As we reviewed our student’s 6 week performance data by grade level (grades, behavior infractions and attendance) we noticed that our tenth-grade students were accountable for over 35% of our behavioral infractions even though they accounted for 25% of the student population. The school profile data illuminated the fact that our tenth grade students were earning a greater number of minor behavior infractions than other grades. Minor infractions consisted of inappropriate dress, electronic device use, language and tardies. These infractions were all considered important soft skills students needed to increase academic success and to be successful in post-secondary. The data warranted the need for universal support in the area of soft skills instruction for our sophomores. We also analyzed our referrals and realized that out of the 542 referrals 49% were Hispanic students and 75% of the referrals for Hispanic students were written for male students. Although this goal targets the universal group of Sophomores, the process of analyzing this data helped us identify that our Hispanic students were in need of further small group instruction.
Our soft-skills lesson was chosen for our 10th grade students because they were accountable for over 35% of our behavioral infractions. Since we implement career exploration during sophomore homerooms we thought that connecting soft skills to our career lessons would be a great opportunity and a natural fit. We believed this real-life connection would help students understand what soft skills are and the importance of practicing them as they are a key factor in career success. It was also our hopes to decrease behavior infractions and help students understand how lack of soft skills can directly affect them in their academic success and future careers. It is essential for them to demonstrate critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions and to demonstrate self-discipline and self-control. We believed that the soft skills lesson would foster an understanding of the importance to practice appropriate behavior and decrease the number of infractions. Our data represented that the students did make the connection between the soft skills and academic/future success based on their 17% drop in minor infractions. The second intervention we implemented was to ensure that students would identify areas of career interest. Presenters in different career fields shared about their career field to the 10th graders during their homerooms. We also worked for students to create relationships with an adult in their field of interest that could mentor, answer questions, and supports success. We believed that this would help support and promote a deep understanding of career readiness. The third activity we implemented was for all Sophomores was to use Career Cruising to review their career choices and 4-year plan. Using Career Cruising allowed students to make adjustments and alignment to post-secondary goals, identify long- and short-term academic, career and social/emotional goals within the Career Cruising interface. We wanted to develop the connection between the student's career of choice and soft skills. We wanted students to be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills to make informed decisions and to connect their everyday behaviors to future career success.
The pre and post assessment given before and after the soft skills lessons helped us to develop an understanding of the impact we made on the students and areas of growth needed. Out of the five questions asked we had the smallest growth in the area of career identification. The question asking "I can name 3 careers that I am interested in B-LS 1:" moved from 17% disagreeing to 10% disagreeing. We will need to promote a wider array of careers in hopes of getting students matched to careers they would be interested in pursuing. The fourth intervention/activity was reviewing referral data after first semester and disaggregate to identify as risk students. This helped us identified individuals that will be targeted for small anger management and growth mindset groups.
Next year we will focus on developing the assessment questions to short answer. We would do this in hopes that students would identify the exact intervention that helped them with their career choices and soft skill development. In order to be effective we disaggregated our data and found out that half of the infractions were written for male Hispanic students, this made us reflect on the how to target our identified students in need in a more direct way. As a result, next year we will target these students for small groups using the following mindsets and behaviors B-LS 7, B-SMS 1,B-SMS 2, B-SS 3 and B-SS 9.