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Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:

This spring and summer, we’ve shared with you research on the challenges of academic learning loss and COVID slide; the additional time out of school this spring and inconsistent engagement by students will likely lead to students that are significantly behind in the fall, especially in math and likely demonstrated on college entrance exams as well.

Why is this year critical for 7th and 8th graders?
One critical turning point for students is the jump from middle to high school. Extensive research from the University of Chicago Consortium for School Research has highlighted the importance of performance in the freshman year of high school to long-term outcomes, including college persistence.

Students are considered on-track if, at the end of their freshman year of high school, they have:

  • accumulated five full course credits
  • no more than one failing grade in a core subject (English, math, science, or social studies)

Students that are “on-track” at the end of ninth grade are nearly three times more likely to graduate from high school. It’s urgent that we prepare our students to be successful in high school through a rigorous middle school academic experience.

How is Academic Approach working with students?
We know how essential academic skills are for students returning to school this fall. In addition, we’ve done extensive analysis on the skills relevant to success in high school performance and how they relate to college readiness. We’re preparing our middle school (and soon-to-be-high-school!) students with our new, robust middle school curriculum.

We’ve carefully designed this curriculum not only to prepare students for high school entrance exams like the ISEE, SSAT, HSPT, NWEA-MAP, and Chicago and New York Selective Enrollment Exams, but also to help them bridge between high school and college readiness. We’ve identified and scaffolded key skills that students will need throughout high school to prepare for college success, and we’re providing them with the building blocks they need in middle school to get there.

Be well,
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO

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