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Lamar Louise Curry Middle School (2018)

Miami, FL

Small Group Responsive Services

REVISED SECTION

The Small-Group interventions reflected the mission of the counseling program as it empowered students equitably to take part in shaping their own future and aligned with our goals of reducing disciplinary referrals (Goal 3), improving attendance (Goal 2) and passing rate (Goal 1). Using a proactive approach, we decided to plan small group interventions to help students work towards a healthy balance of their mental and social-emotional well-being (M 1). The group topics were selected in collaboration with the Leadership team and teachers before school started. We analyzed our school data profile, including the Early Warning System (EWS) and the Discipline Log kept by our SCSI (School Center for Special Instruction) instructor and noted that of the 307 disciplinary infractions in 2015-2016, 48 percent (146) dealt with Disruptive/Defiant/Rude behavior. Group participants were then selected by the counselors, Dr. Matamala and Ms. Ortega, with stakeholder input.

The “Promoting Respect” group targeted students who received 2 or more disciplinary referrals this year. Our SCSI program houses all three grade levels so this group was a mixed grade-level group. We focused on helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary, such as Managing Emotions and Peer Pressure, to be successful in their grade level. The group’s learning objective was for students to learn effective collaboration and cooperation skills (B-SS 6) and the lessons were from StopBullying.com.

A critical response group was “Turn-Around 21!” created to support 21 incoming sixth-graders who experienced great difficulty in transitioning to middle school, as evidenced by more than 20 detentions and 10 referrals within the first quarter. Dr. Matamala adapted lessons from the Florida Crosswalk to revisit basic academic and positive behavior skills (B-SMS 10), including responsibility (B-SMS 1) and perseverance (B-SMS 5).

An 8th grade Career group: “Making Connections” was conducted by Ms. Ortega using the FLDOE Educator’s toolkit to identify academic and career goals (B-LS 7). Supported by teacher recommendations, these 20 students identified “At-Risk” in the EWS were experiencing difficulty in making post-middle school plans (M 4) and academic progress.

The preventive “Decision Making” group conducted during the fall semester included students who had 2 or more suspensions in the previous school year (2015-2016) and students who had 15 or more unexcused absences in (2015-2016). We used the Grab Bag Guidance Curriculum acquired by Dr. Matamala at the ASCA Conference in New Orleans in 2016 as a starting point and adapted the lessons to ensure they were developmentally-appropriate for each grade level. The eighth grade group was split into two separate groups of 10 and 9 students.

The session plans for the “Decision Making” group were guided by ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors. In Session 1: Listening in Decision Making, the ice breaker activity engaged students in individual sharing and encouraged them to demonstrate empathic listening to others (B-SS 4). Our Session 3 activity (5 C’s of Decision making) helped students analyze a situation, think critically to make informed decisions (B-LS 1), and explore social responsibility (B-SS 5). In session 5, the group discussion on “Who influences my decision” highlighted those decisions that resulted in last year’s disciplinary referrals and allowed students to speak about their social maturity (B-SS 9) and how they will approach situations differently now. Using the same perception questions for the small group sessions reinforced new knowledge and attitudes but limited the demonstration of new skills.

The Results Report for the “Decision Making” group compelled the counseling team to dig deeper in the perception data results. There was an increase in knowledge about how to use the decision making process; i.e. from 2 student (8%) to 17 students (90%). Nevertheless, when presented with real-life scenarios, students relied on feelings and peer pressure to make decisions. Adding role-play activities to the lessons will help skill practice. The outcome data revealed positive results: of 19 students who participated, only 3 received disciplinary referrals resulting in 2 or more suspension for the rest of the year. Next year, we plan to continue this preventive small group intervention in a 4-session format starting in September since data shows most disciplinary infractions start in October. Another modification we plan to implement is to use the “Decision Making” sessions in a weekly open group format for those students assigned to SCSI. We also plan to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment given to parents, teachers and students to design our small group interventions plan to expand our focus from reactive to proactive in supporting all students’ academic success, social/emotional growth and college/career readiness.

