The move from eighth to ninth grade can be an emotional time. Students experience feelings of isolation and the fear of the unknown. In the transition, grade nine students experience a number of first times that challenge their abilities to manage their time wisely and stay focus. These first times include: (a) taking a class that counts towards graduation, (b) choosing their own classes, (c) less parental supervision, (d) increased peer influence, and (e) other freedoms that high school students enjoy (McCallumore & Sparapani, 2010).

To combat the “freshman problem” districts across the United States work in an effort to build strategies that assist in supporting the transition from middle to high school. Freshman academies or grade nine transition programs have become a vital role in supporting grade nine students. These programs are small learning communities within large comprehensive high schools wherein grade nine students are separated from the total school population, in an effort to create a more intimate setting (Fulco, 2009).



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