School Counseling Core Curriculum Results Report Narrative:
During 2015-2016 the Sope Creek counselors provided 16-17 lessons to each grade level. Included were 10-12 core curriculum lessons related to our school-wide counseling theme of “Choosing Happiness” from which we collected data for our school counseling core curriculum results report. Of the 10-12 lessons in our plan, three are highlighted in Component 8.
These three lessons are reflective of the unit content and goals of increasing students’ perception of happiness and decreasing serious discipline referrals and teacher-mediated disputes. The first and third grade lessons demonstrate an introduction to the “Happiness is a Choice” unit. The 5th grade lesson was conducted later on in the unit and addresses the more specific behaviors of managing rumors and gossip. Perception data specific to the 5th grade Rumors lesson shows a 96% increase in the number of students who can identify 3 types of rumors; a 67% increase in the number of students who know a dangerous rumor should be reported; and a 36% increase in the number of students who can list 2 reasons why students spread rumors.
Because conflict can be an enormous barrier to student success at school and in life, we committed to helping students change their beliefs about happiness as a choice, as well as learn and practice specific problem solving /conflict resolution skills that would lead to happiness and success at home and at school. Knowledge and skills gained from this focused classroom instruction contribute to a risk-free learning environment; the importance of which is reflected strongly in the school and counseling program’s vision and mission.
In evaluating the effectiveness of the core curriculum action plan, we analyzed process, perception, and outcome data.
During the delivery of these 10-12 classroom lessons to classes in grades K-5, 1160 students were affected. Perception data from student pre and post-test surveys created by the counselors indicated a slight positive change in students’ beliefs and knowledge about happiness in grades 1-5. For grades 1-2 there was a decrease (-17%) in happiness at school and with their friendships (-19%). The post data was collected immediately before our Spring Break and may have reflected student and teacher fatigue. Grades 3-5 showed slight positive changes in ability to: choose to be happy (+4%); correctly solve problems with friends (+3%); skills that make them happy (+3%); and their report of happiness at home (+2%). The greatest positive change was evident in student ability to list 4 academic behaviors that lead to school success (+273%). Additionally, these students showed a decrease in their perception of behaving appropriately at school (-7%) and no change in their level of happiness with friendships, again perhaps impacted by the timing of the post survey data collection.
Outcome data revealed a 13% decrease in the number of serious office discipline referrals, which was below our goal of 20%. There was a 39% decrease in the number of teacher-mediated disputes in an average week, which exceeded our goal by 19%.
Our students come to Sope Creek emotionally sound and happy, for the most part. Our pre and posttest levels of happiness were high, ranging from 75-90% of students indicating happiness at school, with their friends, and at home. This may be in part due to our school-wide focus on happiness for the last 3 years. Longitudinal data has shown a significant decrease in the number of serious behavior problems at Sope Creek over this time. In 2013 serious discipline referrals dropped from 84 during the first 15 weeks to 41 the second 15 weeks. This year the number of referrals dropped from 47 to 41, indicating a long term change toward decreased behavior referrals.
Though a small change was shown this year, overall there has been a positive impact on levels of happiness in our school and a decrease in inappropriate behavior. We will continue to assess student level of happiness at the beginning of the school year, and use this data to identify students in need of additional counselor support. Research indicates that students who feel happy and safe at school will experience academic success. In the future, we will continue to deliver curriculum which has shown a positive impact on our students and also look for specific areas where there is a greater potential for change. This might include teaching strategies for managing conflicts on the playground, the bus, and in the cafeteria, locations where most of the discipline referrals occurred this