Educators attempt to make ninth grade more welcoming

09/15/2008 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Just when teens' relationships with their peers and parents are shifting and hormones are flooding their bodies, they historically have been moved from more intimate middle schools into huge, often impersonal high schools. But more districts are trying to change that via small learning communities or separate freshman campuses. "We really wanted to make sure our freshmen have a strong, solid foundation and are able to bond with the school," said Edwin Diaz, a Pasadena, Calif., superintendent. "If they don't connect well in ninth grade, they tend to disappear in 10th."

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