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Ninth Grade Transition: A Year In Review Small Learning Communities Miami Jackson Senior High School

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Title: Ninth Grade Transition: A Year In Review Small Learning Communities Miami Jackson Senior High School


1
Ninth Grade Transition A Year In ReviewSmall
Learning CommunitiesMiami Jackson Senior High
School
  • Ms. Deborah Love, Principal
  • Ms. Evelyn Torres-McHale, Vice Principal
  • Ms. Sandra Tilton, Teacher Leader
  • Ms. Willa Young, Mentor
  • June 2006

2
Abstract Of Study
  • Transition in life can be difficult for many
    people. The transition from eighth to ninth grade
    is a critical year for many students. Given this
    statement, the researchers investigated the
    implementation of a transition year for ninth
    grade students. If the staff, students, and
    parents were trained, more prepared and involved,
    would the ninth grade students be more
    successful?
  • Transition classes, academies, and small learning
    communities have been designed to meet the needs
    of students in a critical time in their
    educational experience. Research has shown that
    increases in services, individualized focus on
    student performance and an increase in student
    and parent involvement can lead to an increase in
    transition successes.
  • Surveys of students and staff gave the
    researchers an insight into areas of strengths
    and weaknesses. The students indicated their
    future career choices, and demonstrated increases
    in Algebra I and FCAT. These scores rose because
    the individual student was serviced by many
    different people in the school. The Transition
    teachers, Math teachers, and Reading/English
    teachers worked to instill positive methods and
    delivery of curriculum. The staff indicated there
    was a need for more training, involvement in
    academy planning, and continued effort to improve
    attendance of students.
  • The implications of this research has lead the
    researchers to focus on the student, staff, and
    parental needs, knowledge base, and involvement
    in the transition year of ninth grade students.
    Further research and data will help this project
    become a working model of improvement in
    transition years for all stakeholders.

3
Introduction
  • The idea of a transition academy in the ninth
    grade is on the forefront of educational trends
    at this time. Research indicates that more
    students fail ninth grade than any other grade,
    low reading and Algebra I achievement rates lead
    to higher dropout rates, and poor and minority
    students are twice as likely as others to be
    retained.
  • The typical classroom environment for high school
    students is teacher centered, lecture driven and
    students working independently. The school
    counselors are concerned with scheduling classes
    and are unable to meet the needs of the ninth
    grade students that require guidance academically
    and/or socially.
  • The transition year is difficult for many
    students, however, if there are key teachers,
    counselors, and staff in place to help these
    students the rates of truancy, absenteeism, and
    drop out rate would decrease and academic
    achievement increase.

4
School Profile
  • Miami Jackson Senior High School
  • Location 1751 N.W. 36th Street Miami, Florida
    33142
  • School Established 1925
  • Grade Organization 9 12
  • District Regional Center IV
  • School Improvement Zone
  • New Building Under Construction
  • Magnet Program National Academy Foundation
    (NAF)
  • International - Academy of Business and
    Finance (AIBF)

5
The first year of high school or tenth grade, has
proven to be the pivotal year in terms of
adjustment and achievement (Alspaugh, 2000).
The efforts made by schools in addressing student
attendance, discipline, academics, and social
adaptation, particularly with struggling
students, are crucial in determining high school
success.
Characteristics of Students
Ninth Grade Specific
White Non-Hispanic 1 Black Non-Hispanic
46 Hispanic 53
Asian/Indian/Other 0 Title
I Yes Free/Reduced Lunch
75 ESOL 13
ESE 13
Data provided by Miami-Dade County Public
Schools Profiles Report.
6
Research Question
  • Will increasing the knowledge base of the
    stakeholders (student, community, parents,
    teachers, staff) when transitioning into
    academies and/or small learning communities
    influence teacher practices in the classroom and
    affect student achievement in the ninth grade?
  • How will small learning communities affect
    student achievement?
  • How will teacher professional development,
    preparation and follow-up help facilitate ninth
    grade student success?

