Over 30% of SCCPSS 9th graders held back; district trying to help kids during high school transition

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 3:31 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Out of all grades, ninth graders were held back the most in Savannah-Chatham public school system in the 2021-2022 school year.

Thirty-one percent of ninth graders were held back from going to the next grade.

Transitioning from middle to high school as a ninth grader can be a challenge for some teens as they face more responsibility, according to Superintendent of Secondary Schools Bernadette Ball-Oliver.

“They’re coming into ninth grade where you ring the bell, time to go to class. You’re no longer lined up. You’re no longer walked to class, walked to lunch,” Ball-Oliver said.

Tenth graders have also been falling behind. Twenty-four percent of 10th grade students were retained.

(Savannah-Chatham County Public School System)

While transitioning from middle to high school is already a challenge, the pandemic has created another hurdle for ninth and tenth graders and their parents. Ball-Oliver says the pandemic has played a role in the increase in ninth graders in the Savannah-Chatham school district failing their classes.

“We talked about that mental piece, that social piece as well and emotional - remember that a lot of the learning over the last two years has been through a computer screen so it has limited that interaction. Not just with their peers, but with their instructors. That face-to-face interaction and being able to connect and develop a rapport with the adults in the building,” Ball-Oliver said.

COVID restrictions are more laxed going into this school year with masks not required.

Ball-Oliver says they have support structures that help them catch up. There’s an after school Twilight program to take classes, “So that you still are able to graduate on time and on track,” she said.

The district also offers high school transition tips.

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