Fair Street Elementary School (2017)

Gainesville, GA

Anger Management
Behavioral Issues
Conflict Resolution
Dropout Prevention
Relational Aggression
Violence Prevention

Closing the Gap

This year, 74% of Fair Street's total discipline referrals were from African American (A.A.) students, though they make up only 36% of our school population. Additionally, 50% of our discipline referrals are bus referrals, and 40% of them are from A.A. students. Due to this gap in the distribution of our discipline referrals, the activities completed this year such as Small Group Counseling, use of Second Step Skills for Academic and Social Success in the classroom and small group, Bully Proofing lessons, classroom meetings to problem solve interpersonal problems, and PBIS implementation were implemented in hopes that they would positively affect this gap.

According to the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) - A First Look - there are "gaps that still remain too wide in key areas affecting educational equity and opportunity". Incidents of discipline referrals is one of these key areas. The Committee for Children, creators of Second Step Skills for Academic and Social Success, base their programs on current research in the field. These programs help children improve their social-emotional competence and behavior for children who started the school year with skill deficits relative to their peers. The National Institute of Justice lists Second Step as an effective violence prevention curriculum based on multiple research studies (2012).

In the 2014-2015 school year, the total discipline referrals in our school decreased by 45%, and the A.A. discipline referrals decreased by 40%. It seems unrealistic that in one year, A.A. students' behavior escalated so badly that there was a 60% increase in discipline referrals, or even that there was a 60% increase in total discipline referrals, as our data showed us. Rather, as was discussed in the School Counseling Advisory Board Meeting in the Spring, it very well could be a result of integrity in reporting discipline referrals. With the system wide implementation of PBIS this year, an emphasis was made during team and staff trainings for each school to document discipline referrals in the same manner. As has been mentioned earlier in this application, some teachers told this counselor that last year they had given up on reporting discipline referrals due to fear of being seen as not able to manage their classrooms, and due to their perceptions that there were no consequences for bad behavior. With the beginning of staff training, and the work we did together in creating behavior and referral flowcharts, teachers and other staff began to document referrals more often.

Next steps will include continuing the use of Second Step in small groups, though making sure I have groups that also meet other varied needs. One thought is to conduct groups using the concept of Mindfulness, which has been shown to decrease stress. This could possibly be helpful for students who react out of stress and anxiety, rather than stop and think and choose how to act. The Bully Proofing Curriculum, along with classroom meetings and teacher taught Second Step will be continued. Classroom meetings have been shown to increase a student's bonding to school. More consistent monitoring of teacher taught Second Step and teacher held classroom meetings could help reinforce what the students are learning in small groups. Based on past (2005-2006) experiences with teachers, the teaching of Second Step is a challenge for them to fit into their weekly schedules. If monitored more consistently, and possibly given positive incentives, implementation may be more complete. Additionally, having parent sessions to inform them what their students are learning through Second Step could possibly help them reinforce these skills in their children.

Results from the Small Group Counseling perception survey indicated most students believed they had improved their behavior, peer relationships, and bonding to school (see attached graph). Teachers' perceptions on the improvement of these three components were somewhat different. Some recent research has indicated that due to classroom stress and teacher perception of their students' misbehavior, feedback from teachers on behavior report cards for their students differ significantly from the counselor, parent, and student perception. The belief is that over time, teachers tire of the misbehavior and find it very difficult to see the small increments of improvement in their students' behavior. Though not all the students in small group were "African American, the majority were. Hopefully, implementing all the above efforts in closing the gap for our African American students will make a difference over time.

Goal: Decrease total discipline referrals of A.A. students by 15% from 2014-2015 school year by May 20, 2016.

