Why Summer VISTA Is Important
What is Ninth Grade Counts?
Launched from the work of Connected by 25, Ninth Grade Counts represents a network of summer transition programs working together to target at-risk incoming ninth graders with the support they need to start high school on the right track. Ninth Grade Counts is an initiative of All Hands Raised. The initiative is a part of Summer Youth Connect, a series of summer academic support and career/college exposure opportunities sponsored by the City of Portland, Multnomah County, All Hands Raised, and Worksystems, Inc.
Why Summer VISTA?
In 2012 high schools in the Portland Public School District were graduating just 63% of students on time (http://schools.oregonlive.com/grads/). Ninth Grade Counts, a program of Connect by 25 and All Hands Raised, aims to change that by connecting youth with the support they need to enter high school on the right track. Research led by Connected by 25 has shown that the ninth grade transition is a critical time for students at risk of disconnecting– especially the summer months.
As of 2011, just four of eighteen high schools in the Portland Public School District have met the federal "No Child Left Behind" targets. The remaining fourteen schools are on the federal; "troubled" list for missing standards in reading and math. Additionally, in the Reynolds, David Douglas, Centennial, and Parkrose school districts all high schools are on the "troubled" list for missing science and math targets. More information can be found here.
Research shows that academic indicators can predict which eighth graders are most likely to drop out before completing high school. We also know that students fall behind during the summer months, which widens the gap even more between students who are succeeding academically and those who are not. Summer engagement is key. Because dropping out of high school is a slow process of disengagement for most students, this data is a powerful tool.
Back to Become a Summer VISTA
My service this summer has further shown me that working with youth is what I was meant for. I am now leaning towards working with high school students, and I am considering more pathways in working with children aside from being a teacher."