Group Name: Decision Making:Students as Decision Makers

Goal: Goal 3:By June 2017, the number of students with disciplinary referrals resulting in 2 or more suspensions will decrease by 30 percent from 61 (2015-2016) to 42 (2016-2017)

Target Group: Current 8th grade students who received disciplinary referrals resulting in 2 or more suspensions in 2015-2016

Data Used to Identify Students: Early Warning System (EWS) and Discipline Log for 2015-2016

School Counselor(s): Mariela Matamala

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Domain: Social/ Emotional Mindset: M 1 Behaviors: B-LS 1 B-SS 4 B-SS 5 B-SS 9

Outline of Group Sessions Delivered: Session 1: Decision-Making Good Listening Skills Session 2: Decision-Making Three Main Types of Decisions Session 3: Decision-Making The Five Steps of Making Wise Decisions Session 4: Decision-Making The Difference Between Simple and Complex Decisions Session 5: Decision-Making Factors that Influence Decisions

Process Data (Number of students affected): 8th grade students Group 1 - 10 students Group 2- 9 students Total Number in group: 19

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Pre- and post- small group sessions- perception questions were given to students (session one and session five). The students answered the following eight agree/disagree questions; answers will be collected and analyzed. The students answered the following seven agree/disagree perception questions; answers were collected and analyzed. 1. Making good decisions is an important skill. Pre- 42% Post-90% 48%-Change in attitude 2. I can name at least three main types of decisions. Pre- 12% Post- 88% 76 %- Increase in knowledge 3. I believe the more I learn about myself, the more likely I am to make better decisions. Pre- 21 percent Post- 81 percent 60 %- Change in attitude 4. I can name at least three factors that can influence a decision. Pre- 29 percent Post- 88 percent 59%- Increase in knowledge 5. I know how to weigh the pros and cons before I make a decision. Pre- 8% Post- 72% 64 %- Increase in knowledge 6. I can define the difference between simple and complex decisions. Pre- 4% Post- 85% 81 %- Increase in knowledge 7. I understand how I can use a decision-making process to choose the best decisions for different situations. Pre- 8% Post- 90% 82%- Increase in knowledge

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Pre-intervention August 2016 Number of 8th grade students who received referrals resulting in 2+suspensions during 2015-2016 who participated in small group 19 students Post-intervention June 2017 Number 8th grade students with referrals resulting in 2 or more suspensions 3 students The number of students with referrals resulting in 2 or more suspensions decreased by 84%.

Implications: Delivering this Decision Making group to students who had previously received referrals resulting in two or more suspensions was a proactive approach to meet our Goal 3 of reducing the amount of students receiving behavioral referrals. The original list of 25 students was reduced to 19 students in the 8th grade because 2 students transferred and 4 students did not want to participate in the group. For this small group intervention, two groups of 9 and 10 students were set. The small-group lessons were designed to support the Mindsets and behaviors for students to demonstrate critical thinking and social responsibility when making decisions. In addition, the group lessons encouraged students to demonstrate empathy when listening to others and assess their social maturity when reflecting on the decisions made last year that led to behavioral referrals. Specifically, in terms of improvement in effective decision-making skills, the data revealed that students had a positive change in attitude and an increase in knowledge of how to make good decisions. Outcome data validated our belief that group participants benefited from our decision-making group. The impact on behavior was evident as seen in the reduction of behavioral referrals in the 2016-2017 school year when compared to 2015-2016 school year (see graphs attached). As we monitored students throughout the year, there was a sharp decrease in the amount of students receiving disciplinary referrals who participated in the group. Yet it would be premature to state that the small group intervention was solely responsible for the results. Adolescent maturity and the 8th grade contract students sign at the beginning of the year to participate in all 8th grade activities could also have contributed to the results. The school counselors learned a great deal from delivering these lessons to students. We realized that these lessons, even if in a modified form, should be planned for all students but the content should be modified to include more role-plays of different scenarios pertinent to students. This year we proactively addressed 8th grade and 7th grade students because we had previous year’s data. For the 2017-2018 school year, we plan to continue implementing this group in 4 sessions starting in September since disciplinary data shows that most disciplinary infractions start in October. We also plan to use the content of these lessons as an ongoing, open group that meets weekly to address those students assigned to SCSI. Also we developed a Behavior Reflection form for students to identify their problem behavior, alternate behavior, and a prevention plan for the future to be completed in SCSI.

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