The Needs of Rising Freshmen

Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:

As schools continue to discuss what education will look like in the fall, we’re diving back into the topic of readiness. We’ve shared with you research on the challenges of academic learning loss and COVID slide. Students may be significantly far behind in the fall, because of the additional time out of school this spring and inconsistent engagement. This is especially true in math and will likely be demonstrated on college entrance exams as well.

Why is this summer especially critical for rising freshmen?
One critical turning point for students is the jump from middle school 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. Students are considered on-track if, at the end of their freshman year of high school, they:

  • Accumulate five full course credits
  • Have 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 the freshman year of high school this fall to ensure they are ready for college down the road.

How is Academic Approach helping?
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 middle school and high school. 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

Matthew Pietrafetta

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