Based on results of our 2017-2018 student, teacher and parent beginning of year needs assessment, as well as data from the previous year’s Campus Improvement Plan, students were chosen to participate in small group counseling lessons targeting improving absences, improving academic achievement and increasing access to dual credit courses. The following group topics (1) decreasing excessive absences, (2) empowering students with a growth mindset and skills as related to academic achievement, and (3) increasing Dual Credit enrollment, supported our two main Counseling Program goals of reducing excessive absences and improving graduation rates.
Based on our 2 goals, we developed our small groups using the Dallas ISD Scholars Program Goal Setting Tools and the Positivity Project. The curriculum materials used help us align these ASCA’s mindset and behaviors: M 2, M 4, B-LS 8, B-SMS 5, B-SMS 7, B-SMS 10, B-SS 3, B-SS 7
After reviewing the needs assessments with administrators, teachers and the School Counseling Advisory Committee (SCAC), we developed six small counseling groups that would target the above three key areas of improvement for following reasons: (A) To focus on improving 12th grade attendance, as to avoid gaps in their learning that could jeopardize a timely graduation. (B): Improve academic achievement helps students stay positive and focus on “reaching higher” academically, for our 12th graders and B-TECH (Business Technical Early College High School) would help our students improve their readiness for college and career as well as be more competitive for college scholarships, and (C) Empowering our students with a clearer understanding of the benefits of and a pathway to access Dual Credit Courses will increase our students’ desire to enroll and be accepted into Dual Credit classes.
Our outcome and perception data from all six small group counseling lessons revealed that students improved in their attendance, their self-efficacy in terms of improving academically and their enrollment in dual credit classes.
Our perception data on the lessons related to improving attendance (M4, B-SMS 5,6,7,10) showed that the majority of our students were able to answer “Yes” on their post-test survey which asked students: Do you think attendance is important to your graduation plan? And Do you know how many days you can miss before you lose credit? Since less students lost credit due to excessive absences, our students’ graduation rates improved.
The post test on our perception data on improving students’ academic achievement by improving their positive attitude and sense of self efficacy (M4, B-SMS 6,7,10 and LS-3, 7, B-SS 3, B-SS 7) revealed that the majority of our students were able to answer “Yes” to the following questions: Am I organized? Do I manage time? And Do I ask for help when I need it? Our outcome data showed that after this lesson, there was an increase in the number of students who were able to apply their organizational and time management skills towards improving their academic performance, as reflected in the projected graduation report.
The post test on our perception data on increasing Dual Credit enrollment (M4, B-LS 8) revealed all 26 students answered “Yes” to the questions: Do you know what a dual credit course is (Pre-survey=2)? and Do you know what dual credit courses are offered at Molina (pre-survey =1)? Our outcome data showed that after this lesson, there was a slight increase in the number of 9th and 10th graders enrolled for the spring 2018 semester, as reflected in the Mountain View College dual credit enrollment roster.
According to our outcome data, gains were made in all three areas and so there would be value in our counseling department continuing to build on our focused small group lessons on attendance, academic achievement (social emotional learning) and dual credit.
All of these small group lessons could have been more effective if the small counseling groups could have met longer and with more frequency to allow closer monitoring of students’ progress. The dual credit lessons, especially, could have been more effective if lessons were delivered earlier in the fall semester to provide students more time to learn about and prepare for TSI (Texas Success Initiative) and other dual credit course eligibility requirements. In the future, Molina counselors will more heavily target the earlier grades (freshman and sophomores) and continue to work with counselors in our feeder pattern to help more middle school students and incoming 9th graders receive additional time to gain the skills and knowledge needed to maximize their academic success and self-efficacy skills at the high school level.