7
Literature Review
  • SREB (Southern Regional Education Board)
    research provides extensive proof of the need for
    measures to be taken to help ease the transition
    of students to and through ninth grade. Among
    the compelling statistics they have released are
    the following
  • More students fail ninth grade than any other
    grade.
  • Poor and minority students are twice as likely as
    others to be retained.
  • Students who repeat at least one year are three
    times more likely to drop out of school than
    students who have not failed a grade.
  • Career-bound students who take college
    preparatory (CP) courses in high school average
    16 points higher on the High Schools That Work
    Assessment than their counterparts in practical
    level classes.
  • The performance of students in Algebra I is the
    single most reliable indicator of their earnings
    at age 25.
  • Among 14 15 year olds who struggle with basic
    reading and mathematics skills, 20 drop out of
    school within two years.
  • A study of 56 Georgia and Florida high schools
    found that schools with extensive transition
    programs had significantly lower failure and
    dropout rates than those schools that did not
    offer comprehensive programs.
  • (Meeting the Challenge The Transition To and
    Through Ninth Grade, The School District of
    Greenville County, 2002)

8
Literature Review
  • NASSP (National Association of Secondary School
    Principals) study nearly 20 years ago by middle
    school experts John Lounsbury and J. Howard
    Johnston. Extensive study of ninth grades in 48
    states and the District of Columbia. Shadowing
    ninth-graders and observing their daily school
    experiences, Lounsbury and Johnston found
  • Most instruction teacher centered, with teachers
    lecturing and students taking notes and
    completing assignments.
  • Most high schools offered little or no guidance
    to help ninth-graders adjust academically and
    socially
  • Even in well-managed high schools that appeared
    to be running smoothly the researchers said,
    something was missing especially in the flat
  • and narrow teacher-student interactions
  • (The Pivotal Year, Black, Susan, American
    School Board Journal, February 2004 Vol. 191,
    No. 02.)

9
Methodology/Intervention Ninth
Grade Transition
  • A ninth grade class was designed specifically to
    assist and personalize the transition into high
    school. Classroom Inc. and Tools for
    Success curriculum programs were utilized for
    the transition course . Pre and post tests
    designed by Classroom Inc. were given to the
    students for this program and the results were
    tallied (pending). Special sessions were
    developed for ninth grade students ( Planning
    For Life, Hey Girlfriend (girls only), Future
    Academies and Understanding Your Grades).
    Additionally pre and post tests were given to
    ensure comprehension and understanding of the
    sessions. Ninth grade students were polled to
    establish future academy interests and students
    were assigned an academy based on their
    individual preference for tenth grade.
  • Selected ninth grade students participated in
    three community service activities sponsored by
    the city of Miami.

10
Methodology/Intervention Ninth
Grade Transition
  • Small Learning Community Focus Teams were
    established to ensure the success and
    understanding of the schools future framework.
    Seventy percent (70) of Miami Jacksons teachers
    and staff were involved in a retreat designed
    with break out sessions and staff development
    focusing on Small Learning Communities and
    development of future Academies. Teachers were
    polled for their Academy preference and surveyed
    to analyze their understanding of Secondary
    School Reform.
  • An Attendance Team was established
    (administrators, community involvement
    specialists, and student service members) to
    monitor students with fifteen or more absences.
  • A comparative analysis was conducted utilizing
    truancy reports, attendance records, FCAT scores,
    Algebra I passing rates and drop out rates. The
    Classroom Inc. course pre/post test (pending
    national office findings) data is being
    processed. Findings, patterns and student
    achievement levels when implementing the ninth
    grade transitional program were utilized to
    establish a baseline of program effectiveness.
  • Selected ninth grade students participated in
    three community service activities sponsored by
    the City of Miami to increase community
    involvement and awareness of social issues.

