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Summer School: Bridge Programs for 8th Grade Transitions

Summer School: Bridge Programs for 8th Grade Transitions

More students fail 9th grade than any other grade level. A student’s chance of graduating high school on time decreases by 30% for every course that is failed. It is because of these very real statistics that many districts have created bridge programs. A bridge program is designed to help students successfully make the leap from middle to high school. Typically, bridge programs are broken into three areas and time frames centering around the summer between a student’s 8th grade and 9th grade academic years:

  1. Before Summer—Orientation Activities: These activities can start earlier than 8th grade and often include tours of high school campuses and exposure to high school procedures for students and parents.
  2. During Summer—Summer Programs: These are different than traditional summer school courses. Summer bridge programs focus not only on skill gaps but also on study skills, career exploration, and more to help students with the transition to high school.
  3. After School—Interventions: These are safety nets for the duration of the academic year that are built specifically for freshman to help catch them before they fail.

In fact, many states are beginning to implement early warning systems to identify the students who may benefit from a bridge program. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has recognized the importance of ensuring that middle school students receive the supports they need. The PDE has developed the PA Early Warning System (EWS), which uses attendance, behavior, and course-grade data to help schools identify middle school students at risk of dropping out before graduating high school.

Although summer is on the horizon, you don’t have to wait until school’s out to start these types of programs. Check out our blog to explore flexible summer school program options that can provide intervention opportunities for both enrichment and credit recovery. And, if you’re interested in learning more about totally virtual options, check out Edmentum’s EdOptions Academy to enhance learning with over 400 course options.'s picture

Misty Jacobs is an Education Consultant for EdOptions Academy. She spent ten years in the classroom as a secondary English/Language Arts teacher, English Department Chair, and Curriculum and Assessment Writer. Misty earned a B.A. in English from the University of Texas and remains a Texas certified teacher.