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Oakton High School (2017)

Vienna , VA

Academic Achievement
Career Development
College Readiness

Small Group Responsive Services

During the 2015-2016 school year, the Oakton High School Counseling Department developed three small groups that focused on increasing the grades of students with a 2.7 GPA and under, as well as acceptance rates to four-year colleges for Hispanic male students in the class of 2019.



The Ninth Grade Study Skills Group was created in an effort to increase ninth grade students’ grades. Based off first semester grades, the freshman class was identified as having the most at-risk students for being retained with 28% of students on the list belonging to the freshman class. One counselor, Elizabeth Chase-Kang, and a counseling intern, Chloe Thomas, managed the group which included students from two counselors’ caseloads. The counselor who executed the groups recognized a need based off first semester grades as well as parent feedback. She also had prior experience running ninth grade study skill groups. The counseling intern participated to gain more experience and to add insight and new ideas. Fifteen students were selected because either they earned at least two D’s and/or F’s after the first semester or their parents made a request to the counselor group leader. Due to the size of the group, two small groups were created- one with seven girls and one with eight boys.



As a result of a pre-group survey, the counselor and intern designed lessons focused on goal setting, study skills, time management, and a question and answer session with an OHS senior. For future study skills groups, several logistical changes may be needed to improve the execution, such as forming groups earlier in the school year to provide more time for students to demonstrate understanding of the group content and to put the skills into action. The participants indicated that they would have liked a more consistent schedule each week as well as to meet more frequently than four times. Because the group members experienced success by improving one letter grade in at least one class by the end of third quarter, and no group members were retained at the end of the school year, the group should continue next year and expand to include all freshmen who are on the D & F list.



College Partnership Program (CPP), a group that has been in existence at Oakton High School for many years, focused on students, primarily first generation and minority students, enrolling and succeeding in four-year colleges. The group was co-lead by Quesuan Wigfall, counselor, and Jenny Collins, career center specialist, because the former counselor who lead the program retired and both leaders were new to OHS last year and interested in the program. CPP is a Fairfax County Public Schools Program, which means many of the topics and initiatives such as college visits are arranged at the county level. Yet, many of the topics presented were as a result of the perception data. The outcome data illustrates that all seniors who participated enrolled in a form of post-secondary education and this suggests that the group should continue to reach Oakton’s underrepresented student population. One of the group’s goals was to increase applications and enrollment in the program, which was achieved. Enrollment increased from sixteen to twenty-eight members.



The Senior NOVA Group focused on seniors who need assistance with enrolling at Northern Virginia Community College post-graduation. Students were identified by their counselors when they either expressed interest in NOVA or did not apply to a four-year college. The group was managed by Jenny Collins, career center specialist, because she worked closely with both the NOVA admissions rep and NOVA first-year advisor, as well as served as the Counseling Department’s liaison with colleges. Topics chosen for the group were outcome driven: introduce, apply, take placement tests, and schedule classes. Students who completed the group received extra support and guidance through the application and enrollment process in a convenient and encouraging manner, which demystified the process. This group is a valuable resource for Oakton’s student population that is the minority of students who often may be under looked. The group will continue and may need to expand to students who were not admitted to a four-year college.

Group Name: 9th Grade Study Skills Group

Goal: The goal is for students to improve in at least one course from first semester to the end of third quarter.

Target Group: Ninth grade students on the D & F first semester list

Data Used to Identify Students: First semester grades

School Counselor(s): Elizabeth Chase-Kang Chloe Thomas

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): B-LS 3 B-LS 7 B-SS 1

Outline of Group Sessions Delivered: 1. Introduction, Icebreaker Activity, Group Norms, and Goal-setting--identifying one long-term goal and one-short term goal. 2. Study Skills 3. Time Management Strategies 4. Senior Q & A

Process Data (Number of students affected): 15

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): 100% of group members would recommend this group to rising freshman students with 81% of those strongly recommending the group. 100% of the group agreed it was helpful and insightful. 91% of the group indicated they would use strategies discussed in the group. 82% of group members believed the group covered the topics they anticipated covering. Students expressed that they would change two things about the group: 1) a more consistent schedule each week and 2) more than 3 seniors attending the Q & A session.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): 93% of students participating in group were able to raise their grade in at least one course. 100% of students were promoted to tenth grade.

Implications: The transition from middle school to high school in terms of the workload may play into the academic progress of students, which means a stronger collaboration between middle and high schools may be needed. It would be helpful to schedule group sessions to begin earlier in the year in order to deliver the material in a timely manner, avoiding the end of the third quarter when students do not have much time to make up work or make a greater increase in their grades. A more consistent schedule for group sessions as well as an increase in number of sessions could allow for more academic, personal and career development growth in group members. Collaborating with teachers and peer tutors would be beneficial to students.

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