11
Data Collection
  • DATA SOURCES
  • Classroom Inc. Pre and Post Test
  • Student Career Academy Interest Survey
  • Student Individual Career Academy Choice
  • Staff Retreat for SLC Training and Development
  • Teacher Career Academy Interest Survey
  • Teacher Individual Career Academy/
  • Teaching Choice
  • How Well Does Your School Serve Each Student
    survey
  • Teacher Needs Assessment
  • Truancy Report
  • School Profile Reports
  • Algebra I (passing grade A, B, or C)
  • (FCAT) Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2005
    and 2006
  • (PSAT) Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude
  • Test 2004 and 2005 Reports
  • DATES OF COLLECTION
  • January 2006 and May 2006
  • March 2006
  • May 2006
  • February 2006
  • February 2006 and May 2006
  • May 2006
  • February 2006
  • May 2006
  • Years 2005-2006
  • Years 2003-2006
  • Year 2005 and 2006
  • Years 2004 and 2005
  • Years 2004 and 2005

12
Data Analysis Florida
Comprehensive Assessment Test 2006
Grade Nine (FCAT) READING and MATHEMATICS
READING Level 1 decreased 11 Level 3
increased 4 Level 5 increased 100 MEAN
SCALE SCORE Increased 12 Points
MATH Level 1 decreased 5 Level 3
increased 1 Level 5 increased
100 MEAN SCALE SCORE Increased 7 points
13
Data Analysis Ninth Grade Algebra
I
Population Year Passing
Increase
  • The performance of students in Algebra I is the
    single most reliable indicator of student
    earnings at age 25.
  • Among 14-15 year-olds who struggle with basic
    reading and mathematics skills, 20 drop out of
    school within two years.
  • Ninth grade students in 2004-2005 and the
    2005-2006 academic years were compared to gauge
    student progression in Algebra I.
  • NOTE The teachers and students are
    different each year.
  • For the purposes of this study students
    attaining an A, B, or C were considered
    making progress.

(Meeting the Challenge The Transition To and
Through Ninth Grade, The School District of
Greenville County, 2002)
14
Tools for Success and Classroom
Inc.
  • Tools for Success
  • Recent national studies prepared by the Manhattan
    Institute for Policy Research and Florida
    Department of Education indicated that the
    graduation rate for students in Miami-Dade County
    Public School is 58 and our school system is
    ranked 30th out of 50 districts evaluated
    throughout the country. The Tools for Success
    Preparing Students for Senior High School and
    Beyond was developed to be informational,
    developmental, project-based, and include
    authentic assessments and real-world experiences.
  • Classroom Inc.
  • The goal of the program was to improve students
    mathematics and literacy skills, improve
    attendance, and increase engagement.
  • The programs centerpiece was Sports Network, an
    engaging, industry-based computer simulation in
    which students assumed the role of managing
    editor of an ESPN-like sports entertainment
    network. Students worked collaboratively on the
    computer as they applied reading and mathematics
    skills to solve real-world problems.
  • Overall, the Classroom, Inc. program provided 100
    hours of instructional activities.

15
Classroom Inc. Data
  • Teachers reported students made the following
    improvements...
  • 84 in cooperating and collaborating with others
  • 74 in using computers to access important
    information
  • 65 in ethical, moral, and social justice issues
  • 60 in the world of work
  • 56 in problem solving
  • 54 in mathematics
  • 54 in speaking
  • 52 in listening
  • 48 in reading
  • 47 in writing
  • Student outcomes
  • When compared matched pre and posttest scores on
    the Math-Level Indicator developed by American
    Guidance Service, Inc., there was a average 2
    gain.
  • When compared matched pre and posttest scores on
    the Reading-Level Indicator developed by American
    Guidance Service, Inc., there was an average 5
    improvement.

16
Data Analysis
Secondary School Reform Faculty/Staff
Retreat Needs Assessment
Pre-Test Post-Test

Scale 1 to 5 1Absolutely Nothing 3Some
5Extremely/Totally Informed
  • I am familiar with Secondary School
    Reform (SSR).
  • I am familiar with Secondary School Reform
    (SSR).

