The Counseling Department runs groups year-round with a focus in addressing behaviors (such as poor school attendance and behaviors inappropriate for the school setting) that are barriers to educational success. Student needs are the driving factor in determining what groups we offer; Need is measured through perception of the student themself and other staff, as well as attendance data, referral data, and overall school achievement data. Students are referred to the team from a number of sources, including student request, teachers, parents, and school staff members. All students are considered for inclusion, then prioritized by level of need, current level of support, and appropriateness for group intervention.
Counselors work together to provide needed social/emotional supports. We deliver group services in pairs so that groups can occur despite absences or crisis. We debrief after every session in pairs for planning purposes. We have found that things like room selection, how passes are distributed, where the group meeting is held, who can attend that week and the room setup can impact the success of the group. Pre/Post surveys for each counseling group to determine our impact so we are able to determine whether or not the group met the goal of increasing student participants’ knowledge and functioning in the area of need. We also debrief as a team to determine how we can improve our service delivery moving forward. The results we get in debriefing sessions between facilitators, survey data, observations by our Administrators, and formal and informal feedback from students and parents all serve to help refine our process for selecting who is chosen for groups, what groups are run during the year, and what specific mindsets and behaviors are addressed.
The following groups ran in the fall and spring:
Anger Management (girls and boys), which focused on M and B M:1- and B-SMS 2. The goal of the group was to reduce number of referrals.
Anxiety, which focused on M and B M:1 and B-SMS 2. The goal of the group was to reduce anxiety symptoms to help students remain in the classroom.
Grief, which focused on M and B M:1 and B-SMS 2. The goal of the group was to process the emotions attached to recent losses to increase comfort and success in school.
Impulse Control, which focused on M and B M:1 and B-SMS 2. The goal of this group was to reduce the number of referrals.
Looking specifically at the Anxiety Small Group, we selected students whose attendance in class or school had been impacted by their anxiety. All such students were invited, although they did not all elect to participate. We had a total of 13 students who participated in the first semester, and because they found the group to be a source of support and fellowship, nine elected to continue coming to group the following semester. Four of the nine students were able to attend school and remain in the classroom setting more often as a result of participating in group.
We serviced 96 students combined over the course of the school year in small group sessions, which is a small number in comparison to the number of students in attendance at BHS (over 3600). There was success with our outcome data from groups. For example, 60 students were part of either our Anger Management for Impulse Control groups; the group average was 1.43 referrals for the school year. Knowing this, the team will look at attendance, grade, and referral data, along with data from a SEL screener students will take in the fall of 2017, to assess greatest area of need and focus in on those GAN’s for group creation moving forward. There is a dedication to creating new small-group opportunities, both through building clinicians and with the partnership with a counseling agency within the community who will be delivering services to students during the school day next year.