That’s right – YOU can’t meet the needs of your freshmen or transition them into high school; however, the needs of freshmen can be met and freshmen can be transitioned into high school.
The key word in those sentences above was YOU. In this case, the word YOU was being used in its singular form, and in a singular sense, no individual teacher can meet the needs of freshmen. The Freshman Problem is too big of a problem in today’s schools for an individual to tackle and conquer. If this weren’t the case then the problem wouldn’t exist as it does.
Let’s think about it for a moment: Can a great teacher solve the Freshman Problem? In schools all over the country, freshmen have the highest rates of truancy, discipline, failure, and retention. However, in schools all over the country there are great teachers teaching freshmen. In schools all over the country, the Freshman Problem stands as the number one hurdle for schools as they try to meet the graduation rates and other requirements of NCLB. However, in schools all over the country there are great teachers teaching freshmen.
So how can it be that we have so many great teachers and yet the problem of the ninth grade still persists? The reason is because it takes more than a great teacher to meet the needs of freshmen and to transition them into high school. The reason is because it takes a TEAM OF TEACHERS.
Imagine the best thing that YOU do in the classroom – your best strategy, procedure, or practice. Imagine now that 3 other teachers are also using that strategy, procedure, or practice in the same way that you are. Just think about how much more effective YOU would now become. With four teachers (or more) teamed together and standardizing their expectations and best practices those expectations and practices become more effective by the Power of Four (or more). Now imagine that each of those other teachers on the team has great practices that are also shared. Suddenly our Freshman Problem is met head on not by individual great teachers but by a unified team that is exponentially more powerful than the sum of its parts.
If YOU could solve the Freshman Problem then it would already be solved. The schools that are meeting the needs of freshmen and transitioning them are the ones who are realizing that WE are more effective than YOU. They are the schools that are making solving their number one problem – the Freshman Problem – their number one priority. They are the schools that are utilizing the Power of Four (or more) to empower their teachers and to make YOU more than YOU could ever be on your own.