WHS 9th Grade Academy
The transition from middle school to high school is often quite difficult for ninth graders. They face many challenges socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, which can leave them feeling overwhelmed and alone. Research has shown that the 9th grade year is the most important year in high school. Successful completion of the 9th grade year leads to a higher likelihood of graduation in four years.
Woodland High School is one of the many successful high schools around the United States that has implemented the 9th Grade Academy School-Within-A-School concept. The goal of the Academy is to ease the transition to high school for incoming 9th grade students and thereby improve their likelihood of progressing through the upper grades and graduating on time. The Academy is a partnership among parents, students, teachers, support staff, and administrators to provide 9th graders with rigor and challenges, while offering support structures necessary for success.
Teams of teachers representing the core academic areas will share a common group of 100-125 students. All teams will have common classroom expectations, organizational material, and opportunities for extra help. Teachers on each team will have daily common planning time in which they will have set agendas to discuss teaching and learning practices, student academic achievement and discipline, parent communication, and other concerns and celebrations.
The 9th Grade Academy is data-based and focuses on the attendance, discipline, and success rates of 9th graders for each grading period. In order to facilitate parent involvement and awareness, progress reports are issued every 4½ weeks for 9th grade students. There are four events during the year to recognize high achieving students.
Since the implementation of the 9th Grade Academy, Woodland High School has seen an annual increase in the number of students completing the 9th grade year having earned enough credits to become 10th graders. Between 2006 and 2010, the most recent years for which data is available, the percentage of students retained in the 9th grade has been cut nearly in half. We hope to continue the successes realized thus far and to prepare more students for a great high school experience and for the opportunities that await them after graduation.