Middle school is where the rubber meets the road. Many disadvantaged children begin to fall behind; greater levels of truancy and behavior problems lead to out-of-school suspension. Fewer than 2 in 10 eighth graders are on track for college-level work. This means than 8 in 10 won't have the knowledge and skills to succeed in high school.
Most high school dropout prevention efforts start in high school – which is too late, according to research. Students' academic achievement by 8th grade has a greater impact on college and career readiness than high school academic work. Research shows that students' readiness for college and career can be boosted with focus on middle school activity.
Students from 4th grade through high school spend less time in school and more time in a variety of other environments, including formal programs and community service. We are already working on these important middle grade transitions. We will focus on mapping and improving the quality of this area’s out-of-school time resources. We will also work to include this data in our 2-1-1 system.