The freshmen orientations were successful as the survey data revealed an increase of at least 25% in each area measured. One of the most notable data point was that 100% of the freshmen knew the graduation requirements by the end of the presentation. Additionally, there was a 182% increase in the number of freshmen that knew the GPA requirement for the state scholarships.
We were surprised to discover that the freshmen had a 1% decrease in the number of students earning a 3.0 GPA at the end of the school year as compared to the freshmen in the 2015-16 school year. We anticipated an increase in the number of freshmen earning a 3.0 GPA since we moved from a 7 point grading scale and adopted the 10 point grading scale. In essence, the requirements for earning a higher GPA were lower than previous years. Therefore, a “B” average was 85% for the freshmen in 2015-16 whereas a “B” average for the freshmen in 2016-17 was 80%. With a decrease of five percentage points, we anticipated a significant number of freshmen earning a 3.0 GPA or better. Additionally, the freshmen had an extra support system with the College Support Specialist which was funded by the GEAR UP grant. Unlike the previous freshmen, they had free math tutoring during lunch and after school.
Based on the results of the survey, we will continue to conduct the Freshmen Orientations. We will also continue to present the information as a classroom guidance lesson and explore additional mindsets and behaviors to target. To encourage more freshmen to earn a 3.0 GPA, we will add a slide to our presentation to let them know the number of freshmen that earned a 3.0 GPA in the previous year and encourage and empower them to supersede that number. In the past, adding a visual cue and encouraging healthy competition made a difference in our data. We will also explore the possibility of adding a small study skills group for freshmen.
The Junior Individual Graduation Plan meetings were successful as the parents and students rated the overall conference experience as a 3.88 on a 4.00 Likert Scale. The parents and students also rated that they were provided ample opportunity to ask questions during the conference as 3.91 on a 4.00 scale. Finally, the parents and students rated that they felt comfortable contacting their school counselor for further information as 3.92 on a 4.00 scale. The data clearly indicated that we are making a positive difference in the lives of our students as a result of our involvement and interventions as well as our ability to continually focus on our vision, mission, goals, beliefs, mindsets and behaviors.
Based on the results of the survey from parents and students, we will continue to conduct the Junior Individual Graduation Plan meetings. We did note one improvement due to the question of how to find volunteer opportunities in our local area. As a result, a link to local volunteer opportunities was placed on the Junior Naviance page.
The College Application Day was a success as there was a 21% increase in the number of seniors requesting that their transcripts be sent to a college as compared to the seniors in the class of 2016. There was also an 11% increase in the number of FAFSA forms submitted and a 13% increase in the number of FAFSA forms completed as compared to the class of 2016. Furthermore, the seniors increased the scholarships awarded by 26% as compared to the class of 2016. Lastly, the number of seniors graduating with a 3.0 GPA or better increased by 17% as compared to the class of 2016. Thus, 178 seniors (out of 330 seniors) were eligible for the state scholarships. In essence, over 54% of the seniors in the class of 2017 were eligible to receive a scholarship from the state.
Based on the data, we will continue to host College Application Day and partner with colleges around the state. Due to the College Application Day, our school set a record of receiving $18.5 million in scholarships. However, the one area of improvement was collecting data from the seniors about their experiences on College Application Day. A senior survey was administered to the students by our state to ascertain how many seniors participated, however we needed to develop our own data instrument to ascertain what the students learned, how their knowledge and skills improved and what can we do to improve the College Application Day experience.