Starting high school can be tough. Not everyone’s ready to make the jump from 8th to 9th grade. But a program in the Denver Public Schools is designed to ease the transition. Thousands of incoming freshmen took part in “9th Grade Academies” just before school started this week. At Abraham Lincoln High School, in southwest Denver, this intensive orientation seems to be working. That’s according to principal Antonio Esquibel. He says five years ago, when the academy started at his school, about 65 percent of freshmen were on track to graduate. Today, that figure is much higher.