Diverse group of young high school students run down a school hallway lined with lockers.

Supporting Students When They Need It Most: Implement 9th-Grade Success Teams

Teens gain more independence as they get older, but adults also expect more from teens without providing as much of the nurturing and guidance of their earlier years. Starting high school is a big transition and, it turns out, the ninth is grade a pivotal moment for teens’ potential success or failure in high school.

– Ki Sung


  • This Key Move was implemented by North Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon
  • They created 9th-grade success teams that worked directly with a:
    • 9th-grade transition specialist
    • 9th-grade counselor  
  • The transition specialist focused on students who were identified as needing additional support based on their middle school experience, and 9th graders who struggled during their first 9 weeks of the school year.
  • The counselor worked with the 9th grade teachers to create classroom environments that support quality relationships between students, and between students and staff.
  • The school saw a 10% increase in its graduation rate due in part to their efforts to nurture quality relationships using this approach.

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