Seniors mentor freshman as part of an afterschool collaborative between the Curry Public Library and Gold Beach High School.

Ninth grade is critical for student success. Students who are on-track to graduate by the end of their freshman year are four times more likely to graduate high school than their off-track peers. And ninth grade students' course performance is strongly related to grades later in high school, as well as the likelihood that they graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education.

Three key factors contribute to a student's success: attendance, academic performance, and engagement with the school. A variety of programs at GEAR UP schools help ninth graders with the academic and social transition to high school.

Near-Peer Orientation & Mentoring

Link Crew is a high school transition program that welcomes freshmen and makes them feel comfortable throughout the first year of their high school experience. Upperclassmen host a freshman orientation as well as academic and social follow ups throughout the year.

Many GEAR UP schools utilize Link Crew, including Riverside Junior/Senior High School, Klamath Union High School, Lebanon High School and Cottage Grove High School, who gave a warm welcome to ninth graders on the first day of school.

Similarly, Gold Beach High School partners with the After School Commitment to Education and Development (ASCEND) program at their public library to offer a freshman orientation and bridge program led by senior mentors.

Freshman Success Class

All ninth graders at Rogue River Junior/Senior High School take a class dedicated to helping them succeed in their high school career. The class covers academic skills such as organization, time management, and study strategies as well as college and career exploration.

"The benefits of this course is to start familiarizing them with college and career readiness terms, develop essential skills that will impact their high school career and beyond, and help ensure all freshman are staying on track for graduation," said Katarina Smith, GEAR UP Coordinator at Rogue River Junior/Senior High School.

Freshman Success Team

Newport High School ninth graders get support from a team of educators dedicated to freshman success, including an administrator, freshman teachers, the freshman counselor, and agraduation coach. The team targets students who have a 1.5-2.0 GPA and are failing 1-3 classes and meets them with individually to make a plan that may include setting goals, learning organizational skills, and/or tutoring.

Learn additional strategies in our Transition to High School Toolkit.