All of the Core Counseling Curriculum lessons were developed and delivered as a way to support Washington Technology Magnet Schools’ Counseling Department Vision and Mission and to address the chosen ACSA Mindsets and Behaviors (B-SMS 10, B-SMS 5 and B-LS 8). The school counseling core curriculum lessons are done to support our program goals and to address school data. Out of all of the lessons delivered in the Washington Core Counseling Curriculum Action Plan the counselors chose the following three lessons to closely examine and analyze: “Study Skills”, “Setting SMART Goals”, and “Academic Planning for Success”.
We measured the effectiveness of these three lessons in a variety of ways. For example, perception data was collected by using a Google Form and reviewed by the counseling team to determine to effectiveness and to check students’ understanding of the content delivered. Counselors made adjustments in future lesson planning after reviewing students’ responses. Counselors also provided teachers with an opportunity to provide feedback and collaborate on each lesson. In another example, one ninth grade teacher suggested dividing the current ninth grade lesson into two separate lessons. They also suggested using the web platform Schoology to post resources and academic supports available to students Online.
Students’ responses to the perception surveys showed promising results and affirmed that students learned valuable skills as a result of the counseling lessons. For example, in the Grade 6 lesson, 97% of students responded that they believe they have the ability to be successful in middle school based upon the post-assessment survey. Additionally, 82% of Grade 6 students know three strategies to manage their study time. Perception data collected in Grade 7 also affirmed that students gained knowledge after participating in the lesson about SMART goals. Ninety-five percent of students reported that they had set at least one SMART goal for the school year after participating in the lesson. Students re-visited and revised their SMART goals in classroom lessons, small group and individual counseling sessions. Grade 9 students were asked to participate in both a pre and post-survey. After receiving the lesson on Grade 9 Academic Planning, 98% responded that they knew the number of credits needed to graduate from high school (compared to 86% in the pre-survey).
For each lesson, outcome data was pulled to inform our future counseling activities and identify further areas for growth and opportunity. We know we work as a part of a collaborative team; changes in attendance, achievement and behavior data reflect the work of all staff at Washington Technology Magnet School. Nonetheless, we know it is important to look at the outcome data to inform our future counseling practices and program.
We feel that each of the topics addressed in the selected lessons aligned to our departmental goals of graduating 100% of Washington Seniors and decreasing the number of failing grades our students received. To that end we will continue to offer these three lessons as a part of the Washington Core Counseling Curriculum. After analyzing the data and gaining feedback from teachers, we will make changes for 2017-18. For example, in grades 6 and 7, the outcome data suggested that we need to spend more time within each of these lessons talking about the importance of attendance. Nearly 25% of students in these two grades missed 11 or more days of school in 2016-2017. Additionally, for each grade level, we pulled quarterly grade reports and disaggregated the data by student demographic group. These reports also informed changes to our counseling core curriculum moving forward. For example, we noticed that our Grade 9 students start academically strong in Quarter 1 - around the same time the lesson was delivered - and fail at a higher rate in Quarter 4. The data suggest passing rates for all student groups, other than Asian students, decreased from Quarter 1 to Quarter 4. The counseling department will work with the ninth grade team to provide more academic support (via additional/expanded classroom lessons, small groups and individual sessions) in Quarters 3 and 4 in 2017-18.