Response to feedback: Though we understand the importance of pre-post assessments for core curriculum, we chose to take turns administering them to each grade level. Ms. Auslin collected pre-post data regarding bullying, Mrs. Diaz collected pre-post regarding study skills and Mrs. Hyman collected pre-post data on attendance. Because we were already collecting school wide perception data regarding bullying through our needs assessment, we felt this approach was sufficient regarding this section. As a counseling team, we designed the needs assessment in conjunction with developing our bullying lessons. Questions in the needs assessment were specifically addressed in grade level lessons. As a needs assessment is a valid form of perception data, we were confident in our data collection.
REVISED Narrative: An analysis of the school counseling core curriculum results report allowed our department to determine the effectiveness of our programs and core curriculum lessons. As well, it provided data necessary to make informed decisions about lessons, small groups, and interventions we would continue using the following year and focused our conversations on program adjustments needed. According to the data collected, we believe the core curriculum results report reflects improvement, as evidenced by our school’s academic, attendance, and discipline referral data.
The data obtained from core curriculum lessons on bullying prevention indicate favorable perception data, and demonstrate the lessons share valuable information about bullying and understanding empathy. The needs assessment directly asked students about their overall experiences at school, the impact they have had on their peers and how they have been impacted by others, and whether they have been bullied or witnessed bullying behavior at school, among many other questions. After reviewing the results, we were encouraged by the number of students who answered positively. However, it did give us some cause to pause and reflect on what students’ responses truly meant and the implications: 1) Could it be, because we are school counselors, we have a biased view of the prevalence of bullying at our school given our close ties to its prevention? 2) Could it be, students responded more favorably because they only responded how they “knew” they should? 3) Could it be, our school really doesn’t have a bullying problem and most of our students treat each other kindly most of the time? Most likely, all three explanations are plausible.
The counselors truly believe our bullying prevention efforts had a positive impact on LMS. After our lessons, students demonstrated a greater understanding of the importance of using assertiveness skills, the differences between bullying/conflict and empathy/sympathy. They demonstrated this through increased use of the language and vocabulary covered in the lessons as well as their ownership of treatment toward their peers and staff. Teachers reported to us that students were increasingly talking about LMS being a ‘No Place For Hate’ school and taking ownership of the school climate.
Additionally, we developed an online Anonymous Bully Report, linked to the school and counseling department websites and introduced it to students during bullying lessons. This tool allows students to feel safer in reporting bullying situations. There were only a few reports submitted during the 16-17 school year, therefore we did not report this as outcome data. We attribute this to students’ increased level of comfort with talking face-to-face with their grade level counselor. Students that utilized the reporting tool, expressed to us appreciation for having this option.
While outcome data revealed improvement in school attendance and academics (GMAS Assessment), discipline referral data did not indicate a favorable outcome. Despite efforts to increase pro-social behavior, discipline data showed an increase in discipline referrals from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. We believe the increase can be attributed to restructuring in administrative duties and responsibilities. In 2015-2016, LMS had only one assistant principal responsible for the school’s discipline. When our principal restructured the administrative team, he assigned grade level discipline to the respective grade level Assistant Principal. After this administrative shift, teachers conveyed our school’s discipline process was more streamlined and efficiently managed, and grade level administrators were more responsive to student discipline concerns. As a result, teachers were more willing to write discipline referrals for rule violations and engaging in disruptive behavior. Because teachers felt more supported by administration, we believe more referrals were written as a result.
The school counseling core curriculum results report provided an opportunity for counselors to reflect on the process, outcome, and perception data gathered last year, equipping counselors with critical information needed to modify core curriculum lesson delivery and content, making necessary adjustments to support program improvement.