Summer School: Bridge Programs for 8th Grade Transitions

Oct 20, 2023
8th grade transitions

More students fail 9th grade than any other grade level, and each course failed in 8th grade increases the odds of non-promotion from 9th to 10th grade by 16%. Because student performance in these grades is such a strong indicator of later high school success or failure, intervention is critical prior to high school to ensure students get and stay on track to graduate. Learn more about the effects of this transition in this infographic.

Many district leaders are taking the targeted action of implementing bridge programs to help students effectively make the leap from middle to high school. Bridge programs are a popular strategy to increase 8th graders’ high school readiness by providing focused opportunities across different areas of learning. Typically, bridge programs are broken into three areas and time frames centering around the summer between a student’s 8th grade and 9th-grade academic years:

Before Summer—Orientation Activities:

These activities can start earlier than 8th grade and often include tours of high school campuses and exposure to high school procedures for students and parents. Having familiarity with the school procedures and physical location builds a foundation of comfort so that students can enter high school academic learning without these potential stressors present, allowing them new to focus and to reach out appropriately when necessary.

During Summer—Summer Programs:

Summer bridge programs focus on skill gaps, as well as on topics like study skills and career exploration, to help students successfully transition to high school. They learn to personalize study strategies and take ownership of their education. Including accelerated math and English courses within the summer program to ensure Freshmen have mastered key skills provides the additional support needed for a smooth transition.

After School—Interventions:

These are safety nets for the duration of the academic year that are built specifically for freshman to help catch them before they fail. Differentiated, individualized learning experiences and evidence-based interventions are most beneficial in this setting. Each student has different areas of weakness, and tailored intervention efficiently supports them where they need it, building the skills to meet standards for the next grade.

Many states are implementing early warning systems to identify the students who may benefit from a bridge program. These systems use data points such as attendance, behavior, and course -grade to help schools identify middle school students who are at risk and therefore most likely to benefit. No matter what your bridge program looks like, make sure to start early and be consistent in structure and implementation because we know this is a highly impactful year for students and paves the way to their high school success or failure.

Although summer is on the horizon, you don't have to wait until school's out to start these types of programs. Check out the flexible learning options from Edmentum that can power your summer intervention, credit recovery, and enrichment programs. If you're interested in learning more about completely virtual options with state-certified teachers, check out Edmentum's EdOptions Academy.

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