In cities with the highest dropout rates, 40 percent of freshmen will repeat the ninth grade, and of those students only 10 – 15 percent will make it to graduation day. These numbers make up what is referred to as the “freshman bulge” – given that name because more students are retained their freshman year than in any other grade. So, what causes the freshman bulge? The school culture changes drastically for a high school freshman. The workload gets harder, relationships intensify, schedules get crammed with part-time jobs, after school functions, homework, etc., and the thought of college moves closer to becoming a reality. Students need guidance during this vulnerable time in their life to reach academic, social and emotional success.
Statistics show a staggering number of inner city students failing at a much higher rate than their suburban peers. In a 2009 study, Cleveland was placed as the city with largest gap with 38 percent of high school inner-city freshmen graduating within four years, compared to an 80 percent graduation rate in the suburbs. The gap cannot be ignored. However, writing this book I found two universal truths: Everybody is unique, different, and special and nobody has it easy. Inner city and suburban high schoolers face different daily problems, but every teen must face the cultural shift and will either succeed or fail based on the choices they make and the actions they take.
Making the Most of High School infuses humor and real-world instruction from students who talk about how to navigate the choppy waters of adolescence and get the most out of high school and beyond. Prompting students to learn their strengths, engage in healthy habits and develop a vision for themselves, Making the Most of High School also addresses critical issues such as:
- Making wise peer choices
- Managing time and priorities
- Harnessing 21st century technology safely
- Developing writing, thinking and reading skills
Share this book with your friends and colleagues who have students who are in their freshmen year of high school or getting ready to start next year Ask powerful questions about their fears, their goals, their dreams and other topics that allow them to anticipate and fully consider the transition in the most successful terms possible. Troubleshoot any areas of difficulty, for example in academics they may need extra help through tutors or school resources, and encourage students to be their best self-advocate. Don’t do this work for them or they will not learn adult skills.