One of the goals for the Counseling Department was to target monitor the progress of students receiving informal counseling through small group work. The students who were chosen had similar needs, self-esteem, during the 2015-2016 school year. There was a total of 8 students who received informal counseling services for self-esteem. 5 of the 8 students received informal for emotional health and self-esteem. However, only 4 students were monitored because the last student only worked in the group for one before transferring to another school. The students’ progress was monitored based on their General Learner Outcomes (GLO’s) scores: 1) Self-Directed Learner, (2) Community Contributor and (3) Effective Communicator.
Those students in the group were in grades 5 and 6, which were on the Upper Elementary Counselor’s caseload. The Lower Elementary Counselor did not have students who were receiving informal counseling for self-esteem. Therefore, those students did meet the small group criteria. The other Counselor did, however, have other students working on different skills that she worked with on a one on one basis. The Counselor running the small group also consulted with the other Counselor when needed and cases discussed weekly.
The Mean Girls, by Developmental Resources, was used as a resource when working with the students in the small group. The sessions began in the second quarter of the school year with 4 students. By the start of the third quarter, the group was composed of 3 students. The fourth student joined the group during the fourth quarter. The three students who joined the group from the start had an overall increase in the GLO scores. The last student remained the same, but had the student joined the group earlier, there may have been an increase in the GLO scores also. In addition to their GLO scores, all four students reported that they felt more confident and could apply the skills taught during the small group sessions to help them cope better.
Since the students were in the 6th grade, the Counselor responsible for grades 4-6 (Melanie Loo) ran the small group during the 2015-2016 school year. The same Counselor is running the small group sessions for the 2016-2017 school year because of the grade of the students in the group. However, the Informal Counseling groups may vary dependent on the number needing services from each of the grade levels. In addition to the 8 students receiving informal counseling for self-esteem, there were three other students who received informal counseling for one of the following areas: (1) disruptive, (2) aggression and (3) social skills. Those students worked with the Counselors in individual sessions.
For the 2016-2017 SY, students who received Informal Counseling for Aggression and Disruptive Behaviors in grade 5 were pulled for small group work. Their progress was monitored by their GLO score: (1) Effective Communicator. Aggressive behaviors were a result of the inability to appropriately cope when frustrated, and therefore, limited their ability to effectively communicate their needs, a skill they need to be successful with their everyday interactions with others and to be successful in life. With the use of small group, students learned appropriate coping strategies with the use of Mind Yeti, founded by the Committee for children, and other resources. This resource walked the students through different calming down strategies and focusing practices, such as deep breathing. In addition to tracking the students’ GLO scores quarterly, a pre-, mid- and post-surveys were to the students. The students tooka survey indicating their perspective of their progress with the sessions.