Marco Antonio Firebaugh High School

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Link Crew

Link Crew

Link Crew is not just a one-time event. It is a yearlong transition program.

The Link Crew program provides a structure that guides freshmen toward both academic and social success. Link Crew helps create a safe and supportive school environment where freshmen learn that people at school care about them and their future. Link Crew removes the culture of negativity, hazing and bullying toward freshmen and replaces it with structural support and purposeful connections that make a measurable difference in their success and at your school.

The transition to high school can be a major event in the life of a young person, and yet very few strategies for support exist in most high schools. Numerous studies show that the move to high school is marked by a period of emotional stress and discomfort for adolescents, often times resulting in a decrease in academic achievement and an increasingly difficult social adjustment. It is this combination of factors that can be the impetus to high risk and self-destructive behavior for freshmen. Link Crew eases this challenging transition by offering freshmen a solid foundation to begin their high school experience.

With Link Crew, students help students succeed by using members of the junior and senior class as Link Crew Leaders. These Leaders are extensively trained to be positive role models, motivators and teachers who guide the freshmen to discover what it takes to be successful in high school.

The Link Crew program is a yearlong orientation and transition program that helps gear up your freshmen for high school success and creates positive whole school culture and climate change

Why Does High School Transition Matter?

“Because freshmen are the largest at risk population at your school.”

  • More students fail 9th grade than any other grade. (National High School Center, 2007)
  • Promotion rates between 9th and 10th grade are significantly lower than rates between all other grades (Wheelock & Miao, 2005).
  • Most high school dropouts fail at least 25% of their ninth grade courses, while 8% of high school completers experienced the same difficulty (Letgers & Kerr, 2001)
  • Low attendance during the first 30 days of the 9th grade year is a stronger indicator that a student will drop out than any other 8th grade predictor, including test scores, other academic achievement, and age (Jerald, 2006)

What would happen if older students at your school were given the resources, the skill and the permission to change this…AND the structure to do it?

Providing a structure to connect upperclassmen to underclassmen that includes effective training and the necessary support to make the relationship meaningful, allows students to focus on school, rather than avoiding bullies and wondering how or if they’re going to fit in.

To help freshmen succeed, we need to help them transition.

In schools in which transition programs are fully operational, researchers saw a dropout rate of 8%, while schools without transition programs averaged 24% (Reents, 2002).

Link Crew’s main goal is to successfully transition freshmen by addressing the three fundamental transition needs that every student has: Safety, Information and Connection.

Safety

In many high schools, the focus is on keeping students safe by keeping bad things from entering the school environment. As a result, money and resources are invested in security to seal off the campus.

Those inside our high schools, however, know that the far greater issue for students is keeping them safe from the negative forces within the school walls and halls. Bullying, rumors, isolation, and harassment are far more likely to pose safety risks on the average campus than external violence.

Link Crew allows students to have a trusted source of safety from their first moments on their school campus.

Information

To make a successful transition, we need the what, where, how, and when to aid us on our journey. In schools, this translates into students needing to know what classes they have to take, where those classes are, what rules are important, what opportunities are available, and where they have to be when.

For most schools, the challenge comes in getting this information to the students in an accurate and timely manner. Many schools gather large groups of new students and parents together and talk at them. They also post the information everywhere they think parents or students might look: newsletters, websites, and bulletin boards.

Link Crew focuses the information dissemination process through the student to student connection both one on one and in small groups. This makes it far more likely that critical information is received and remembered.

Connection

Even when students feel safe and informed, they may not successfully transition into a new school if they do not develop a sense of connection. In every transition in our lives we need to feel a sense of connection to the new situation. This is true whether we are connecting to a new job, a new child, or a new reality in our own lives.

The more connected students are to their new school, the better they will do in all the measures that are important in tracking their success: grades, test scores, attendance, and discipline. All these measures are positively affected when students are connected.

Schools try to promote this crucial component of transition by offering co-curricular activities, athletics, and special events in the hopes that kids will connect. Unlike the two other components to a successful transition, this one is left to chance. Even the most robust co-curricular programs only involve a percentage of the students.

Link Crew creates a structure that connects every incoming freshman with a caring upperclassman from their first day through the end of their freshman year.