The three core curriculum Focus presentations highlighted within this report concentrate on the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at Downers Grove South High School. Although we have several additional presentations at all grade levels, these three represent exemplary lessons taught in our Focus core curriculum.
Our featured Freshmen Focus presentation reflected positive results on our post-survey, indicating that the majority (over 85%) of freshmen know who their school counselor is and how to access them for academic and personal/social support as well as college/career planning. In our last RAMP application, we noted a slight increase in the percentage of freshman failures from 2011-12 to 2012-13. In response to that, we added three new lunch resource Focus presentations which we implemented in the 2015-16 school year. In 2015-16, 13.5% of freshmen earned at least one F during the school year. This is a .5% decrease since 2012-13. Although this is not a huge improvement, we are happy to see the number go down slightly, and will continue to review our programming in order to provide interventions that help students who are near failing classes each semester. This should also help to have a positive impact on the number of students who reach at least 5 credits by the end of their freshmen year so that they do not get reclassified in their second year of high school.
The data collected from the post-survey in the Sophomore Focus presentation indicated a positive impact on students’ ability to access and utilize their counselor, as well as Naviance, to identify career options. The majority (over 82%) of sophomores in the post-survey indicated that they understood how to access their counselor for help with college/career planning; how to use Naviance to search for careers; how to choose a career path that matches their strengths; and how their personal strengths, blind spots, and learning styles relate to their potential career interests. The most encouraging data indicated that 92% of sophomores have at least one career they want to explore for their future. This is overwhelmingly positive, indicating that this core curriculum presentation is vital to helping students understand potential careers, allowing them to set short-term goals of how to perform in high school as well as long-term goals regarding what they should do after high school in order to achieve their chosen career path.
Our featured Junior Focus presentation indicated positive results on the post-survey, with the majority (over 82%) of juniors knowing how to access their counselor for college/career planning, use Naviance to search for colleges that match their interests, and select a post-secondary plan that helps them reach their career goals. Our Junior Focus presentation seems to have a positive outcome on student post-secondary planning during their senior year. Even though the senior class of 2016 was the exact same size as the class of 2013, 621 more student transcripts were sent to colleges in the Fall of 2015 than were sent in the Fall of 2012. This indicates that students are able to engage in post-secondary planning at higher rates much earlier in their senior year as we continue to provide this presentation to the junior class. We continue to see the majority (80% and above) of DGS graduates matriculating to 2- or 4-year colleges, indicating that we are providing quality core curriculum presentations that help students to set and meet their post-secondary goals.
The GPA data that was collected for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors indicate that DGS students consistently perform at a B-/C+ average throughout their high school years. With a large student body consisting of approximately 2,800 students who are ethnically, culturally, racially, and socio-economically diverse, we consider this overall average GPA to be a positive reflection of our core curriculum as well as building-wide curriculum and interventions. We continuously review the interventions available in our building during department and support team meetings in order to best serve our students.