Miller Elementary School (2018)

Warner Robins, GA

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap Results Report

•How was the gap defined through data?

Each year school related data is used to determine areas that need to be addressed to support our school’s plan for improvement. Once our school’s 2015-2016 discipline data was reviewed, it was noted that our discipline referrals for negative school behaviors were on the rise. The data indicated that fifth-grade had the highest number of discipline referrals out of all grade levels. More importantly, 94% of behavior events were from 5th grade boys. Through careful collaboration with administration, advisory council, and teachers we decided it was better to be proactive than reactive. Therefore, at the beginning of the year lessons and interventions were offered to all fifth grade boys in order to start the year on a positive note and decrease the percentage of boys engaging in negative behaviors by 10% from a percentage of 94% in 2015-2016 to 85% in 2016-2017. The following will address what was implemented in order to successfully close the gap for our students.

Fortunately, we were able to exceed our goal by 9%. There was a 19% total reduction in the percentage of boys with behavior events (94% in 2015-2016 to 76% in 2016-2017). This indicated that the lessons and interventions had a positive impact on the boy's behavior.

The activities and interventions will definitely be continued next year in order to continue addressing overall school behavior.

•Why were activities or interventions chosen for the gap group?

The three following interventions were chosen to assist these students in making appropriate behavior choices.

Intervention 1: (Small-Group Counseling) Students received lessons about the concept of “Mindfulness.” Current research suggests that mindfulness practices in school result in reductions in behavior problems, aggression, increased happiness, and the ability to pay attention (Suttie, 2007). Mindfulness also helps students block out distractions (Kerr, et. al, 2011).

This intervention was chosen in order teach these students how to work together as a group but, to also help build mindfulness to promote positive emotions of self-acceptance. Many of our students are at-risk, and exhibit a lot of anger. The goal was to build a better self-concept in these students and lessen the need to act out in inappropriate ways.

Intervention 2: (Ripple Effects) This evidence-based intervention has been proven to change behavior, increase academic success, and strengthen pro-social behavior among children and adolescents. Through the Ripple Effects computer software program, students were provided laptops to work on individual issues with the use of the Ripple Effects program. The program includes information about various topics. Within these topic areas there are several activities for students to complete, such as games, videos, questions, assessments etc.

This intervention was chosen because it involves technology (which students love) and it is peer motivated. Through the use of videos, students were able to watch other kids speak on how to handle a particular issue and how the strategies learned through Ripple Effects proved to be successful for them.

Intervention 3: (2x10) This intervention is a simple preventative measure to help ensure the foundation of a positive relationship between the adult and student. The strategy provided positive attention to students through encouragement, acknowledgement, and recognition of the students’ strengths.

This intervention was chosen because of the relationship building component. Chatting with the students on a daily basis meant the world to them. It gave them the opportunity to be vulnerable, trust, and share the happenings of their lives. As the counselor, it gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about each student and to see what was lying beneath the iceberg. This was highly valuable.

•Explain how the data results will help in the future:

The “Closing the Gap” group was successful according to perception data and outcome data. The students responded positively to being able to address their issues in a small group setting and through the use of technology students were provided with a different type of learning technique to address behaviors. It is imperative that the behavior of these students be monitored and opportunities for skill building be provided on an on-going basis. Relationship building should continue with this group. The need to feel valued and have someone to connect with daily is important to the students’ success in school.

Goal: By June 2017, the percentage of behavior event types committed by fifth grade boys will decrease by 10% from a percentage of 93.7% (94%) in 2015-2016 to 84.6% (85%) in 2016-2017.

Target Group: All fifth grade boys

Data Used to Identify Students: 2015-2016 HARP Behavioral Analysis Data

School Counselor(s): Nikki Williams

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): B-SMS2, B-SS5, B-SS9

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Small-Group Counseling- (Zen Kids Mindfulness) 5 groups of 9 boys. Each group was assigned a day and we met 30 minutes during their lunch time. (Small Group Setting in Counselor's Office)-Ripple Effects Computer Intervention Program Students groups were given the opportunity to come to the counselor's office and work on various behavior topics such as, anger management, conflict resolution, relational aggression, etc. Ripple Effects is designed for the students to choose their own topics rather than the adult. As a school, counselor, I mainly facilitated the activity but did not interfere with their topics of choice. I was available to offer assistance as needed. (Individual Counseling)- 2x10 Behavior Intervention I checked in with students regularly before school to build relationships. The conversations were brief and the subject of conversation was always led by the student.

Process Data (Number of students affected): 45

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (Developed by Kirk Warren Brown) Pre-Test Group Avg.=34 Post Test Group Avg. =50 This was a 16 point increase in the knowledge, skills, and beliefs that our students learned.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): 2015-2016 Behavior Events=94% 2016-2017 Behavior Events=76% The number of behavior events was reduced significantly and the actual goal was exceeded. This indicated that students benefited from the support in which they were provided in order to improve their behavior which resulted in a reduction in behavior events. Behavior events by fifth-grade boys decreased from 94% in 2015-2016 to 76% in 2016-2017. This was a reduction by 19% exceeding our original school goal by 9%.

Implications: The data indicates that the interventions were a success. The reduction of disruptive behaviors improved greatly as result of the interventions, support, and guidance provided. The 2x10 intervention was most impactful and the students enjoyed having moments where they could chat with the counselor. Relationship building had a huge impact on student behavior and this type of intervention should be continued. Students felt valued and supported when given the opportunity to share their life’s events. Moving forward, there needs to be a school wide focus on addressing behavior issues in our boys. The majority of discipline referrals are from our African American boys across all grade levels.