Monday, December 15, 2008

Tools to Strengthen High School Transitions & Success

ECS Highlights Tools to Strengthen High School Transitions & Success

DENVER, CO – Today the Education Commission of the States (ECS) goes

live with three new resources focused on policies to ensure academic

success in high school. The policy briefs build on research suggesting

the 9th-grade transition year, along with parental engagement and teacher

preparation, are critical to academic success in and after high school.

A 9th-grade transitions policy brief reviews research emphasizing the

freshman year as a predictor for high school success. The policy brief

identifies solid approaches to develop and support successful transition

model policies, articulating how such policies look, whether they are

aimed at funding summer “catch-up” programs, growing positive peer

networks or developing individual graduation plans.

Successful high school transitions also are heavily dependent on parental

support and guidance, yet research suggests many parents are unsure of

how best to support their child during the high school years. A second

policy brief highlights research indicating the types of parental

involvement that positively impact high school students. Designed for

state policymakers, this resource also identifies a set of policies and

practices that reflect and reinforce a commitment to increase parental


“Having worked at the building, district and state level, I know that

parents are key to students’ success, no matter what grade those students

are in,” ECS President Roger Sampson notes. “Yet too many parents don’t

know how to be involved once their child leaves the elementary grades.

This policy brief provides real answers to help state and district level

leaders get parents of high school students involved in meaningful ways.”

Research indicates that along with parents, teachers also are instrumental

in the success of high school students. A third policy brief examines

seven high-leverage components to strengthen teacher professional

development at the high school level and provides state policy

suggestions for each.

“As the research shows, 9th grade is a ‘make-or-break’ year for high

school success. States need to make sure they’re providing the supports

these students need to set them on the path to high school graduation,”

explains Sampson.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is the only nationwide,

nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. ECS helps

governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify,

develop and implement public policies to improve student learning

at all levels. A nonprofit organization, ECS was formed in 1965 and is

located in Denver, Colorado.

For questions or more information about these or other high school

policy issues, please contact ECS Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Dounay


Announcement was released on Thursday, December 11, 2008.

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