Small Group Narrative
At the high school level we spend most of our time with individual student planning, so when determining what small groups are held, we typically will hold them as an intervention to address our program goals and chosen ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors. Data revealed that excessive absences was a significant problem for our Latino students, retention was a significant problem for our black male students, and dropping out was a significant problem for our English Language Learners (compared to percentages of those students with the total student body). After reviewing data and establishing our program goals, all counselors sat down together during a department meeting at the beginning of the school year to determine which counselors were interested in addressing each program goal. Counselors chose the goals in which they were most passionate, and natural partnerships formed based on these passions. We have six full time counselors in our department, and each counselor was paired with another to determine the best intervention methods. Each pair discussed the methods/interventions they believed were best to address their assigned program goal. The Moving Forward Group was selected as the exemplary group because it was the first intervention launched and the group having the most sessions. Counselors believed this group would yield the greatest results as more time could be devoted to address the small group intervention.
The Moving Forward Group led by Dr. Reid and Mr. Walker was developed to address the disproportional number of black males being retained as compared to the total percentage of black males in the student body (our second program goal). Data was pulled from a district data system, and a specific list of students was generated who met the criteria of not earning enough credits to be promoted the previous school year. Out of 51 students, nine attended all sessions (see Moving Forward Analysis for more details). There were a total of 13 sessions; topics were selected after reviewing the initial group survey. On this survey, students disclosed what they believed were the contributing factors to their retention the previous year. At the conclusion of the intervention, 100% students who participated were promoted to the next grade level; 6 of 9 students showed improvement in academic achievement; 3 of 9 showed no improvement in academic achievement. The results of this group demonstrate that, in considering future group interventions, counselors should consider greater parental involvement, and a greater intensity of support through additional avenues (eg. greater teacher/counselor collaboration and individual counseling).
The Rise Up Group led by Dr. Days-Dee and Ms. LaManque was developed to address the disproportionate number of Latino students who had excessive absences as compared to the total percentage of Latino students represented in the student body (our first program goal). Data was pulled from school attendance reports. Latino students who were absent greater than five days during the first semester were targeted to receive the intervention. Students attended six group sessions, including topics such as vision boards, goal-setting, student engagement and college/career resources. Students who showed improvement during the intervention were invited to a special reward assembly where they received special certificates. Six out of eleven (54.5%) students met the goal of having three absences or less by the end of the intervention. Ten out of eleven students (91%) had five or fewer unexcused absences. Seven out of eleven students (64%) had five or fewer excused or unexcused absences. With future groups, as the group interventions were successful in improving students’ attendance, a repeat of the group and holding it earlier could have greater results throughout the entire school year.
The Improvement Group led by Ms. Wilkinson and Mrs. Salo was developed to address the disproportionate number of English Language Learner (ELL) students who drop out as compared to the total number of ELL students in the student body (our third program goal). Students were selected based on data from our district’s ABC report which indicates students who are at-risk due to attendance, behavior, and course performance. Eight students were selected and six participated in five small group sessions covering topics such as organization, test-taking skills and appropriate behavior. At the conclusion of the intervention, 100% demonstrated an increase in academic achievement, three demonstrated improvement in attendance, and three demonstrated a decrease in behavioral issues. The results of this group demonstrate that, when considering future group interventions, counselors should consider providing enough sessions to cover all material at a slower pace in effort to have a greater overall improvement.