
Teachers on each team were assigned a 9th grade study hall called
Freshman Focus during the same period so they had access to their
students during this time. Teachers have this study hall for 9 weeks of
an 18 week period. They have an additional prep period during the
other 9 weeks.
Student study halls were aligned with their teachers study hall or
Below is an example of a 2011-2012 teacher teams schedule:
REVISED GOAL FOR TEAMS:
During the 2010-2011 school year, three Pilot teacher teams were
developed. Initial teacher teams consisted of an English, Math,
and Science Teacher, a Counselor and an Administrator. These
teachers would share a cohort of between 90 and 120 9th grade
students. Teachers at X High School voted to allow these
teachers to collaborate 2-3 days per week instead of supervising
a 9th grade study hall.
During this collaboration time teachers were expected to review
data, discuss the students in their courses, conduct student
meetings, and contact parents.
1. Implement instructional teaming at the 9 grade level and at the 10
grade level if possible. Within the context of teaming, provide
embedded collaboration for teachers who share a cohort of
students. This collaboration time will drive instructional decisions
to include targeted support (both content and skills) at the small
group and individual level.
2. Teaming efforts would include a focus on providing individual
students the type of support and instruction they need both when
and how they need it. This would include increased instructional
time, flexible groups, and intervention in the form of additional
support at the small group and individual level.
Eng. 9 Coll./
Alg. 9 PreLunch PrePrep
Lunch Eng.9 Eng.
Lunch Chem Sci 9
Eng. 9 Coll.
Alg. 9 PreLunch Prep
Lunch Eng.9 Focus Sr.
Lunch Chem Focus Prep
FUTURE PLANNING AND RESOURCE NEEDS
1. Explore ways to embed collaboration once Grant funds are
Below is an example of a 2010-2011 teacher teams schedule:
Rebecca Dedmond, R.D. Brown, and Hean M. Lafauci, " Freshman Transition
Programs: Long-Term and Comprehensive" Principal's Research Review 1, no.4
Tom Corcoran and Megan Silander, "Instruction in High Schools: The Evidence and
the Challenge" The Future of Children 19, no.1 (Spring 2009)
.Amanda Horowitz and Jason Snipes "Supporting Successful Transitions to High
School" The Council of the Great City Schools Research Brief (Spring 2008).
2. Develop a 9th grade course for College and Career Readiness:
-Team teachers have expressed a desire to have a course with their
students that covers the Key Cognitive and Content Strategies that
students need to be successful.
3. Provide Professional Development for staff on how to effectively
collaborate, use data, improve academic achievement for students.
4. Expand teams to the 10th grade and explore the possibility of the
9th grade teachers looping to the 10th grade.
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