Ninth grade is a pivotal year for students as they begin their high school career. Itâ€™s a big adjustment being in a new school setting, learning the ropes of high school and making connections and forging relationships that may last a lifetime.
However, COVID-19 has put a huge damper on this exciting and important transition year for students in Revere Public Schools and schools across the state.
â€œWeâ€™re seeing that in schools across the country we are having real problems with retaining the focus from ninth graders,â€ said Revere High School Principal Dr. John Perella. â€œI talked to principals in Greater Boston on a weekly basis and every single one of them identifies a ninth grade class as the most challenging and concerning and it is a definitive concern for us as well.â€
Dr. Perella said not only are ninth graders coming into a new school that they have never experienced in school their eight grade school year was also severely cut short by COVID.
â€œThey werenâ€™t able to really end that chapter of their educational life,â€ said Perella. â€œTypically we have very robust programs over the summer that allow incoming ninth graders to come in and get acclimated to the school. So weâ€™re really operating under a lot of challenging situations here. Our understanding is that the ninth grade is having some troubles. We will be doing some data diving at the end of the semester to get a better analysis of failures and passes. It has been a challenge getting students to connect and to stay connected with us.â€
However, Dr. Perella said RHSâ€™s Assistant Principals have been interacting daily with students and families and sending home correspondences and setting up meetings.â€
â€œThe ninth grade teachers are doing this as well,â€ said Perella. â€œIn preparation for this year we sort of established cohorts for ninth and 10th grades. So we have the systems in place to communicate and to make those connections, but thereâ€™s no denying that this is a concern for us and throughout the country.â€