Core curriculum is the backbone of our program. Each lesson is strategically taught with a purpose and focuses on ASCA mindsets and behaviors.
Conflict resolution was a need for our school and links to our goal on attendance. One article that focused on strategies for increasing attendance in K-8th grade suggests relationship-building interventions can improve attendance and has been shown to improve attendance. 128 out of 142 third graders were present. Students expressed how problem solving choices have positively impacted them. Research says negative relationships can cause absenteeism; therefore, teaching conflict resolution can motivate students to attend school. Some may say teaching conflict resolution is a stretch to improving attendance but we know there is a direct correlation at our school and this lesson is critical. It fosters positive relationships where students feel safe and respected which is critical for attendance. Some students said when they can solve problems with peers it motivates them to come to school. One student stated teachers and friends were the number one reason she wanted to come to school and conflicts with friends make her not want to come to school. She said walking away and apologizing were skills that helped her solve conflicts on her own. Her attendance and tardies improved from the previous year from 16 absences and 12 tardies to 9 absences and 1 tardy. This shows this lesson positively impacts attendance. Before only 64% of students knew to get a grown up for big problems such as bullying. After, 89% understood when a grown up was needed to solve problems. This helps with big problems such as bullying and results in an increase in student attendance. Before the lesson students lacked strategies to solve problems. Before, 34% knew there were 9 problem solving choices. After 83% knew there were 9 problem solving choices. The outcome of 64% of selected students meeting the attendance goal supports this lesson was beneficial. Students enjoyed working in groups to solve scenarios. A wheel was visible in each room after the lesson. Teachers said they reinforced it regularly. This lesson will be used again. Next time, the assessment will include asking students about how solving conflicts and positive relationships at school motivates them to attend school.
The second lesson focused on Coping Skills. If students know and understand what coping skills are they will be more inclined to use them when feeling stressed during testing. Research shows a negative connection with poor performance on tests and stress. Learning coping skills is important for test-taking which links to our academic goal. According to Zuercher-White deep breathing can decrease anxiety during testing and high five breathing was a technique taught during this lesson. During each lesson many raised their hand when asked if they got nervous while taking a test. 117 fourth graders out of 128 were present for the lesson. 49% knew what coping skills were before the lesson and 87% understood after. 79% knew to use coping skills while stressed before the lesson and 97% after. 97% said they learned something new and would use the coping skills. This lesson will be used in the future and assisted in 68% of selected students reaching their Spring MAP reading goal. In the future, questions on the pre/post about specific coping skills taught during the lesson will be included as well as a formal question asking if they get nervous during tests instead of raising their hands. As a follow up, a counselor would visit after testing to survey them on what “copecake” skills they used on their test.
The third lesson focused on good habits. 110 out of 117 students were present. Coming to school, and coming to school on time are habits students need to practice now and in the future to be successful. This lesson allowed us to touch on career development by allowing students to brainstorm jobs and positive work habits. Before, 77% knew that habits they practice at school will be used at their grown up job. After, that percent grew to 96%. Only 70% knew what a habit was before and after, 96% of students knew the definition. Students understood the lesson which assisted in 64% of selected students having less than ten days of unexcused absences. The lesson will be continued and results shed light on future implications. Pre-assessment data was high; therefore, changing some questions to focus more on habits needed in order to have good attendance at school and in a future job would be made.