Our Core Curriculum Results Report showcased three very different lessons focusing on aspects of our comprehensive school counseling program. Each lesson was strategically planned and implemented based on our annual goals, end of year data, state and county standards, the ASCA Mindsets and Domains, and the FCPS “Portrait of a Graduate”. These lessons were designed to meet the needs of our growing diverse school community.
The Active Listening Lesson was developed in line with our first program goal which targeted our academically struggling Hispanic students. During the fourth quarter, the data showed that some of the students’ grades were not improving. The counselors met to brainstorm new interventions that could be put in place and support academic success in the classroom. Teacher feedback indicated students were not reaching their academic potential due to distractions in the classroom and poor listening skills. Out of the 14 present students, five of the students had received a C– or below in a core class. The perception data indicated 12% increase in comprehension of active listening skills for the targeted students. All five students improved their C– or below grade by at least one letter grade for the final mark in a core class. This is a 100% increase for all students supporting the success of this lesson. This lesson will be presented during 1st Quarter of the upcoming school year in our ESOL and 7th Grade Classrooms. Teaching this lesson earlier in the year will give students the necessary skills to be successful from the start, which allows a more proactive approach than reactive approach to student achievement.
The Working in Groups Lesson was implemented due to teacher feedback, counselor referrals, and a number of discipline referrals from the 7th Grade AAP Classes. After analyzing this data, the counselors identified ten students as needing support with executive functioning. The goal of the lesson was to support students’ academic success by focusing on the social/emotional obstacles that can develop while working in groups. The perception data showed a 98% increase in knowledge of the stages of group work, and an additional 14% of students reported an awareness of strategies to utilize when resolving conflicts. Of the ten identified students, six students (60%) improved their GPA in their core classes, two students (20%) maintained their GPA in core classes, while two students’ (20%) core class GPAs decreased. Also, there were 17 discipline referrals prior to the lesson and only one after the lesson during the 4th quarter. This outcome data suggested that the lesson did have an impact on discipline and improvement of EF skills as evidenced by core class grades. In the future, we will give this lesson/class meeting to students earlier in the year so that the students have this knowledge of group process and conflict resolution for their group projects for the entire year. Quarterly follow-up lessons/class meetings will be conducted to process how they are applying their knowledge, and to address any new conflicts that arise. One topic to add to the lesson would be modeling how to create group norms. We may want to adjust our school programming goal so that rate of improvement is more realistic, increase by 0.3.
The 8th Grade Naviance Lesson exploring career clusters helped students recognize their academic strength and potential career aspirations. By researching their areas of interest, they developed an awareness of the academic courses needed to meet their career goals. By selecting the right courses, students were put on the path towards graduating with the skills necessary for their post-secondary plans. The perception data showed a 14% increase in students’ ability to identify possible careers for themselves, and 58% increase in understanding the concept of career clusters. The outcome data indicated that 100% of an 8th Grade team accurately completed their course selection sheets (CSS) as compared to teacher recommendations collected by the counselors. Counselors plan to continue presenting career lessons to all our students, and connecting these lessons to appropriate course selections. All rising 9th grade students will receive an academic advising packet to facilitate communication between home and school. Annual vertical articulation meetings with the high school counselors will allow us to discuss career surveys completed by our students. We will get their feedback on whether our students are arriving to high school prepared for their selected courses. We will dialogue with our high school counterparts on graduation rates and post-secondary trends. Based on this communication, we will evaluate the long-term effectiveness of these lessons.