How Englewood High School’s Ninth Grade Academy Is Improving Student Outcomes

The Stand Colorado team joined our Center for High School Success partner school, Englewood High School, for their celebration of ninth grade students on-track to graduate this semester. This celebration is one part of their successful Ninth Grade Academy.

Englewood has been implementing a 9th grade success approach in partnership with the Colorado Center for High School Success for two years. Their 9th Grade Academy is a robust effort to support students by implementing proven interventions to increase the number of 9th graders on-track to graduate by the end of their 9th grade year. It is clear their work is showing results –their on-track rate went from 73% to 86% this last semester, and they are closing gaps with Latino students.

Students who are “on-track,” meaning they have no more than one F, at the end of their 9th grade year are three times more likely to graduate from high school than their off-track peers. 

“Creating the Ninth Grade Academy has really helped us to be proactive instead of reactive. It gives us the forum to teach kids study skills, social and emotional skills, and self advocacy. It has allowed us to set the bar high and then provide the supports that our students need in order to be able to reach that bar and achieve. Our 10th grade teachers have said they have seen the positive impact that our Ninth Grade Academy has had on our kids. And hopefully, we’ll continue to see that positive impact as they move up through the grades,” said Jamie Pollett, Dean of Instruction & Assessment and 9th Grade Administrator.

  • Pirate 101 – a semester long class that engages 9th grade students in everything from team building and life skills, to learning the school fight song and how to get around the school, to how to meet with your teacher for support and community service.
  • Kid Talks and Empathy Interviews – Kid Talks are regular every other Wednesday meetings of the entire 9th grade teaching team, structured around individual student data. This time is spent discussing students in need of support, gathering information from each teacher’s perspective, and crafting a plan to support improvement with specific interventions. Empathy interviews are when the student meets with the 9th grade team so that the educators can better understand the student’s experience and inform next steps.
  • 9th grade orientation- an introduction to the school and being a high school student. Next year, Englewood will implement a 9th grade bridge program. This will enable 9th grade teachers to review data from 8th grade students and pre-fill gaps prior to school even starting.
  • Consistent expectations and routines in all core classes and electives so students have clarity about what is expected of them.
  • After school tutorials
  • On-track to graduate celebrations – to check in with students throughout the year and celebrate those that are on-track to graduate.

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