Ninth grade, often the first year of high school, is a critical time when many students sink or swim while coping with new academic responsibilities and learning the oh-so-important social hierarchy.
Some educators are turning to ninth-grade-only schools to separate 14- and 15-year-olds from older kids and make the transition easier.
“People just really value having our ninth-graders have a chance to develop intellectually, emotionally and socially outside of the context of a large comprehensive high school setting,” said Kenneth Graham, superintendent of Rush-Henrietta Central School District near Rochester, N.Y. “They don’t have upperclassmen in the halls picking on them and teasing them.”
There were 127 ninth-grade-only public schools in the 1999-2000 school year. By the 2005-06 school year, that number had jumped to 185, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
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