A Review of a High School Transition Mentor Program for Ninth-Grade Students and Its Impact on School Connectedness and Graduation

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Local, state and national data show that graduation rates for African Americans lagbehind White students. This problem has existed for decades, and African American students may not have the proper support to succeed. Further, research has shown that bonding or school connectedness can lead to better graduation outcomes. One approach that may help to alleviate this problem is to provide a transition mentor program for ninth graders to encourage school connection and bonding.

This study aimed to examine an existing transition mentor program in one high school todetermine how it promotes school connectedness. Specifically, this study’s intention was to review key indicators of school bonding shown to influence the retention of African American high school students. The five areas are school involvement, academic motivation, school attachment, teacher support, and peer relations.

The study was informed by the research of Chung-do et al. (2015) that measured fivefactors of school bonding and was conducted in collaboration with the high school administration and program lead teacher. The survey was administered by school staff to 367 ninth-grade students, and results were obtained from 88% of the students. Analyses of survey results suggested that the transition mentor program was viewed positively by the students, specifically in areas of peer relations and teacher support. Further, the survey has the potential, with further exploration, to provide a useful tool for evaluating and monitoring the transition mentoring program in the current and future high school settings.