Small groups were created based on meeting the needs of our program goals and our closing the gap goal. Each team was tailored to meet the developmental needs of the targeted grade level population.
Our Project Success Academic groups were an intervention to address program goals two and three specifically. Multiple Project Success Academic groups were held across grade levels throughout the year. Participants met the criteria of having a level of performance as a beginning learner on the 2016 ELA/Reading and Math portion on the Georgia Milestones. After meeting individually with all scholars from the target population and consulting with teachers, each grade level counselor divided the target population into groups based on individual personalities and academic strengths and weaknesses. Topics for the group sessions were selected based on the program goals (equipping scholars with information necessary to move from one level of performance to the next) and on the ASCA indicators. Project Success Academic groups focused on the "soft" skills required to obtain and retain academic knowledge including homework tips, organization, time management, study skills, and test-taking tips. Both the perception and outcome data from the small groups indicated that scholars not only acquired skills necessary for academic success (their scores increased from the pre- to post-evaluation) but that they were also able to apply the concepts learned in the classroom (100 % of scholars met a level of performance criteria). This small group was repeated during the second semester and will also be repeated during the 2017-18 school year.
Participants in the Project Algebra Peer Tutoring groups were selected based on math grades and teacher recommendations and met for two to six weeks at various times throughout the year. Counselors, along with trained peer tutors and math teachers, facilitated the groups and focused on specific math concepts, and study/organization skills. Process data were collected through a post-evaluation given to scholars, their parents, and their math teachers. 84% of scholars, 97% of parents, and 100% of teachers indicated that they believed the tutoring group was successful in improving their math performance. Outcome data showed that group members earned passing scores on benchmarks, common assessments, and their overall math grades improved. Because the level of math classes in eighth grade varies significantly, teacher-directed instruction and tutoring were a more appropriate intervention. Based on the individual scholar improvements tutoring groups will continue to be a part of our counseling program. We plan to offer more tutoring sessions in seventh grade next year and to solicit more assistance from math teachers and the Algebra Project Partnership to be able to address higher level math content questions.
Judge Patsy Porter Peer Leadership is a small group that met during school every first, second and third Fridays each month from October – May, covering leadership skills, team building, communication skills, tutoring skills, mentoring techniques and scholar advocacy. Peer Leaders were selected based on an application process. Process data included a post-evaluation given to teachers who worked with Peer Leaders and a reflection activity in which Peer Leaders could share three practical leadership skills they learned throughout their training. Scholars noted increased confidence, increased the ability to peer advocates successfully, and increased the ability to communicate with peers and adults. Teachers indicated the Peer Leaders they worked with were honest, dependable and helped classrooms run more smoothly. Based on this data, JPPL will continue next year. We plan to increase electronic communication with Peer Leaders to keep them well informed of their leadership responsibilities.
Project Manhood and G.O.L.D (Girls of Leadership and Distinction) met for four weeks in September. Participants in this group were recommended by parents and teachers but joined the group on their own. This group met on Friday during school (9:05-10:05) and covered a variety of topics such as learning styles, study skills, and test-taking tips. Pre-and post-evaluations indicated that small group members enjoyed the group, felt more confident in the classroom because of techniques learned during group, and felt more confident in the relationships established and fostered during the group process. We plan to continue this group next year and run an additional group second semester. Additionally, we will increase advertising of the group meetings to improve participation. While specific academic outcome data isn't available for the two groups, the perception data collected indicates that these groups created positive self-esteem changes and will be included in future counseling programs.