Supporting High School Students through Transitions

On Thursday, June 23, the U.S. Department of Education and its partners sponsored a webinar titled “Successful Transitions to High School: Promoting High School Success and Facilitating College Readiness.” The presenters provided strategies for families, peers, and communities of high school students to create and sustain support systems as they transition into high school, negotiate their high school education, and prepare for college.

The webinar consisted of presentations from four speakers: Samantha Wigand, Education Consultant with United Way Worldwide;  Joanna Hornig Fox, Deputy Director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University; Ben Martinez,  National Program Director of the Breakthrough Collaborative; and Carol Myers, Consultant with the Indiana Partnerships Center. The speakers shared several strategies for facilitating successful transitions:

  • High schools should communicate directly with families to make them aware of graduation and college requirements and help them monitor their child’s progress, especially during the transition to high school, according to Samantha Wigand.  Carol Myers echoed Wigand's recommendation and highlighted the Indiana Partnerships Center's work educating parents about their role in helping their children succeed in high school.
  • School districts, parents and individual schools should work together to provide more targeted support to ninth graders, recommended Joanna Hornig Fox. She highlighted the importance of ninth grade as a make or break year for high school dropouts, and the increased need for parental engagement during that year.
  • Students should be engaged from middle school until graduation, noted Ben Martinez.  He also explained Breakthrough’s unique use of student teachers, which he believes utilizes the influence of peer culture to help create a better learning environment.

Additional partners who supported this webinar include the Harvard Family Research Project, United Way Worldwide, the National PTA, and SEDL. More information, including a recording of the webinar can be found here.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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