The small group action plan reflects the three groups we ran this year; the 9th grade Goals, Plan and Success group (GPS), the On-Time Senior Graduation Group and the ESOL Student Performance group. The 9th grade group links to the ASCA model B:LS 7, identifying long- and short–term goals, and M 6 which focuses on creating a positive attitude towards work and learning. The On-Time Senior Group links to the ASCA Model M 2 and M 6. The third group focused on ESOL student performance and links to ASCA Model B:SMS, and B:SMS 6 and B:SS 2. Two of the groups have been tweaked over the years as a result of student feedback however the ESOL group was new this year. There was no eleventh grade group due to diversified staffing time commitments.
The students in the GPS group were referred by their counselors as the result of first quarter grades as there is a strong correlation between ninth grade success and graduation rates. In prior years, the GPS group took place in the fourth quarter prior to SOL testing however, feedback from students during the first year revealed they felt this information would have been more beneficial earlier in the year. During the first meeting it was evident that the students were familiar with one another which can pose a challenge if the students feel that they are being matched up with other struggling students. Ultimately the students in this group succeeded in identifying long- and short-term goals and creating a positive attitude about learning.
The Senior On-Time Graduation Group aligns with our senior goal to obtain a 100% graduation rate each year. Students were identified by each counselor submitting names based on grades and SOL scores. These students needed to develop self-confidence in their ability to succeed and develop a positive attitude towards work habits and learning. Each weekly meeting focused on additional resources and skills for students to access. Students learned how to use the online grade book to assess their current status then set goals for the duration of the school year and reflected on those goals. The students then discussed persistence in the fourth quarter as the group meetings became tutoring sessions based on their unique needs.
Three counselors were responsible for running this group and individual counselors provided feedback regarding other attempted interventions. Our career center specialist also collaborated with the counselors and actively participated in group meetings. This group has run for the past five years and has evolved based on the feedback of students. It now incorporates a mentor/tutor initiative with senior teachers during the fourth quarter to support seniors with individual academic needs.
Our goal was to have 100% of students graduate on time. The final result was 99% of seniors graduated on time. In the future, we can pull students in the third quarter for SOL review. We learned that they struggled in the fourth quarter because they missed a great deal of class time for remediation and testing. As a result, their grades were impacted. School attendance was not a factor for these students, just the time pulled from class.
As our ESOL population has continued to grow, teachers and counselors have noticed a gap in achievement between ESOL students and their peers which led to the creation of our third group. This group was comprised of ESOL students who were referred by their teachers as they lacked organization skills and were in danger of failing at least one class at the end of the third quarter. Pre- and post- tests were administered and the pre-test revealed these students were not completing classwork or homework regularly. The group revealed that many ESOL students collaborate throughout their educational experience because it is helpful to speak in their native language. It was important students understood their final work product should reflect their knowledge and understanding in the target language. Many students also commented that they did not understand the correlation between completing the study guides and the upcoming tests. After showing them how the study guides actually prepare them for tests, they reported that they used the study guide before taking the test in Biology. The post-test results showed that all students were completing classwork and attempting homework on a regular basis. In the future, we may spend more time observing them in class and provide individual meetings and tutoring sessions. Collaboration with the teacher is essential to set appropriate goals for students.