DEF's StrongStart program helps students transition successfully from middle school to high school, empowering them with skills and tools for self-efficacy in decision-making.
Held in the summer just before the start of 9th grade, this active, 5-day camp-like experience focuses on building community connections, self-awareness, and leadership through Decision Skills training.
- Freshmen establish a strong and more confident foundation for high school.
- Students learn self-efficacy and self-moderated behavior
- Students are encouraged to engage in school academic and social activities
- Students learn fundamental life skills to take beyond high school
- Students learn processes to handle their new empowerment in new small, medium, and large responsibilities
- Student chances for success are improved, demonstrated by a statistically significant rise in GPA and credits completed
- Students add depth to college and career readiness with Decision Skills.
- Rising seniors have an opportunity to act as leaders to their younger peers.
Evidence of success:
Our StrongStart program evaluations show students have fun, feel better prepared for high school, and recommend the program to other freshmen.
Preliminary analysis of outcomes indicates StrongStart may increase:
- GPA on the order of 0.3 (on a 4.0 scale)
- Total freshman credits by 0.4 (0.5 is a semester class)
What schools have found:
- Students like the program.
- Teachers like the program.
- Data indicates that program participants achieved increases in both GPA and completed course credits.
- 9th grade year can set the path for a student's high school experience and the program helps create a successful path.
How it works:
- We train teachers in our content and how to deliver the program.
- We provide all program curriculum and materials.
- We provide best practices for recruiting students.
- We provide ongoing support.