During the 2015-16 school year, the PRHS Counseling Department facilitated two small groups. Each benefited a specific group of students who needed more individualized support.
First-Generation College Group
The first-generation college group was created in response to the number of students who self-identified as first-generation college students. Because these students would benefit from extra support beyond the individual Junior and Senior meetings with their counselors, Mr. Pak reached out to the Center for Pan-Asian Community Services to partner in creating this group. Mr. Pak was also a first-generation college student and had a desire to provide extra support that these students may not receive at home. The Center for Pan-Asian Community Services has previously worked with PRHS students who struggled with meeting promotion requirements and deciding on post-secondary education. The objectives of the group were to educate first-generation students about the cost of post-secondary education, better prepare them to pursue post-secondary education, and to follow through with submitting college applications. Group topics included all pertinent aspects of the college application and financial aid processes, as this information is unfamiliar to first-generation college students.
In analyzing the results of the 2015-16 pre and post-test data, there was a 300% increase in the participants’ knowledge about the college application process. In addition, there was a 600% increase in the number of students who knew about the different types of financial aid. There was a 133% increase in the number of students who were knowledgeable about the general admission requirements of a 4-year college. Lastly, there was a 250% increase in the number of students who knew what factors colleges consider when making their admission decisions. Of the 8 senior participants, 88% applied to at least 3 colleges.
Due to the increase in knowledge and number of first-generation students who applied to a technical school or college, the department will expand this group next year to include more first-generation students. We will also target this population of students during their junior year to prepare them earlier for post-secondary education planning for their senior year. Furthermore, since parents of first-generation college students are often uninformed about the college application process students are unable to utilize them as a resource during this process. As a result, we will expand this program next year to include a parent component.
Students Using Concentration and Cooperation Everyday Single School Day (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.) Group
The primary objective of the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. small group was to increase the academic motivation and achievement of retained 11th grade students (11R) who were behind in credits for graduation. Group participants were identified by query based on the number of credits earned and high school start date. This group was an extension of our department goal of providing additional support to 11R students in order to increase the school’s graduation rate. Ms. Glisson was chosen to facilitate this group because of her desire to reach out to these students in a small group setting so that students feel connected to at least with one adult at the school. Group topics included study skills, goal setting, career exploration, and academic advisement as these are imperative to a student’s success. Results from the group include: 50% of the participants improved their grades from failing to passing by the end of the semester, school attendance for all the participants increased 33%, and behavior incidents decreased to one incident or less for the semester per student. Also, the over-arching goal was for students to actually graduate by July 2016. Three of out of the six group participants (50%) graduated by July 2016.
The department evaluated the results for the group and have determined there are some things that need to be revised to improve the effectiveness of the group. While this group will be continued next year, changes include encouraging more parental involvement and identifying barriers that prevent students from excelling academically. One specific problem with this year’s group was inconsistent group attendance. In the future, students will receive reminder passes to report to group at the end of first block so that they do not accidentally attend Pride/Advisement. This process will be done to ensure that students come directly to group and maximize group time. Lastly, the premise of this group will be expanded to 10th grade students that are behind in core credits, which will be a new small group next school year. The frequent contact, grade monitoring, and encouragement will hopefully enable these students catch up academically and graduate on time.