AllentownSchool District

Allentown School District Hosts Forum on Increasing Ninth-Grade Success

Allentown School District Hosts Forum on Increasing Ninth-Grade Success
Posted on 08/01/2018
On July 30 & 31, 2018, teams of administrators and teachers who work directly with ninth-grade students came together for an intense workshop devoted to increasing the achievement level of students in ninth grade in the Allentown School District. 
Representatives from William Allen, Dieruff, Building 21 High Schools and various department heads closely analyzed current and historical data, but also worked to redefine expectations relative to the Strategic Framework. Teams from each school worked collaboratively to redefine goals for current and future Grade 9 students that reflect the culture and environment of ASD. 

Facilitated by Cynthia White, an education consultant, the sessions challenged ASD leadership to add support to programs already in place for current students to better meet them where they are, but also what new initiatives can be implemented for future cohorts. 

 “We recognize that ninth grade is a point in a student’s educational journey where things tend to go off track all across the country,” said Superintendent Thomas Parker. “This workshop was intended to bring our high school teams together in a collaborative way so that we can share successful methods, but also work to achieve our goals as a District on ensuring our high school students are graduating college and career ready."

Attaining high levels of success in Grade 9 is not a challenge unique to Allentown. Studies have shown that nationwide, school districts and high schools are reporting declines in student success in Grade 9 often lead to higher dropout and lower graduation rates. Key factors that may result in a performance decline include adjusting to the new environment of high school, attendance, and family support. The teams will continue to work throughout the 2018-2019 school year to address with a renewed focus on success in Grade 9. 

As outlined in the Strategic Framework, critical progress areas that ASD will be monitoring over the next several years include % attendance rate, average grade level GPA and grade level citizenship rate, which is defined by reviewing alternative to suspension and suspension rates of Grade 9 students. By shifting our focus to personalized learning and instruction, the District aims to improve success rates in Grade 9, as success in Grade 9 has a direct impact on high school graduation rates and better prepare our students to be college and career ready.