Solutions etc.'s model of a Freshman Transition Program exists to provide ninth grade students with the skills necessary for making successful transitions from the nurturing environment of the middle school to the more academically rigorous environment of the high school without sacrificing high expectations.
Throughout the United States, schools are experiencing what Solutions, etc. has labeled the "Freshman Problem". High failure rates, high absentee rates, poor exam performances, and discipline referrals indicate a need for a program to address the needs of freshmen.
Solutions, etc.'s model for freshman transition is dynamic and responsive, able to adjust to individual needs day to day or entirely different populations of students year to year, by striving to make every child a better student.
The Freshman Transition Program emphasizes a broad range of student skills. One is the use of a student assignment book. Primarily a planner, the assignment book is also used to teach goal setting, teamwork and personal responsibility. Freshmen are also required to use the Cornell Notetaking System. (All participants in a Solutions, etc. Freshman Transition workshop receive a complimentary agenda from Premier Agendas complete with custom pages about the Transition Program.)
As a part of the Transition Program, a team of teachers representing the core curriculum areas (English, Math, Science, and Social Studies) meets daily during a common planning period to standardize expectations, develop possible cross-curriculum assignments, and - when necessary - conference with students and parents. An effective team also will have administrative powers. A student's schedule can be modified to enhance student performance or simply to change class personality. Each student has the same four classes with the same four teachers, but not necessarily in the same order, ensuring that the student's peer interactions are varied from class to class.
Team teaching or interdisciplinary instruction is not the main focus since today's high stakes testing environment requires instruction from teachers that are experts in their disciplines. Solutions, etc. does advocate the team of teachers establishing a common system of class rules, procedures, and expectations. Teachers work to identify common problems and to discuss solutions. Such problems include, but are not limited to, classroom discipline and meeting the special needs of individual students.
A 30-minute Success Prep Conference is also scheduled for teamed students. An academic teacher, a career and technical teacher and a counselor meet with the student and a parent to form a program of study using both short and long-term goals. Along with helping students prepare for their futures, Success Prep Conferences also ensure that enrollments in both advanced programs of study and career and technical education courses swell to very positive levels.
A Freshman Transition Team should strive for continuous improvement. Faculty members should conduct research, participate in workshops, and visit other schools, to bring valuable insights and in-service to ninth grade team teachers.
Solutions etc.'s Freshman Transition Program has become a model for similar programs throughout the country. Solutions, etc. transition specialists have presented at High Schools That Work, Tech Prep, ASCD and various university conferences and have conducted workshops at schools and for school systems throughout the country. Solutions, etc. hosts its own conference on Freshman Transition each spring and fall.
For more information on Freshman Transition presentations, workshops or conferences, contact Solutions, etc. at email@example.com.