Lesson 1: Sophomore - Character Education (Classroom)
This lesson was an initial effort to begin meeting the need identified by the behavioral data on this class. A classroom presentation reaching all sophomores was considered the most effective delivery option.
A pre- and post-survey was given to students using an electronic survey. Perception data showed that this lesson was well received and demonstrated an increase of understanding in the areas of character covered. The outcome data supported the goal related to this lesson; disciplinary incidents decreased by 37% from freshman to sophomore year for this class. We decided to continue this lesson in the future for sophomores and will continue to gather effectiveness data. Implications for the future are discussing expanding character education to more than one lesson and exploring the possible presentation to other grade levels.
Lesson 2: Freshmen - Academic Advising (Classroom)
We know from previous external research and observations as well as school data, that freshmen year is a critical transition period: a strong start is essential for high school success and graduation. Although our initial plan was to focus on the identified freshman receiving Special Education services in support of our grade improvement goal, we determined the lesson would be useful for all freshmen to begin a successful path to graduation. We wanted students to be thinking about possible career interests which could inform course choices and provide intrinsic motivation toward academic success and graduation.
Perception data indicated students did see value and a personal benefit from the information presented and the discussion. The basis for this was the analysis of 200 randomly selected freshmen surveys from general education, special education and honors classes. The results indicated freshmen increased their understanding of graduation requirements, desired courses and possible career choices.
Outcome data was also favorable as our goal was surpassed; 86% of the target group succeeded in passing all of their academic classes. Although we do not attribute this success solely to the lesson, we believe it along with individual counselor-student discussions with our target group on these topics were both notable contributors to their success.
The outcome gave us confidence in the effectiveness of this lesson; however, we found that doing this lesson during the extremely busy academic advising time made it a challenging proposition. We have discussed this and determined that the lesson should continue to be presented but during a different time of the year. This will allow students more time to carefully consider the future courses they will select by discussing options with their parents and teachers as well as their counselor.
Lesson 3: Freshmen - Time Management (Small Group)
We knew from anecdotal data and interactions with freshmen and parents that one of their largest challenges was the ability to manage time. We believed that with our identified group of students receiving special education services it would benefit them the most to address time management before teaching study skills.
A pre-survey was given in the first group lesson and a post-survey was given in the final group lesson. The time management topic did not have its own pre- and post-survey although a question on the survey did address this. Perception data indicated only a slight increase in the understanding of time management. However, there was a high level of understanding of time management in the pre-survey and we were pleased to see despite that a number of students indicated verbally they learned additional strategies and knowledge to effectively manage their time. Based on this, we believe that this lesson was useful in reinforcing time management concepts. It also provided reflection opportunities for students who considered themselves good managers of their time.
In our reflection on the data analysis, a factor we believe contributed to the high level of prior understanding of time management was our targeted group population, students receiving Special Education services. These students were enrolled in the Special Education “Strategies for Success” class in which a teacher helps students organize their academic studies and lessons on effective study habits are presented.
Based on our knowledge of the time management challenge, we hope to expand this lesson to make it available to other segments of our student population experiencing academic difficulties.