“Explore Growth Mindset” was delivered to all 7th grade students. The mindset lesson was driven by our program goal of reducing the number of students who earned a GPA of 2.0 or below by 25% for the 16-17 school year and supported our school-wide programming of Character Traits for Success.
Lesson content focused on expanding student knowledge of growth versus fixed mindset and an examination of attitudes related to work and learning. Results from the pre-test and post-test found that students demonstrated an increased ability to identify growth mindset in action and an improvement of growth attitudes in themselves. Outcome data shows an overall decrease in the number of students who earned a GPA of 2.0 or below from 15-16 to 16-17 school year. Lesson delivery will be scheduled for end of September / early October of the 17-18 year. Data collection improvements consist of narrowing pre-/post assessment down to ten total questions.
The four Year Plan and Post Secondary Pathways lesson was given to all 8th grade students. A parent survey indicated primary concerns related to post secondary planning. High school counselors shared that incoming sophomores are often unaware of graduation requirements, nor do they have much knowledge of options after high school beyond a traditional four year university. Improvements in the 4 Year Plan lesson for the 16-17 school year were guided by our academic goal of reducing the number of students who do not meet high school GPA requirements.
Lesson delivery include a review of high school graduation requirements and a discussion on post secondary possibilities and financial resources available. Four year plans were made using Google Docs and will be organized into a folder and shared with high school counselors. Pre-test and post-test data demonstrated an increase in student knowledge of high school graduation requirements and educational possibilities once graduated. Outcome data shows that overall, students in grades 7-9 performed better academically during the 16-17 school year.
Moving four year plans to a digital format will no doubt aid in student transitions to high school and assist high school counselors in academic and career planning. Future improvements include more closely tying four year plans to career interest assessments and lesson plans and to increase communication with families in regards to how to access their students digital plan. In light of positive perception findings, South counselors will evaluate core curriculum programming to include specific materials on post secondary pathways at all grade levels.
The Character Traits for Success lesson was delivered to all students grades 7-9. The initial classroom lesson was supported throughout the year with monthly recognition for students demonstrating the identified character trait for that month. Character Traits for Success are based on the research findings summarized in Paul Tough’s book, “How Children Succeed.” Character trait programming was developed in partnership with South teachers and administration to address academic and behavioral goals for the 16-17 school year.
Lesson content centered on improving the knowledge of what character traits are most likely to lead to students being successful in life, and the important role our mindset plays in overcoming barriers in pursuit of short and long-term goals. An end of the year survey indicates that students identified character traits for success with 90% accuracy. 63% of students correctly identified a growth mindset. Roughly 60% of students responded that learning about the character traits helped them overcome challenges in route to a more successful year. The number of students who earned a GPA of 2.0 or below fell from 90 students in 15-16 school year to 60 total for the 16-17 school year, a decrease of 36%. Behavioral referrals fell by 40% from 189 in 15-16 to 114 in 16-17. Unfortunately, fighting referrals increased, from 33 referrals in 15-16 to 39 referrals in 16-17.
Additional programming in both the initial classroom lesson as well as services throughout the year needs to explain both growth and fixed more clearly. Programming must be careful that character traits do not become interpreted as something you “have” or “don’t have.” Character Traits For Success will be continued and expanded for 17-18 school year. Proposed improvements include teachers recognizing any of the seven success traits if witnessed, regardless of month. Evaluation procedures will also be improved, with grade specific end of the year surveys given to improve data utility and the addition of a second perception data assessment that will be given pre/post the initial classroom lesson.