2. I know what rigor in the curriculum means.
2. I know what rigor in the
curriculum means.
17
Data Analysis
Secondary School Reform Faculty/Staff
Retreat Needs Assessment
Pre-Test Post-Test
Scale 1 to 5 1Absolutely Nothing 3Some
5Extremely/ Totally Informed
3. I know what relevance in the curriculum
means.
3. I know what relevance in the curriculum
means.
4. I know what relationship in the curriculum
means.
4. I know what relationship in the curriculum
means.
18
Data Analysis How Well Does Your School
Serve Each Student ? Survey
  • Four focus questions from the How Well Does
    Your School Serve Each Student? Survey.
  • Step 1 Each teacher was asked to write a best
    guess response to each question.
  • Step 2 Teachers were then asked to rate their
    degree of satisfaction with the response they
    gave using a 5- point scale. (1 Highly
    Dissatisfied, 2 Dissatisfied, 3Neutral,
    4Satisfied, 5Highly Satisfied)

19
Findings
  • Data from the implementation of the course
    Classroom Inc. has been submitted to the
    national office for dissagregation. Preliminary
    responses from students and teachers indicated
    that these courses helped to personalize the
    transition into the High School Years. Data
    reveals that some changes are having an affect on
    student achievement in the ninth grade.
  • The ninth grade students increased their Mean
    Scale Score by 12 points in Reading and by 7
    points in Mathematics in the 2006 (FCAT) Florida
    Comprehension Assessment Test.
  • The number of ninth grade students who
    successfully passed the Algebra I course
    increased by 40 school wide, 1 in ESE and 24
    in ESOL as compared to the previous year..
  • Four Academies were voted for by the ninth grade
    students (Academy of Business and Finance,
    Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Academy of
    Family and Consumer Sciences and the Academy of
    Health and Public Services)
  • The ninth grade students had a 300 increase in
    the number of students taking the (PSAT)
    Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test as compared
    to the previous year.
  • Pre and Post Staff Retreat Needs Assessment
    Surveys indicated a marked increase in
    understanding the key elements of Secondary
    School Reform.
  • The How Well Does Your School Serve Each
    Student Survey clearly uncovered areas of
    concern, needs, uncertainty and opportunities for
    growth (The ninth grade student high school
    completion rate, knowing each child,
    personalizing instruction and lecture driven
    classes, etc.).

20
Conclusion/Recommendations
  • The movement towards establishing a solid
    foundation for the ninth grade transitional year
    opened up a dialogue among students, teachers and
    the community.
  • Continue to schedule all incoming ninth grade
    students into Tools For Success and Classroom
    Inc.
  • Monitor and refine the Academies established for
    all tenth grade students for the 2006 -2007
    academic year.
  • Increase student/parent awareness and personal
    understanding of the high school experience.
  • Increase staff development and the need to
    personalize instruction for each child must
    become an on-going norm.
  • Increase articulation between and within schools.
    Review present practices/ systems (counselors,
    discipline, attendance, etc.)
  • Continue Truancy Team to personalize contact for
    those most in need.

21
Resources
  • Meeting the Challenge The Transition To and
    Through Ninth Grade, The School District of
    Greenville County, 2002
  • The Pivotal Year, Black, Susan, American School
    Board Journal, February 2004 Vol. 191, No. 02
  • Achieving Equity and Excellence What is Takes to
    Leave No Child Left Behind, Pedro A. Noguera,
    Ph.D., Steinhart School of Education, New York
    University, 2004
  • Classroom, Inc., preliminary findings of the
    2005-2006 school year at Miami Jackson Senior
    High School
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Division of
    Career Education and Special Programs, (Manhattan
    Institute for Policy Research and Florida
    Department of Education), 2003

22
Acknowledgements
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  • School Board of Miami-Dade County
  • School Improvement Zone
  • Regional Center IV
  • Ms. Aida Marrero
  • The Education Fund
  • Miami Museum of Science
  • Wachovia
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • Council for Educational Change
  • Miami Jackson Staff and Students
  • Dr. Jill Farrell, Barry University
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