Focus on 8th and 9th Grades
Why Middle and Early High School?
According to recent statistics, only 70% of all students and 50% of students of color are completing high school. The majority of young people who drop out do so after 9th grade, and the decision to drop out is made during middle school. College & Career Connections’ programs focus on early exposure programming during the critical, formative middle and early high school years (8th and 9th grade). In order to stay in school, kids need to see and understand the connection between what they’re studying in school and how it applies in the real world. To give them a sense of possibility for their future they need to participate in and be exposed to career and college opportunities. According to a study done for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 81% of high school drop outs stated that students need to see the connection between school and getting a good job. Integrating college and career experiences into these years can help shape young people so that they see the relevance of staying in school at a point where they have four to six years to build the skills and experiences they will need to succeed in college and the workforce. If we can support students with additional resources, specifically by helping them to understand the connection between their current education and future opportunities, they will have a much higher chance of making it through high school and entering college and the workforce prepared.