Small Group Responsive Services Narrative:
The Mason counselors conduct a variety of small groups throughout the school year. We offer small groups each year based on the changing needs of our students and our school. Students are chosen based on school wide data including our schools “ABC” report (Attendance, Behavior, and Course performance) as well our District Assessments. Students are also selected through recommendations from our SST team. Additionally, students are invited based on needs assessments from teachers as well as parent consultations.
The 20 groups that were selected for the 2016-17 school year addressed a range of topics that included Anger Management, Study Skills, Self Esteem, Changing Families and Friendship Skills. All of our small groups are driven by the selected ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors and support our mission. A separate small group action plan has been included to show the activities used as well as our perception data.
The Anger group highlighted in this section was developed to address our program goal on discipline. When looking at our data from the 2015-16 school year we noticed that our county discipline referrals increased from the year before, specifically “Rule 5” referrals which address physical aggression. We had a total number of 39 referrals from the 2015-16 year with 30 being Rule 5. We provided school wide core curriculum lessons that taught conflict resolution and problem solving skills as well as facilitated small groups to address specific kids that had a discipline referral. All 5 of the second graders in my group had a rule 5 referral from the year before.
I decided to have the group’s focus be on Anger management after consulting with the students’ teachers and parents. I realized that many of these students did not know how to regulate their emotions, especially their anger. My lessons were chosen from the Heart and Mind teaching resources called Anger Management Small Group Counseling Curriculum. The 6 lessons were delivered in 30 minute sessions over 6 weeks from October- December.
Throughout the 6 weeks students learned their anger triggers, explosive vs. peaceful thinking, ways to calm down when they get angry among other strategies. (See lesson plans for more details) Based on the perception data, 100% of my students could identify their anger triggers, ways to calm down and how their body feels when they are getting angry by the end of our group. Also by the end of our group all students understood that anger is a feeling you should not be ashamed of, It is okay to be angry as long as you don’t hurt anybody, and believed that they showed respect for themselves and others.
Outcome data collected from our ABC report showed by the end of the school year that only 2 students out of 12 still had a discipline referral. This is an 87% decrease from the year before. (Our goal was a 5% decrease) Out of my Target group, only one second grade student still had a discipline referral from the previous year. It should be noted that the student who received a discipline referral did so after my group was over and began being served in Special Education at the end of last year.
The small group curriculum and model of delivery successfully addressed the students’ particular needs and helped improve their overall behavior. The data indicates that these students learned healthy coping strategies for dealing with anger and managing emotions. In the future should this group be replicated, I would like to meet with the students for at least 8 sessions and have them “check in” with me weekly after the group is over to see if they are still using the skills they learned in my group. Additionally, I would consider re-vamping my surveys from “T/F” to a continuum scale. This type of pre- ¬assessment will provide more information about the students’ way of thinking and will help to drive the content of the group.