The first year of high school can be a tough one. A new, bigger campus. New people and tougher classes all pose challenges for students.
In Glendale Union High School District, leadership is helping freshman get prepared and on track to graduate in four years.
Before starting their freshman year, each student takes assessments in math and English. These scores will tell educators whether youth are prepared for freshman level courses.
Knowing that achievement in Algebra 1 and English are strong predictors of future achievement, catching any challenges early is critical.
In a district where 60 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, programs like this are critical to success. And given that Glendale Union has earned national recognition for Advanced Placement scores, along with higher than average graduation rates, it must be working.
Students who need a chance to catch up are placed in a two-hour block class. These blocks are staffed by a specially trained educator and paraprofessional.
Courses include whole, small group and individualized instruction to ensure that youth stay engaged. Rotations might even include interactive computer learning, one-on-one guidance and more.
Each of the district’s high school campuses also includes a learning center, where students can use computers and get tutoring. These centers are specially focused on freshman, who are facing such a big adjustment.
On the Apollo High campus, this “Soar Center” serves as a community for the students, many of whom would be the first in their family to attend college. They help to set – and meet – high standards and show youth how to get there.
With statewide graduation rates around 78 percent and an Arizona Education Progress Meter goal to boost this to 90 by 2030, programs like this one are helping students get and stay on track to succeed.
Even though their test scores might be low initially, students generally do very well in the course and are back on track by the end of their freshman year.
This year alone, the freshman remediation program is aiding more than 1,600 students in the district.
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