10. Small Group Responsive Services
I offered twelve different types of groups throughout the 2015-2016 school year. A Small Group List (outlining the number of groups, students and sessions) is enclosed in this application. Over the years I have offered all of these groups in one form or another based on need. In the past five years, we have had more referrals on anxiety and worry than any other concern from parents and teachers. The relational aggression groups for fourth and fifth grade girls have decreased in the past couple of years, and we think this is due to the success of our Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.
Most of the groups are developed from students coming to visit with me. Many times students have similar concerns and it works well to invite them to a group. After the appropriate screening and assessments groups are formed. Besides self-referrals, teachers, parents, guardians and administrators refer to the counseling department. Also, a couple of clinical psychologists in the community often refer students to my small counseling groups as well.
The multiple groups that were conducted during the 2015-2016 school year address a broad variety of student needs. A separate small group action plan has been completed on each of these groups with sessions of activities describing the attitude, knowledge and skills delivered. We strongly believe that all of our small responsive groups support our mission and are tied to our goals and ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors.
The “Growth Mindset Group” highlighted in this section was chosen because it was developed to address our program goal # 3 on student achievement. When our data team looked at our growth scores across the grade levels, it was noted that the incoming third grade scored lower than any other grade. Our principal and I talked about adding a growth mindset group to the overall intervention plan for these students. Originally we set a goal to work with the students who were on the bubble and to increase their growth goal by 3 points. Since this group of students did better than expected, we offered the Growth Mindset Group to all of the students who did not meet growth in the third grade, a total of twenty students.
The group lessons were created with a collection of Growth Mindset materials, based on Carol Dweck’s work. All of the lessons were put into a participant workbook, so we could easily refer to all of the materials from one session to the next. Also, it is a great way for students to share with their teachers and parents what they are learning in the group. The one thing I would do differently for future groups is to attach their perception pre/post tests to their booklets, so they could show parents how much they changed their opinions after participating in the group.
This was our first experience of offering this group. The third grade students as a whole jumped from 35.7% Met Growth (Spring of 2015) to 70.1% Met Growth (Spring of 2016). Many students had academic interventions throughout the year, and there may be a variety of reasons students reached their goal. In tracking the outcome data of the growth mindset students, all of the students (except two) reached and surpassed their MAP “Target Growth” goal. In comparison, other students who were not in the group and had made growth in the fall did not reach their Target Growth in the spring.
One of the differences (out of all of the interventions done) was that the counseling department collected perception data. Attitude/Beliefs: By the end of the group experience, students reported being 75% more motivated to do their best in school and feeling 65% better about themselves as a learner. Knowledge/Skills: By the end of the group experience, students reported knowing 100% more about a fixed mindset, growth mindset, changing a fixed mindset to positive growth mindset thinking and language, and how neurons work in the brain.
These results not only inform future counseling decisions, but our principal and staff are very interested in the concept of perception data. Teachers assess and collect achievement data, and the counseling department is introducing them to a new way of looking at other data. We all agree it would be beneficial to offer this group again in the coming year. In the future it is my goal to develop a pre/post test for every group I offer to students. It’s a work in process … but well worth it.