In early April Colorado’s Center for High School Success (CHSS), in partnership with Abraham Lincoln High School (ALHS), hosted a unique opportunity for the CHSS Directors from across the country to visit Lincoln High School’s Ninth Grade Connect Academy and learn from Principal Antonio Esquibel, current school leaders, and students who are involved in the ninth-grade success work.
The National CHSS Director and six State CHSS Directors were joined by school and district leaders from Denver Public Schools, Englewood High School, Littleton Public Schools, and Pueblo D60 to experience a guided tour of Connect Academy and hear from students. While visiting classrooms, observers were encouraged to look for strong student-teacher relationships, adult collaboration to enhance student experience, and students engaging in a productive struggle with high-level academic work.
ALHS staff gave a presentation about their focus areas in building the Connect Academy which include parent engagement and communication, student supports and interventions, positive culture builders, and high priority staffing and scheduling.
Lincoln High School’s Ninth Grade Connect Academy
The Ninth Grade Academy (NGA) starts with a week-long transition program designed to support incoming 9th grade students with their transition to high school. This feeds into the year-long Connect Academy concept that focuses on building connections between teachers and students and providing a level of comfort and understanding for students as to how to be successful at ALHS and raise awareness of the opportunities for them at the school.
CHSS partners with Lincoln High to advance their ninth-grade success goals by providing training, coaching, data, analysis, resources and peer networking opportunities. CHSS Coach, Gina Yacovetta, works directly with Connect Academy Team Specialist, Cassandra Tafoya, to support ninth grade success teams and track progress in raising ninth grade course performance.
CHSS Directors reflect on their experience
“It is clear that Lincoln High School values the 9th grade experience for its students and they have created systems and supports that validate the importance of the students’ 9th grade year.” Henterson Carlisle, Washington Director, Center for High School Success
“There is no better way to understand the positive impact of this work than to fully immerse yourself into a school community for a day and see it in action!” - Tara DeBois, Oregon Director, Center for High School Success
“Visiting Lincoln High School gave me energy and excitement moving forward with our work in Arizona.” -Keith Smith, Arizona Director, Center for High School Success
Special thanks to Abraham Lincoln High School for hosting a visit to their Connect Academy! Shoutout to Principal Esquibel, Assistant Principal Noel Nieves and Cass Tafoya for your hospitality and sharing your school and amazing students with the CHSS group.