Target Group: African American Students with Discipline Referrals

Data Used to Identify Students: Power School Data of A.A. Discipline Referrals; Informal Perceptions of School Staff, Parents, or Self-referred

School Counselor(s): Dr. Kim Hall

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Social/Emotional Mindsets: Self-confidence in ability to succeed; Sense of belonging in the school environment; Positive attitude toward work & learning; Behavior: Self-management Skills: Demonstrate ability to: Assume responsibility, self-discipline & self-control; delay immediate gratification for long-term rewards; overcome barriers to learning; demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem. Behavior:Social Skills; Use effective oral & written communication skills & listening skills; Create positive & supportive relationships w/other students; Create relationships with adults that support success; Demonstrate empathy; Demonstrate ethical decision-making & social responsibility

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Small Group Counseling: Offered in grades K-5 twice a year. Groups last 8 weeks each time. Second Step Skills for Academic and Social Success is the research based curriculum used. Units on Emotion Management & Problem Solving are used for the groups. Groups are not limited to A.A. students, but A.A. students made up 63% of the groups this year. (2) PBIS Implementation: Enhanced positive acknowledgements to students for appropriate behavior (Tiger Bucks intermittently given by all staff to students when positive behavior noted); certificates given & announcements of students for perfect monthly attendance; staff development training for teachers in handling difficult students; staff rewards for attendance & extra effort; improved school climate through the above; more consistency in handling students' discipline issues; better classroom management through PBIS Prof. Development. Second Step Skills for Social and Academic Success taught by all teachers K-5th grades. Skills include Empathy, Emotion Management, Problem Solving (these are the deficits research indicates causes students to have behavioral issues in school and work). Weekly Classroom Meetings are held to encourage a connection between students & each other & teachers. Students use this time to also problem solve interpersonal problems between each other. Research indicates classroom meetings improve connection between each other. Bully Proofing Lessons are taught by the school counselor to K-5 students. Skills learned improve students' ability to get along with each other, and to assert oneself appropriately, if needed.

Process Data (Number of students affected): 48 A.A. students participated in group:(that was 63% of group participants); 637 Fair Street students (including 229 A.A. students) participated in PBIS implementation activities; 637 Fair Street Students (including the 229 A.A. students) participated in the Second Step Skills for Academic & Social Success; 637 Fair Street Students (including the 229 A.A. students) participated in teacher-led weekly classroom meetings.

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): **(please see attached Post Survey & Graph). 93% of 1st grade, 63% of 2nd grade, 83% of 3rd grade, & 100% of 5th grade students believed they improved in behavior and bonding to school. Of the approximately 1/3 of school staff who completed the Spring School-wide Assessment Survey (SAS) for PBIS, 86% believed our Expectations were defined; 70% believed our Expectations were taught; 76% believed our Reward System was in place; 52% believed we were consistent with our Violations System (discipline referrals); 64% believed we were consistently monitoring behavioral issues; & 55% believed our Management of PBIS was effective. 79% believed we had strong District Support. The total average was 62% (please see attached graph). Bully Proofing Post Test Results for grades 3 & 5: (percentage of correct answers)*see attached graph:Grade 3 Teacher 1: 20% Teacher 2: 75% Teacher 3: 77% Teacher 4: 75% Teacher 5: 69% Teacher 6: 53% Grade 5: Teacher 1: 76% Teacher 2: 89% Teacher 3: 93% **only 3 of 5 fifth grade teachers had students take post test

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Unfortunately, discipline referrals increased for all students except one, small group counseling.(*Please see Narrative for explanation). Our school attendance did increase by 6%.

Implications: It is hard to believe that all the positive research based interventions that Fair Street is doing does not have a positive impact. Rather, as stated in the Narrative, last year our discipline referral indicated we had a decrease in discipline referrals by 45%, but this year an increase of 60%. Often when beginning implementation of a systemic program such as PBIS, due to integrity and improvement of documentation of discipline referrals, and due to staff training in this area, it may appear the referrals increased. Additional feedback from the Chairman of our School Board, who is a retired Art teacher, said it typically takes 2-3 years of implementing a new program before you really begin to see the true results. I agree with this statement, and this has been my experience. Continue this research based PBIS systemic effort and monitor results. Continue the small group and bully proofing lessons, as perception surveys indicate students benefit from them. Provide closer communication, staff training, and support for teachers dealing with difficult students. Research indicates teachers get discouraged, and ignore positive behavioral changes these students may make.