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Riverside Polytechnic High School (2017)

Riverside, CA

Academic Achievement
Behavioral Issues
Bullying
Character Education
College Readiness
Conflict Resolution
Dropout Prevention
Postsecondary Preparation
Transitions
Violence Prevention

Closing the Gap

In alignment with the district’s objective towards increasing the graduation, retention, and college entrance requirement completion rate of the African American student population within the Riverside Unified School District and Riverside Poly High School, the Heritage Program was developed at the district level and is implemented at each site. Students and parents within this program are provided additional support by a site mentor and a school counselor in order to complete the required courses needed to enroll in a four year California university known as the A-G Courses. At Riverside Poly High School, the support is provided by a school counselor and a site mentor. In 2013-2014, only 20% of African American students were meeting the requirements for entrance into a four year California university/college. After implementing Heritage during the 2014-2015 school year, that percentage grew to 48%, which is double the previous year. However, since the data shows that still less than 50% of African American students are completing the courses needed for entrance into a California university, it was decided as a team that Heritage would be our “closing the gap” focus group. Additionally, Heritage is currently serving tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students. Since it was not currently servicing ninth grade, the Poly counseling team decided it was crucial to start students early and provide proactive intervention for meeting graduation and college requirements. Counselors did not want to wait to intervene until after freshmen year. By intervening with them at the beginning of their high school career, we can focus on being proactive and not reactive; thus, our closing the gap group focused on freshmen African American males and females.

There were a total of 60 African American students in ninth grade during the 2015-2016 school year. All students were invited to participate in small group academic counseling. Unfortunately, only twenty six students returned the small group counseling participation consent form, even after numerous attempts and conferences with parents. Counseling services are often frowned upon within minority groups, and therefore, since it was the first year offered, participation was low. However results were high with the students who participated. Of the twenty six students, 21 (80.7%) were on track and meeting the college requirements (passing all classes with a “C” or better) after the completion of group. The remaining five students attended summer school to make up any “D” or “F” courses, and out of those five, three successfully completed their summer school courses. This means that at the end of their freshmen year, 24 or 92.3% of ninth grade African American students were on track to meet the requirements/courses needed for entrance unto a university as a result of academic group counseling. Since 92.3% of students were successful after completing group, a small group for Heritage ninth graders will be offered again next school year.

African American students who meet the college entrance requirements are able to graduate under the Heritage Program Designation and receive a unique cultural sash to wear at their graduation. Furthermore, we have discussed as a team and with the Heritage Coordinator our efforts at Poly and we have suggested to the district that more information on academic group counseling should be shared. As a result, a Heritage Freshmen Night will be implemented next school year (2016-2017). Counselors will be sharing results of the Group at Poly and inviting parents and students to participate in these services.

Goal: Goal 2: By June 6th, 2016, increase by 5% the number of graduates that meet the A-G college entrance requirements from 48% to 53%.

Target Group: 9th Grade African American Males & Females

Data Used to Identify Students: Ethnicity (African American) and Grade level (9th Grade)

School Counselor(s): Yuridia Nava & Valerie Titus

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Academic Domain Category 1 Mindset Standards 2- Self Confidence in the ability to succeed 3. Sense of belonging in the school environment, and 6 Positive Attitude towards school and learning. Category 2: Behavior Standards 3. Use time management, organizational, and student skills, 4) Apply self-motivation and self-direction to learning. 7. Identify long and short term academic and career goals

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Academic Group Counseling (meeting each week for 40 minutes) Session 1- Group Rules/Norms Session 2- Getting to know you Session 3- African American History Session 4- Know your history Session 5- Careers Session 6- Goal Setting Session 7- Why Education Matters Session 8- Guest Speaker Session 9- My College Plan Session 10- Wrap Up/Closing

Process Data (Number of students affected): 50

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): 1) I feel comfortable asking for help? 85% of students reported NO prior to group, after group 96% of students reporting Yes, they feel comfortable asking for help. 2) I have someone I can go to on campus? 97% of students reported NO prior to group, after group 99% of students reporting Yes, they now have someone they can go to on campus. 3) My heritage is valued at Poly? 99% of students reported NO prior to group, after group 100% of students reporting Yes, they now feel their heritage is valued. 4) I feel I can succeed at Poly? 46% of students reported NO prior to group, after group 89% of students reporting Yes, they now feel they can succeed

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Prior to Group Counseling, grades from quarter 1 progress were analyzed to determine that 70% of African American (AA) freshmen students were failing one or more courses. All sixty AA freshmen students were invited to participate. Twenty six returned the permission slip and participated in small group counseling facilitated by two counselors. After group counseling activities 21 out of 26 (80.7%) students were on track for graduation (passing all classes with a C or better) and meeting the college requirements (passing all classes with a “C” or better) after the completion of group. Five students attended summer school to make up any “D” or “F” courses, and out of those five, three successfully completed their summer school courses. Therefore, after freshmen year grades, which include summer school were analyzed, 24 of 26 (92.3%) of ninth grade African American students were on track to meet the requirements/courses needed for entrance unto a university and graduation as a result of academic group counseling.

Implications: There were a total of 50 African American students in ninth grade during the 2015-2016 school year. All students were invited to participate in small group Academic counseling. Unfortunately, only twenty six students returned the small group counseling participation consent form, even after numerous attempts and conferences with parents. Counseling services are often frowned upon within minority groups and therefore since it was the first year offered, participation was low.

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