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What is 9th Gear?

In school-based settings, 9th Gear offers classroom groups lasting between 6-10 weeks. JPA clinicians work closely with 8th grade teachers by facilitating activities and discussions on challenges and issues the students identify as important and having significant impact on their lives, relationships, and success in school. Groups build on safety, acceptance and community already established in the classroom and assist in establishing a stronger sense of respect.

9th Gear topics offer opportunities for self-reflection, growth and connection within the classroom. There is also potential for some risk if a classroom or student is unable to manage the conversation. Because of this, JPA looks to collaborate and partner with classroom teachers and staff to best determine the level of maturity and safety within each classroom. Groups and topics are designed so they can be adapted to different levels of need. JPA will also work with school staff to understand school protocol and resources in the case that a student requires additional follow-up support. 

About 9th Gear

While the classroom group topics respond to the input of the teacher and needs of the students, JPA has developed a basic guide for the program:

Week 1:  Intro: How do we talk about the tricky stuff? 

Weeks 2 & 3: Cultural Identity: Who am I to me vs who am I to you? 

Week 4 & 5: The Role of Relationships: How relationships help us, challenge us, and shape us. 

Weeks 5 & 6: Risk Taking and Thrill Seeking: Why we like it, why we want it, what can happen? 

Weeks 7 & 8: Realities of Community Challenges and their Impact 

Weeks 9 & 10: Vision for the Future ​​


JPA’s model includes close collaboration with teachers. During the classroom groups, JPA therapists model how to engage students in topics that provoke powerful emotions and how to approach sensitive topics respectful of the group dynamic. Teachers have the opportunity to receive feedback in real time from the JPA therapist who provides a supportive and caring presence. Over time, we expect teachers will incorporate these techniques and strategies so they can continue with the 9th Gear program – or some version of it - on their own. 

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