Student Development group topic was selected by reviewing our STRIVE HI state data and cumulative GPA student data breakdown which showed a need to increase our student’s college going and college readiness rate. The goal of the Student Development group was to increase cumulative Grade Point Average for students who were categorized as students with at-risk characteristics due to D and/or F grades. Our objective was to increase students’ confidence in their abilities to enroll in postsecondary education and take college-level classes.
Participants were identified at the end of the first semester, with no previous experience in college classes and their cumulative GPA at the end of the previous academic year were between 2.0 and 2.7. One student was a Special Education inclusion student and the rest were general education students.
The group was run by the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) counselor, Ruby Ching, as these students belonged to the Holomua GEAR UP grant cohort, graduating class of 2017, and activities were supported by the Holomua GEAR UP grant.
Ms. Ching volunteered to run this small group because she wanted to continue to build her relationship with the Class of 2017 students and wanted the practice of running small groups. School year 2015-2016 was Ms. Ching's first year out of college and working full time as a school counselor. Her recent exit from college has made her a great resource for our students because she had just completed her college going experience and she was able to share her experiences which engaged many of our students.
Four of the six students in the group saw an increase in cumulative GPA. Unfortunately, one of the two students that saw a decrease in GPA was also experiencing difficulties at home, which affected her academic performance.
The group sessions took place after school and the counselor was available to the students before and after school during the duration of the group. Because this small group was conducted after the school day ended, it may be difficult to continue running this group again since all participating individuals needed to agree on a time. We originally wanted eight participants, but were only able to get six students to commit. Our counseling team is evaluating if there is a way to run this small group again, but somehow incorporate it into the school day so that we may be able to attract more students. Our challenge, especially for high school students, is running small group sessions without removing students from a class, in order to minimize loss of instructional time. We are looking to possibly hold future groups during lunch and somehow provide lunch to the students.