One of South’s school counseling goals for the 2015- 2016 school year was 90% of students in the freshmen class will earn 7 or more credits in the 2015-2016 school year and be promoted to 10th grade. Through a core curriculum lesson, all 9th grade students were given a presentation about the amount of credits needed to promote to the 10th grade and what additional credits would be needed in the following years to graduate. 67% of these students reported that they were aware of these requirements prior to the lesson and after the lesson 97% indicated they understood graduation requirements. 77.64% of our 9th grade class promoted to the 10th grade for the 2016-2017 school year. Additional topics taught in the 9th grade lesson were the understanding of their GPA and Hathaway scholarship requirements. At the end of the lesson 94% of the freshman class reported they understood the importance of their GPA and 93% reported that they understood the Hathaway requirements.
In reviewing our 9th grade lesson plan, we were pleased with several of the changes that we had made to make this lesson plan. We incorporated two activities to make this lesson more interactive and engaging. This allowed more time for students to process the information, use critical thinking skills, and increase interaction amongst students. In addition, we offered the opportunity for students to meet with us individually for further clarification. When comparing the data from the 2014-2015 school year and 2015-2016 school year, students retained more knowledge. Moving forward, we would like to continue to offer this revised lesson plan in the Fall.
The 10th grade lesson plan was given to all sophomores to support our goal of decreasing the number of students out of cohort by 8%. Since these students have been exposed to this information in the previous year, we collected post data to see where they were with their understanding of graduation requirements (87%), importance of GPA (75%) and Hathaway scholarship requirements (65%). Counselors meet with students each year to discuss which credits they have currently earned and what classes they will need to take the following year to stay on track for graduation.
Moving forward, we plan to make several changes to our 10th grade lesson plan. This lesson was presented in front of the entire 10th grade cohort due to the limitations of classroom availability in the fall semester. In order to improve the effectiveness of this lesson we would like to model this presentation after the 9th grade lesson to include interactive activities and increase overall student engagement. In addition, as our advisory board stated, we would like to offer more individualized services to our sophomores. For example, we would like to review each student’s transcript with them to increase their understanding of where they stand in terms of reaching graduation requirements.
Specific GPA and ACT/WorkKeys scores are two important requirements needed to access the Hathaway scholarship. This scholarship is only offered to graduates of Wyoming schools and historically, a majority of our students attend Wyoming colleges. Many of our students need to access scholarships to attend college. This is a reason we have a goal of 72% of juniors will get a 17 or higher on the ACT or 12 or higher on WorkKeys by June 2016. As a group, we analyzed ACT data and assessed the needs of our students. We decided to develop a lesson for all of our 11th grade students on the ACT. Results from pre-test and post-test revealed an increase in the student's knowledge of what to take to the ACT (49%), tips on being prepared (41%), knowing why they are taking the ACT (69%), and test prep materials that were available to them (40%).
In evaluating this lesson, we would like to make a few changes in upcoming school years. The data indicated that students felt less confident after the presentation. We would like to offer this presentation earlier in the school year to allow students the opportunity to take advantage of more of our ACT prep services such as ZAPS, Method Test Prep, and ACT curriculum nights. In addition, we would like to spend more time with students on this presentation. We have already started brainstorming with teachers on how we can be in the classroom longer.