School Counseling Core Curriculum Results Report 2015-2016 Narrative
The three lesson plans highlighted for the core curriculum lesson plan component represent the academic and personal/social domains. These lessons also demonstrate the way in which our department imparts core competencies to the majority of Wakefield’s students. The lessons specifically relate to our school counseling program goals and were adapted to ensure that students receive age-appropriate materials that set them up for success at Wakefield High School and beyond.
9th Grade Orientation
The first lesson, “9th Grade Orientation,” is presented at the beginning of the school year. This is our initial opportunity to meet with our entire 9th grade caseload and introduce ourselves to the students we will be working with throughout their four years at Wakefield. This classroom lesson is extremely important, because we give students a framework with which to evaluate their progress in high school, a comprehensive overview of the graduation requirements they will need to meet, and an introduction to post-secondary options, emphasizing the importance of academic achievement and performance in high school. This lesson gives us the opportunity to provide academic information to all students before meeting with them individually later in the year to complete scheduling and develop their 4-year plans. This lesson is assessed using a pre/post-test to determine if students grasped the main competencies associated with the lesson. As a result of this lesson, among other counseling initiatives, 57% of students enrolled in one or more intensified or Advanced Placement (AP) courses for the following school year. This was an increase of approximately 9.7% of students enrolled in intensified and AP courses; however, the net increase was 1.7% when adjusting for the increase in the Wakefield population for the 2016-2017 school year.
“Not in Our School”
“Not in Our School” is the second featured classroom lesson. This is primarily an anti-bullying classroom lesson that involves our Project UPSTANDERS students in conveying to 9th graders our expectation of all Wakefield students to create a positive and safe high school environment. This lesson gives us the opportunity to tackle very sensitive subjects with upperclassmen who have been trained as UPSTANDERS educating their peers about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. This lesson addresses behaviors at Wakefield, consequences associated with negative or inappropriate behaviors, things students can do if they witness or are involved in bullying, how to identify and help if students are worried for their safety or the safety of a peer, how to resolve conflicts appropriately, and what students can expect from their counselor in response to different sensitive situations. This lesson also gives us the opportunity to address overall behavioral expectations of students while both in and out of school. “Not in Our School” appears to be very beneficial for our students who took a pre/post-test to evaluate the lesson. An overwhelming majority of students retained the information presented during this lesson and came up with excellent strategies for managing a bullying situation if it were to occur at Wakefield. As a result of this lesson, among other counseling and school-wide initiatives, we worked to take down the stigma of mental illness and increase awareness of available resources. Unfortunately, our risk assessment rate still increased throughout the 2015-2016 school year from the previous year by 23%, but this result may have a silver lining in that more students are recognizing a need for mental health assistance.
Post-Secondary Planning: Graduation and Beyond
The “Graduation and Beyond” classroom lesson is our final highlighted lesson. When presenting “Graduation and Beyond,” we meet with all 12th grade students during their Government class to discuss future planning. This lesson emphasizes the college search and application process, NAVIANCE, individual evaluation of student values, interests and personal goals, and review of traditional and non-traditional education and career paths. This classroom lesson is given at the beginning of the school year to help guide students through the intimidating future planning process and gives us an opportunity to touch base with our seniors to answer questions prior to meeting with them individually to complete intent to graduate forms and determine where they are in their planning process. As a result of this lesson and other activities, we saw an increase in college applications by 25.6% from the previous year. Our 2-year and community college application rate increased significantly, reducing the number of students with no plan at graduation by 45%; we went from 19% of students without a plan in 2015 to 9% for the class of 2016.