The RISE Network’s first-ever Grade 9 Summer Symposium, designed to help educators transform high school experiences and student outcomes through replicable and impactful strategies, was an overwhelming success.
On June 27 and 28, 65 attendees, representing three states and eight districts including Baltimore, Denver, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Norwalk, Bristol, New London, and Vernon, participated in the event. These school teams came together for collaborative training around Grade 9 on-track achievement as a key lever to improve high school graduation rates and postsecondary success.
Participants engaged in two days of interactive content, taking time to reflect on research connected to the high school transition, explore practices to promote Grade 9 on-track achievement, make plans to turnkey Grade 9 strategies in their school contexts, and learn from RISE educators and other school teams engaged in this important work.
RISE Network school leaders relayed their experiences launching freshman success initiatives during a panel discussion on day two. The panelists from Brien McMahon High School, Maloney High School, Middletown High School, Hartford Public High School, and Meriden Public Schools shared the challenges they had encountered in their respective schools that motivated them to focus more on Grade 9, the new and innovative strategies that were put in place, and key lessons learned throughout the process. You can learn more about the insights educators shared in this segment from NBC Connecticut.
Following the event, participants enthusiastically expressed a 100% satisfaction rating for their experience at the Symposium. They commented that the event was thought-provoking, highly relevant to their work in schools, and allowed for purposeful collaboration.
The Symposium experience represents part of the RISE team’s effort to share our learnings and scale our impact in the state and region. Coming up, we are inviting Symposium participants and other interested schools to participate in a new network experience focused on Grade 9. If you are interested in learning more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for additional resources we will be sharing.
As with any RISE event, we are always excited to hear from participants. Here is some of the feedback we received from Symposium attendees:
“I learned about the importance of 9th grade and had a chance to reflect on strategies that have worked for other schools and districts, before working with my team to plan for the next academic year. I had a TON of fun, and found that I was more present and engaged than I have been during any other PD/conference since I started my role.” – Baltimore educator
“It is a space to refocus, refine, and plan with others who share your passion.” – Bristol educator
“It was a great opportunity to look at the different ways to improve on the Freshman Academy and the ninth-grade experience not only for students but also for us as teachers. It gave us the ability to think about what we wanted the Freshman Academy to look like and plan how we were going to get there.” – Waterbury educator
“I loved having the RISE network employees at our tables helping to facilitate. Also, the ability to ask questions and get their consultation feedback right at our table. It was very helpful… I would attend again and highly recommend it to other educators working with high schoolers.” – Norwalk educator
“It was an opportunity to work together to develop a plan to build a foundational year for our 9th graders.” – New London educator