Why Does Transition Matter?

  • The anxiety, uncertainty and new social pressures 6th and 9th graders face during this time of transition, makes them the largest at-risk population at your school.
  • 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.
  • Middle School students who consistently miss school have lower grades or fall a grade level behind and are statistically more likely to drop out of high school or, even worse, not make it to high school at all.

OnBoard!'s main goal is to successfully transition 6th and 9th grade students by addressing the three fundamental transition needs that every student has, regardless of whether the school setting is in a physical building or in a virtual classroom:


  • School focus on keeping students safe more often puts the emphasis on stopping negative forces from entering the school environment. As a result, money and resources are invested in security to seal off the campus. That kind of security has less of a role in distance learning.
  • With remote learning, the far greater issue for student safety is the potential negative forces that might emerge within the virtual school community. Bullying, rumors, isolation, loneliness, and harassment that are prevalent in a physical building could potentially be even more present in a remote learning situation.
  • OnBoard! gives students a trusted older mentor to go to and to talk and work with, thus, providing a source of safety from the very beginning of their first day at school.


  • To make a successful transition, students need to get accurate information in a timely manner from a trusted source.
  • Rather than posting important information in newsletters or websites, which often relies on parents to pass on to the new students, OnBoard! 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. OnBoard! Mentors are there to help make sure all the 6th and 9th graders have the information they need because without face-to-face contact at a physical school, your new students may feel lost.


  • Statistically, 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: social integration, grades, test scores, attendance, and discipline.
  • When attending school in a physical building, student connections could be easily created through interaction in the physical classroom setting, or though sports and other extra-curricular activities.
  • With distance learning and the limited opportunities for activities and events, structural and intentional student connection has never been more important.
  • The OnBoard! structure provides intentional connection that ensures every incoming 6th and 9th grader has a caring Mentor from their first day through the end of their school year.