9th Grade: A Critical Year for Students

Students go from 8th grade to a bigger pond: high school. Classes are in different rooms with different teachers. Students have new schedules, a new culture and more. It can be overwhelming and scary. In addition to the mental and emotional adjustments, educationally, 9th grade is a crucial year for a high school’s newest students. Ninth graders who pass all their classes are 3x more likely to graduate on time. 

For the last several years, Stand for Children Washington has highlighted the critical importance of 9th grade and the need for evidence-based strategies to support student success. We advocated for Washington state to invest in these supports, including the creation of the Ninth Grade Success Initiative at OSPI.

The Ninth Grade Success Initiative is now in 53 schools across 37 school districts (from an initial pilot in 5 districts in 2019-2020). Schools are reporting year-over-year increases in Ninth Grade On-Track rates! This is confirmed/validated by independent evaluators who found that compared to similarly situated comparison schools, schools with the Ninth Grade Success Initiative had nearly 7% higher Ninth Grade On-Track rates. If implemented statewide, a 7% increase in on track rates would result in an additional 9,000 students graduating each year. 

This means 9,000 more Washingtonian’s can begin their postsecondary aspirations and can become the leaders of tomorrow.

As WA lawmakers deliberate funding priorities, we have an opportunity to demand that they act now to support 9th graders and ensure our students are graduating on-time. The Ninth Grade Success Initiative sets up 13,000 students to graduate on time each year. If funding for this initiative expires, 13,000 students are in jeopardy of falling off-track. 

Take action by contacting your representatives today. Send an email to your lawmakers with just one click, here.  

Our lawmakers have an obligation to ensure Washington’s students can thrive, so we demand— fund the Ninth Grade Success Initiative now! 

Email Tips:

  1. The most impactful messages will be personalized! Share who you are and why the Ninth Grade Success Initiative matters to you. 
  2. Personalize the subject line to stand out. 
  3. End your message with a strong ask to fully fund the Ninth Grade Success Initiative at $2.9 million in the final budget.



Want to be in the know? Join our email list to learn more