Cardell Orrin, the Memphis director of Stand for Children, was one of six Memphis educators named as a Mosaic Fellow.(

A program designed to improve achievement outcomes for ninth graders in local schools is now being adapted to serve more students as it enters its second year.

Starting this fall, Stand for Children will collaborate with 14 public traditional and charter schools in Memphis and Shelby County to enhance the Freshman on Track program (piloted in two high schools last year) by establishing a formal Freshman Success Network in Memphis.

The network will work to guide improvement in achievement, graduation rates, and post-secondary outcomes for students during the 2018-19 school year.

Participating school leaders are convening at Shelby County Schools’ Board of Education today for the second of a two-day Institute (September 27-28). The focus is on learning best practices, connecting with others in the network and hearing from experts about devoting resources to encourage student success in the first year of high school.

The Freshman Success program was originally launched in Chicago Public Schools and modeled after the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success (NCS). It uses data to assist school teams with tracking and measuring the academic progress of ninth grade students, and to inform the development of interventions to better position students to stay in school and graduate.

Encouraged by outcomes achieved in Chicago schools, Stand for Children worked with NCS in the 2017-218 school year to introduce and implement the Freshman on Track program in Memphis. The program was piloted at Mitchell High School and Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School.

“Significant” first-year academic gains were reported for students at both schools and a reduction in chronic absenteeism at Mitchell High.

For the 2018-19 school year, Shelby County Schools has allocated $520,000 in funding to support Freshman Success programming at eight district schools included in the newly established network.

Dr. Nina Reed, Stand Memphis’ Freshman Success Coach, and Habib Bangura, Stand for Children’s National Freshman Success Director, will work directly with each school to integrate NCS strategies and tools.

“This is a unique collaboration between our public traditional and charter schools and we’re excited and energized by the broad level of interest and support that has been shown for creating the Freshman Success Network in Memphis,” said Cardell Orrin, Memphis director of Stand for Children.

“By coordinating an ongoing, mutual flow of ideas, resources, feedback, and support throughout the network, we anticipate dramatic improvements in ninth-grade achievement and ultimately in graduation outcomes for more students.”

Freshman Success Network in Memphis

• Douglass High School

• Freedom Preparatory Academy

• Hamilton High School

• Manassas High School

• Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School

• Melrose High School

• Memphis Rise Academy

• Mitchell High School

• Power Center Academy High School

• Raleigh-Egypt High School

• Sheffield High School

• Soulsville Charter School

• Trezevant High School

• Westwood High School

(For more information, go to