HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Help is on the way to one of the state’s lowest performing school districts.

A new partnership between Hempstead High School and Johns Hopkins University aims to boost academic achievement and improve graduation rates.

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“We want to see more kids graduate from Hempstead High School ready for college, career and being able to successfully support themselves and their families,” Elmer said.

While the program is for all students, it targets ninth-graders.

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“If we don’t get them help in the ninth grade, the odds of them graduating on time are as low as 25 percent,” Elmer said, adding that by getting students help in the ninth grade graduation rates can soar to 75 percent.

The program offers assistance to students, educators and administrators.

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“Really building up a safe community for students and then focus on building strong relationships between teachers and students, as well as working with teachers to make sure that every classroom has got a great lesson every day,” Elmer said.