The WMMS Counseling Department decided to conduct academic groups and a GIRLS Group for the 2016-2017 school year in order to meet the program goals of 70% of students with 2 referrals to all day ALC (Alternative Learning Center) will maintain 1 or fewer future referrals by the end of the 16-17 school year and Sixth Grade students with two or more failing grades after the first quarter, will increase their grade by 15% by the end of the 2nd quarter. The groups were chosen to address students who are failing classes and referred to ALC for academic recovery. The Counseling Department believed that having academic groups and the GIRLS group will help increase grades and keep students in class learning instead of ALC.
Mrs. Leon was instrumental in conducting the GIRLS Group. Students chosen were frequent visitors to the counselor's office. The focus of the group was to learn how to control their emotions in a healthy manner. Mrs. Leon used the following mindsets and behaviors to help her plan lessons for the group: Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being, create positive and supportive relationships with other students, and demonstrate ability to assume responsibility. Lessons included self-reflection, anger management, listening skills, role playing and overall reflection to eight 8th grade female students. The sessions were held from September 2016-October 2016. The results after the 3rd session indicated that the goal for the girls to handle their emotions in a healthy manner was showing progress. Results included, the girls displaying a better understanding of how to handle their emotions in social situations. This was evident by Counselor observation and conversations with girls, and a decrease in social conflict with peers. The connection between the perception data and mindsets and behaviors were students will understand how their communication skills is not effective and now make changes to have a belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being. Counselor visits decreased on average from 3 to 1 per week. This was also recognized by staff. If needed, the group will continue for others who are in need of emotional control support.
Mrs. Leon and Mrs. Kimel were instrumental in providing academic small group to the 6th and 8th graders. For the 8th graders 5 sessions for the 2nd quarter was provided and the 6th grade had a total of 8 sessions. The goal for the groups was to help increase academic success for the students selected (6th grade students with two or more failing grades after the first quarter, will increase their grade by 15% by the end of the 2nd quarter and 50% of 8th grade students with 2 or more failing core classes will increase at least one of their failing grade by 5 or more points at the end of the quarter). Lessons ranged from November 2016 to January 2017. The group started with 18 8th grade students identified through the 1st quarter failure list and nine 6th grade students who failed a class in the 1st quarter. The mindsets and behaviors chosen for the groups and each session were the same weekly to help enhance students’ knowledge on how to be successful academically. Lessons included topics around goal setting, organization, tracking grades, and time management. All sessions were based on helping students self-advocate, helping them to increase their grades and get a clear understanding of the things that prevent them from reaching academic success can be eliminated if they are willing to put forth the effort and make changes. Results were reviewed during the end of 2nd quarter. 44.4% of 6th graders met their goal, and 28.6% of 8th graders met their goal. Based on the fact that there was an increase in academic success, the groups will be offered the following year with some changes to help improve all students being successful.
The outcome data confirms there is more work to be done with academic groups. The Counselors evaluated things they would do differently, such as involve teachers in the process and include parents in their child’s participation in the group. Another strategy is meeting with PLT’s weekly and conducting “Kid Talk” (conversations based on students needing support in any area) and targeting those students during the quarter. This will help met our program goal of reducing the amount of referrals to ALC and increasing academic success more leaning towards prevention versus intervention for the following school