Participant Experience and Registration Information

The Symposium will help schools organize resources – people, time, money, and programs – to support equitable and excellent outcomes. RISE has worked with more than a dozen Connecticut high schools to introduce new strategies promoting data-driven educator collaboration, targeted transition supports, and a strong culture of on-track achievement. The Symposium will feature engaging sessions, provide actionable resources, and offer guidance from educators and coaches who are experts around school implementation. Over the two days, RISE will help teams understand the importance of focusing on Grade 9, rooted in local and national research; reflect on their current practices and outcomes in Grade 9; and establish an aspirational vision for freshman success.

Participants at the Grade 9 Summer Symposium will:

  • Explore research around the middle to high school transition, adolescent brain development, and the importance of Grade 9 on-track achievement.
  • Take stock of current school systems, policies, and practices that positively and negatively affect freshman success, working together to diagnose strengths and opportunities.
  • Invest in the Grade 9 team model by exploring team roles and norms, practicing new data protocols, setting student outcome goals, and mapping out routines for the new school year.
  • Reflect on the freshman student experience and learn about strategies for building student and family engagement, investment, and comfort through the transition to high school.
  • Engage in conversations about adult mindsets and ways to promote a solutions-oriented and asset-based approach to the work.
  • Learn from Grade 9 educators across Connecticut who have positively transformed their teams’ approaches to working with freshman students.

Registration Information

Registration costs $1,150. Individuals registering as part of a team of four or more people will receive a discounted registration rate of $1,100 per person. (Attendees from schools participating in the Freshman Focus Network are eligible for a 20% discount). We encourage schools to register a team of four to six educators, including the school principal and Grade 9 administrator, teachers, and support staff. Districts may find value in registering teams from multiple schools and including a central office leader as a member of the group.

Your registration for the Grade 9 Summer Symposium will include:

  • An engaging two-day conference experience, including breakfast, lunch, and coffee/snacks on both days.
  • A planning call this spring with representatives from the RISE team, ensuring school teams have an opportunity to preview the agenda, ask questions, and prepare for the Symposium experience.
  • Print and electronic resources to support teams as they implement new strategies and replicate trainings with school staff. Resources will include: professional learning slides and training videos, data and team discussion protocols, strategy toolkits, and planning templates.
  • A copy of The Make or Break Year: Solving the Dropout Crisis One Ninth Grader at a Time, by Emily Krone Phillips.
  • Up to two hours of coaching with the RISE team in summer 2023 to support teams in preparation for the 2023-24 school year.

In addition to the Summer Symposium experience, school teams will have the opportunity to join a network of schools working together throughout the 2023-24 school year to pursue new Grade 9 strategies and structures. Network participation will include virtual community of practice sessions, an in-person convening for up to five team members, monthly school-specific coaching sessions with RISE staff, and access to RISE resources and tools. Symposium registrants will receive more information about the Freshman Focus Network opportunity in early spring. 

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