At the conclusion of the first trimester, data was analyzed to identify students with three or more office referrals. Seven students were identified as having three or more office referrals. Four of the students from the report were third grade students; therefore, the targeted group for small group counseling focused on third grade students with three or more office referrals. All other students were seen individually by the school counselors or placed into a different small group intervention. Once the seven students were identified, anecdotal evidence discovered through conversations with their teachers and discussions with the students resulted in identification of skill deficits in attending skills, social skills, and meta-cognition skills. The Ready to Learn (RTL) curriculum from the Student Success Skills program was then chosen as the curriculum for the small group intervention to meet the identified needs. RTL is an evidence-based program designed to enhance students’ learning and social skills that are vital in the classroom setting. Students participating in the curriculum increase their attending skills, listening skills, social skills, and meta-cognitive skills, which are modeled through the characters from the story.
The job roles of the two school counselors at Southern Elementary vary slightly due to Sherry having additional clerical and administrative duties. As the more senior school counselors, she graciously volunteers to take on some of these duties, such as new student enrollment, to free up the second school counselor, Johora, to deliver school counseling interventions at the Tier Two and Tier Three levels. As a result, Johora consulted with teachers of the students and talked with the students’ themselves to create a targeted intervention to help meet the needs of students experiencing a high level of office referrals. This group was directly tied to school counseling goal three: Students identified as having 3 or more office referrals (not receiving IEP’s) at the end of first trimester will receive Tier 2 or Tier 3 School Counseling Interventions in order to decrease office referrals by 50% in the third trimester compared to their first trimester.
The group intervention was comprehensive in scope, developmentally appropriate, and fulfilled ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors while helping students’ master the learning objectives. For example, the RTL curriculum lessons delivers Mindsets and Behaviors such as increasing students’ self-confidence, their positive attitude towards learning, their self-discipline and self-control, their listening skills, and their ability to create positive and supportive relationships with others (see Mindsets and Behaviors on the lesson plans as well as the pre-post assessment results).
Eight third grade students participated in small groups for thirty minutes, once a week, for eight weeks. Four of the group members were identified as having three or more office referrals by January 2016. The other half of students were referred by their teachers to work on self-management skills. The perceptual and outcome data suggests that the RTL small group made an impact on student’s behavior referrals and their perception.
The perceptual data from both the pre and post assessment indicates that there is an improvement on how students and teachers perceive themselves in the classroom and how teachers perceive their behavior. However, Teacher B reported little to no change, which is reflected in the outcome data (increase in office referrals). The outcome data shows that the behavior referrals from the first group decreased significantly (75% and 100%) compared to the second group (increased by 9%). Classroom variables and the timing of the intervention both seemed to impact the outcomes.
Based on both data reports, several variables seemed to affect the effectiveness of the small group intervention. For instance, classroom variables may have impacted the outcomes since Group A was drawn entirely from one classroom while Group B was drawn entirely from a different classroom. This not only affects the teacher’s perception of student improvement, but also the students’ behavior. With this in mind, group members will be selected from different classrooms in the same grade level and combined with other students who are positive role models. This may serve to minimize the impact of certain variables unique to each classroom. The school counselors will implement all groups in the first trimester next year, rather than across multiple trimesters. The school counselor will also work with both teachers to provide support to reinforcement skills within the classroom and will work with both teachers to deliver additional classroom guidance to support positive classroom culture.