The Colorado Center for High School Success

The Colorado center for High school success

The Colorado Center for High School Success partners with 18 high schools across Colorado committed to becoming communities where all students excel academically, and race and socio-economic status do not predict success. We help our partner schools significantly increase the number of 9th graders who finish the year on track to graduate, a stronger predictor of high school graduation than their race/ethnicity, level of poverty, or test scores combined.

Resources for Schools

Reopening After COVID: Social Emotional Learning Support for High Schools

Stand Stronger: Stand-Out Practices from the Pandemic


9th grade on-track rates are more predictive of graduation

than all background factors combined.

  • Students who are on-track at the end of their 9th grade year—earn at least a quarter of the credits needed for four-year graduation and receive no more than one “F” in a core course—are as much as four times more likely to graduate from high school than their off-track peers. In fact, the 9th grade on track metric is more predictive of a student’s likelihood of graduating than race, ethnicity, poverty level and prior test scores combined. (Allensworth, 2013)
  • By implementing the “Freshman Success Approach” developed by the University of Chicago Network for College Success, Chicago Public Schools increased 9th grade on track rates by an astonishing thirty-three percentage points since 1999 and its graduation rates rose by twenty-five percentage points over that same time frame. (University of Chicago, 2018)
  • The number of unexcused absences quadruple from 8th to 9th grade. (Allensworth, 2013)
  • Students across the 8th grade achievement spectrum experience significant grade declines in all subject areas when they transition to high school. (Rosenkranz, T., de la Torre, M., Stevens, W.D., & Allensworth, E.M. (2014). Free to fail or on-track to college: Why grades drop when students enter high school and what adults can do about it. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research)
  • Nationwide, 9th graders are three to five times more likely to fail a class than students in any other grade. (Southern Regional Educational Board, 2002)
  • For every full-year course that a 9th grade students fails, their chance of graduating in four years decreases by 30%. (Nield, 2009)
  • 70-80% of all students who failed 9th grade will not graduate from high school. (Wyner et al. (2007). Achievement Trap: How America is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.)

9th Grade success grant program

A grant program through the Colorado Department of Education provides funding to local education providers and charter schools to assist students enrolled in ninth grade to develop the skills they need to successfully persist in graduating from high school.