Krystal Payne on the 'Make Me Care About' Podcast: Why Ninth Grade Matters Most

(May 17, 2023)—In a recent episode of the Gates Foundation's "Make Me Care About" podcast, Krystal Payne, Co-Executive Director at the UChicago Network for College Success (NCS), sheds light on the pivotal role ninth grade plays in shaping a student's educational and career trajectory. With over 25 years of experience in education, Payne emphasizes that success in ninth grade is the most influential indicator of a student's future academic achievements.
During the episode, Payne engages in a conversation with Jen Hatmaker, discussing the profound impact of ninth grade on high school success, college attainment, and career prospects in the United States. Recognizing the significance of early intervention and quality K-12 education, Payne stresses the importance of investing resources in supporting students during this critical transition year.
Payne highlights the value of dedicated ninth-grade teacher teams, comprehensive student data analysis, and robust social and emotional support systems. By understanding students' individual stories and meeting them where they are, educators can provide tailored interventions to keep students on track and ensure their success.
By recognizing the power of ninth grade and implementing evidence-based practices, educators and stakeholders can make a substantial impact on students' educational journeys, setting them on a path toward long-term success in both postsecondary education and future careers.
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