Opening Doors


The transition from middle school to freshman year is a rocky one for most students—they’re caught between childhood and young adulthood. But success in 9th grade can be crucial because research shows it’s an academic turning point.

Opening Doors is a pilot project aimed at providing support for 8th grade students to make the transition to high school a little easier.  It’s designed to put kids on more solid footing by helping them set goals and work on the soft skills that can be as important to later success as academic performance.

During class sessions at least twice every month, kids get support to reflect on their talents and interests and identify related careers. They also talk about their hopes for the future, where to find help whenever they’re having difficulties and how important it can be to look for mentors, even when they just need a little help finding their way.

Program Overview

  • Open to 8th graders in Laurel Highlands, McKeesport Area and Woodland Hills school districts
  • Program active since: 2015

Participating School Districts

  • McKeesport Area
  • Laurel Highlands
  • Woodland Hills

Program Point of Contact

Aaron Altemus
Mary Dodaro
Jennifer Sethman