9th Grade, By the Numbers
The Chicago district has provided every high school in the city with detailed data about its 9th grade class. Now, it's up to the schools to help teenagers make it through their freshman year.
Even before Alamin Smith set foot in Kelvyn Park High School last fall, the woman who would be his 9th grade counselor knew he would need extra help.
All the information was right there for Kathryn McAuley, in a color-coded spreadsheet: Alamin had missed more than three dozen days of school in 8th grade. He had failed reading and mathematics, so he had to go to summer school to make them up.
For big urban districts, it can be slippery work to catch and hold students who are falling off track at a point that derails too many graduations: the transition from...
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