Millbrook High School (2019)

Raleigh , NC

Closing the Gap

REVISED SECTION: One of the goals of Wake County Schools is to increase the on-time graduation rate of all students. Graduation data from 2016-17 identified two subgroups, Latinx and African American males, represented a disproportionate percentage of our retained students. The retention rates for these groups were 26.5% for Latinx and 17% for African American students. Previous interventions focused on African American males but we extended our work to Latinx students based on the data. Latinx students increased over the last several years as well (349 students in 2016 to 420 in 2018). Counselors concluded interventions were needed for 11th and 12th grade students and their families. A review of programs showed that we also had not engaged parents due to the language barrier with Latinx parents.

During the 2017-18, we increased outreach efforts to parents by working with a new school social worker added to our department. The school social worker was hired specifically to work with our Latinx population and be a liaison between the school and Latinx families. We also worked with the Graduate’ program provided through Communities in Schools. The program works with our school counselors to identify Latinx students that are at risk of failure or dropping out. This program provides after school tutoring and mentoring as well as other supports.

The first activity we implemented to close the gap for our Latinx students was the Futures Summit. This event involved all of our student services counselors, the school social worker, Graduate’ personnel as well as outside speakers and volunteers. The target audience was current 11th and 12th grade Latinx students. There were 76 total students who participated. At the beginning of the day, students were administered a perception survey that included questions about their family’s views on education. Students were administered the same survey at the end of the event. Data garnered from this survey helped our team develop other interventions throughout the year (i.e. translate documents into Spanish, Bilingual parent nights and help completing college admissions materials). Several parents attended the program and were also given a parent survey. While the number of parents was limited we used the information gathered to guide outreach efforts targeted towards Latinx families.

Anecdotal evidence from past years indicated that many Latinx families had difficulty being connected to their students’ educational progress due to language barriers. Using this evidence and data garnered from the parent survey at Futures Summit we worked with the school social worker and intervention coordinator to develop sessions to help connect Latinx parents to the school and get them more involved in their child’s education. These events were called, “Family Academy.” The first session invited fifty families with ten attending (a total of twenty-five participants). One of the main goals of this session was to familiarize parents with resources to help them keep track of their child’s school progress. The representatives worked with families to set up online accounts so they could track their students grades and attendance. The second session invited sixty-five families with twelve attending (thirty total participants). During this session parents attended mini conferences to share an update on their students’ progress for the school year. A presenter discussed ways to have deeper conversations with students about their success in school. 100% of parents responding to a post survey indicated that these sessions were helpful and 75% indicated that they gained access to their students online grades and attendance. Since this information was gathered by an outside agency we do not have the raw data to present, just the totals they provided to us.

End of year data showed that 70 of 71 identified Latinx students graduated as compared to only 50 of 64 students the previous year. While we feel that the Futures Summit event was a great success we identified several improvements for next year. We will make the sessions more interactive by conducting mock interviews, expand to include 10th grade students and we will include a presenter evaluation. These changes will help us engage more student earlier and expand our reach with students earlier to achieve greater impact on graduation rates. Finally, we expect to begin collecting data on our Latinx students earlier in the year by targeting first generation students. As counselors meet with seniors at the beginning of the school year we will identify first generation students and will target them for activities such as FAFSA night and college application and residency determination work sessions during the fall semester.

Goal: By June 2018, Student Services will increase the graduation rate by 2.2 % from 91.8% to 94%. (Specific emphasis on increasing the graduation rate of Latinx students.)

Target Group: There are 71 Latinx students enrolled in the senior class

Data Used to Identify Students: Demographic data from school records

School Counselor(s): All Counselors

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): M2, B-LS3, B-SMS6, B-LS8, M5, B-SS3, B-LS7, B-LS10

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Graduate’ program -- After-school program for Latinx youth Invited translators to parent/teacher conference nights and “Finish the FAFSA” night to assist parents and students with academic achievement and filling out financial aid forms. Futures Summit -- A day long event held to expose Latinx youth to opportunities after high school to include 2 and 4 year colleges and universities and the military. Hispanic Parent Family Academy -- Coordinated by the school social worker to equip families with tools and resources for students to use to be successful in school

Process Data (Number of students affected): 71

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Needs survey administered day of the event. Survey administered in both English and Spanish to determine tasks that still need to be completed and need assistance prior to senior year and graduation. The survey also looked at personal and social emotional factors which might interfere with success.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Improved Attendance Graduation Competion Scholarship/FAFSA completion Knowledge of College Access Process

Implications: In reviewing the results of the survey administered to the attendees, it indicated that Latinx students thrive in an educational environment where they feel safe and valued and have at least one trusted adult that they can come to for information. The survey also showed that the family is a powerful resource and our having programs in English and Spanish helps to equip the parents and students to work together for academic and social emotional growth and success. The Family Academy, the support of Graduate' and having the Futures Summit will be continued and refined to allow more Latinx students exposure to post secondary options that are obtainable which would encourage them to stay in school until graduation armed with options for postsecondary opportunities.