Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Jill Hutcheson

Second Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathon White


Ninth grade is critical because students either gain the maturity and academic skills to succeed in high school or fail and eventually drop-out (Hardy, 2006). With a new school environment comes anxiety as new social, academic, and behavioral responsibilities arise. Incoming freshmen at the High School of Study experience greater social freedoms and accountabilities, difficult academic requirements that leave no room for failure, and more stringent discipline policies. Administrators at the High School of Study recognized these challenges and designed a program to help their freshmen make a successful transition into high school. In 2006, the High School of Study implemented a one-day, voluntary transition program. The three components of the program included orientation to procedures, academic requirements, and general rules of conduct. The purpose of this collaborative study was to determine if the implementation of the program had a positive effect on overall student preparedness, academic achievement, and minor disciplinary infractions. Specifically, the research questions addressed were 1. Does a one-day, voluntary transition program meet the needs of incoming freshmen, ultimately raising their overall preparedness as they enter their new high school environment? 2. Will the number of ninth grade semester failing grades decrease in the freshman classes that were offered the one-day, voluntary transition program? 3. Will the number of ninth grade minor disciplinary infractions decrease in the freshman classes that were offered the one-day, voluntary transition program? The data gathered from this study were used to determine the program’s effectiveness. Results indicated that the program improved freshman preparedness and orientation based on survey results; however, it had no statistically significant effect on academic success and/or disciplinary incidents. Based on the results, recommendations were made to reexamine the current goals, mandate attendance for the current program, evaluate a more comprehensive program, initiate early interventions for identified at-risk students, and develop a study skills curriculum for all freshmen. Results of this study may assist school administrators as they develop new or continue to make adjustments to current transition programs to better prepare incoming freshmen to be comfortable and successful in their new school environments.


Copyright 2009