Throughout the school year, Counselors run small groups covering all 3 domains- Academic, Career and Social/Emotional. The groups are developed based on student need as shown through academic and behavioral data. This along with changes in school climate would prompt the development of additional groups. One example would be the addition of a 6th grade small group focusing on social skills for students having adjustment issues. The data used to develop the group was: teacher recommendations, parent contact logs and watch list information from Elementary Schools.
6th grade students were given a survey during Cougar Camp orientation. Over 40 students self-identified as needing assistance with study skills. Due to this large number, School Counselors presented a study skills/organization lesson over two days. Every 6th grade student was presented the information, the first day through social studies classes and the second day through science classes.
At the end of first quarter, School Counselors looked at the failure report, which lists students with a failing grade in one or more courses. Students receiving a failing grade in one or more academic core courses were identified as the target group for small group intervention.
When looking at Quarter 1 core class failures a total of 75 students failed at least one core class, 37 6th graders, 29 7th graders and 9 8th graders were identified. Of those students identified, 6 6th grade students and 10 7th grade students participated in the small group sessions. An additional 12 students received individual counseling and academic planning and 5 moved. The remaining 42 met with their assigned school counselor and it was determined that the students had the necessary tools for grade improvement, therefore these students were not included in the academic study skills group.
Our outcome data showed 11/16 (69%) of the targeted students passed all core classes on their final report card. Although we did not reach our 80% goal all students showed some improvement. Based on this data, we will continue to have academic small groups. We find many students come to middle school lacking study skills due to the elementary school structure. In our school district elementary school students are not given numerical grades, therefore the grading system is not understood until after the first grading period. Small group counseling provides additional support for those students in transition. Through these small group interactions it is our hope that students will gain a positive attitude toward work and learning.