Peachtree Ridge High School (2017)

Suwanee, GA

Academic Achievement
College Readiness

Closing the Gap

The PRHS Counseling Department Closing the Gap goal is “By the end of the 2015-2016 school year 75% of the target group will be back on track with their cohort (either promoted to 10th grade or graduate on time).” This goal was identified in part because of the correlation to two of the department goals for the 2015-16 school year (Goal 1. By focusing on various academic interventions, we will promote 97% of first time ninth graders to tenth grade by the end of summer school 2016 for a retention rate of 3% or less. Goal 2: 90% of students that are identified as 11th grade repeaters (11R; 2012-13 cohort members) at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year will graduate by July 2016.) Each of these goals represents a portion of the Closing the Gap target group. The Closing the Gap goal also supports the PRHS school-wide goal of increasing the graduation rate by 3%.

The gap was identified after the PRHS graduation rate remained stagnant in recent years, which prompted a school-wide focus on increasing graduation rate. Also, we know that 9th grade success greatly impacts high school graduation rate as stated in educational research for the last 15 years. For example, in 1991 Willet and Singer said that “the ninth grade year is important because student success at this juncture has been linked to high school completion rates.”

For both 9th and 11th graders, the interventions centered around meeting the individual needs of students, collaboration with all stakeholders, including parents and teachers, and constant progress monitoring. Interventions that were implemented include: parent/teacher conferences, individual meetings with students, identifying academic support opportunities for each student, discussing a plan to recover credits, peer mentoring (9th grade), and small group participation (11th grade). These interventions were chosen because they allow for individualized academic planning for each student in the target group. Including all stakeholders as a part of the solution was also an important factor. We have found that when parents and teachers were included in this process there was more by-in and communication between parties, which better enabled student success. Also, peer mentoring was used with the 9th grade students in the target group because peer mentoring is proven to elicit positive results. According to Garringer and MacRae (2008), “Cross-age peer mentoring programs have tremendous potential to facilitate the personal, social, and academic growth of both mentors and mentees.”

While our outcome was not what we had hoped, we do plan to continue these goals next year. In order to increase effectiveness, we plan to work more closely with the Curriculum Office at PRHS to coordinate Credit Recovery opportunities. If we were able to expand the PRHS Credit Recovery program then more students would be able to make up courses in a cost-effective and timely way, which would enable them to get back on track. Also, we found that it is necessary to expand the stakeholders who are involved in our process. Many of the students in our target group received ESOL or Special Education services, so it is necessary to involve special education case managers and community translators in order to better support the communication process with parents. In addition, there are two new things happening for the 2016-17 school year: 1. All advisement teachers were trained to complete credit checks for their advisement students, which will provide another layer of support for students as they stay informed of their graduation status. This also supports the school-wide initiative of increasing the graduation rate. 2. Another counselor was added to the 9th grade academy, which will enable even more hands-on counselor/student interaction for our 9th grade students.

Goal: By the end of the 2015-2016 school year 75% of the target group will be back on track with their cohort (either promoted to 10th grade or graduate on time).

Target Group: In order to contribute to the PRHS goal of increasing the graduation rate by 3%, the PRHS Counseling department will focus on two student groups: 9th graders at risk of not being promoted to 10th grade (needing 2.5 or more credits) and students not on track to graduate on time at the start of their 4th year in high school (11 Repeaters/R) with less than 17 credits.

Data Used to Identify Students: Credit queries, cohort analyzer tool

School Counselor(s): Joseph Pak, Sylvia Rowe, Cyrus Zareie, Abbey Youngblood, Dolly Glisson, Nikki Johnson,Teresa Wilson

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Mindset Standard 5, Mindset Standard 6, Behavior Standard Learning Strategy (LS) 3, Behavior Standard LS 4

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Meet with students individually to discuss grades, attendance, and remediation opportunities (individual counseling), Develop an academic plan with each student (individual counseling), Recommend Academic Redemption program for 9th grade students (individual counseling), 11R Success group (small group counseling), Consult with teachers and parents as needed, Monitor student progress (data analysis)

Process Data (Number of students affected): 43 11R students identified in August (19 withdrew by the end of the school year) New total: 24 53 9th grade students in January at risk of not being promoted to 10th grade (needing 2.5 credits or more) (4 withdrew by the end of the school year) New total: 49 Total: 96 not including withdrawn students After withdrawals, total: 73

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Using a likert scale (1 being the lowest to 5 being the highest) respondents completed pre and post surveys. 1. How prepared to do feel to be successful in high school? 9th graders moved from 3.19 on the pre survey to 3.78 on the post survey. 11th graders went from 3.43 to 3.7. 2. How familiar are you with the graduation requirements? 9th graders: 2.81 to 3.78; 11th graders: 3.29 to 4. 3. How familiar are you with the resources and support available to you at PRHS? 9th: 2.7 to 3.78; 11th: 3.05 to 3.7. 4. How familiar are you with the opportunities to recover credits? 9th grade: 3.0 to 3.96; 11th: 2.86 to 3.6.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): 9th grade: 27 of the 49 students did not meet promotion to 10th grade. Therefore, 22 students were promoted, for a percentage of 44.89%. 11th grade: 10 of the 24 students were retained and did not graduate on time. Therefore, 14 were able to graduate on time with their class, for a percentage of 58%. Total: 36 students in the target population were able to be successful and either meet promotion to 10th grade or graduate on time with their class. This was 49.3% of the target population. Unfortunately, we were not able to meet our goal of 75%.

Implications: At-risk students benefit from frequent monitoring and encouragement. Interventions, such as parent conferences, collaboration with teachers, individual student meetings and small groups are working to reduce the number of retained students. Credit Recovery is one area in which we need to improve. Because this concept is somewhat new to Peachtree Ridge and we have students and parents who do not quite understand the concept, participation amongst students, as well as course offerings, have been limited. One area of concern is how and when Credit Recovery information is communicated to students and parents. To improve for next year, we would like to collaborate with the Curriculum Office in establishing a timeline for when the courses are offered and when information is communicated.