Model Program

Upper Classman Mentoring Program (Freshman Focus)

Milton-Union High School
221 S Jefferson Street
West Milton, OH 45383

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Contact Information:
Ms. Paula L. Shaw

Program Specification:






Limited Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

High School


Grade Level


Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


Freshmen Focus contains two components - Freshmen Orientation Camp and a curriculum that is implemented during the school year. The camp takes place in the week just before the start of school; while the class runs throughout the school year. During the year, student leaders lead the class portion of the program. They work with freshmen teaching them to stay organized and to deal with the overall demands of high school. The Orientation Camp is organized into two separate days. During this time, freshmen are given their schedules and have the opportunity to walk through their schedules so that they can find each of their classrooms. Students also find their lockers and go through the lunch line. At the core of the camp is our student leaders. They lead freshmen through each activity and answer questions to calm their fears. It is also a good time for the student leaders to begin building relationships with the freshmen that they work with throughout the year.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Attendance/Truancy, Behavior Management/Discipline, Bullying/Violence, Career Education, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Virtual Learning, Life Skills Training, Ninth Grade Academy

Starting Date: 2007
Students Served Per Year: 50-250
Last Verified: 2011

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation
  • Misbehavior

Family factors

  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption
  • Low educational expectations
  • Low contact with school

School factors

  • School math achievement
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher expectations

Community factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Youth social attitudes

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self
  • Optimistic


  • Personalized instruction and learning
  • Academic support
  • Instruction on behavior and social skills
  • Supportive school climate
  • Encourage family involvement/community supports
  • Teach self-determination and self-advocacy skills including student/person-centered planning
  • Help students to address problems that interfere with learning

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is less than $25,000 or less than $500 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

School Districts
Service Clubs

School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based

West Milton Rotary, West Milton Council of Churches, Miami County Foundation

Evaluation Information:

Freshmen Focus has changed the atmosphere of the high school to a welcoming, friendly place. It has been successful in decreasing the freshmen retention rate by 4% over a period of three years. The average GPA is up so that none of the freshmen had a failing GPA in the first quarter of the 2009-2010 school year. Camp results indicate that 58% of the freshmen felt camp was helpful in acclimating them to their new environment. End-of-year surveys show that 73% of the freshmen felt that the mentors helped them during their freshman year.

How evaluation data was collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level