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In-School Ninth-Grade Academies Boosting Student Success

The number of students completing ninth grade and transitioning into 10th – a traditionally difficult jump – has significantly increased in the nation’s capital in the last two years, thanks to a slate of ninth-grade academies operating within the city’s public high schools.

The schools-within-a-school put all incoming freshmen together and coordinate curricula to give students a streamlined experience at the beginning of high school. They’ve been a major priority for D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson as a way to counter the district’s high dropout rates.

New data provided to U.S. News by District of Columbia Public Schools show a significant increase in students matriculating from ninth to 10th grade in seven of the eight schools where the academies exist, including in three schools where the amount of students advancing to the next grade increased by more than 20 percent.