South Junior High School (2018)

Boise, ID

Small Group Responsive Services

The seven group offerings for the 16-17 school year were driven by South Counseling’s program goals and reflect the unique needs of our students. The Small Group Action Plan’s focus on groups in the Social/Emotional domain is directly tied to our program goal of reducing behavioral referrals, while the academic skills and Samson Life Challenge group are a reflection of our second program goal, to decrease the number of students failing to meet high school graduation requirements. Group topics were selected based on school data summaries, programming goals, and with feedback from parents, administration, and teachers. Group sign up occurred through a Google survey given to all students. Additional follow up by counselors based on student or parent request, teacher or administrator recommendation, or counselor inquiry followed the initial group sign up.

Girls in Real Life Situations (G.I.R.L.S.), Wise Guys, and Coaching Boys Into Men small group offerings were primarily focused on promoting healthy and respectful behavior towards oneself, one’s peers, and one’s significant others. Feedback collected from South staff and families at the beginning of the 16-17 school year indicated increased concerns with the relational health of South students. Additionally, school climate survey results from 15-16 indicated that students often felt unsafe as a result of aggressive verbal and physical student behavior. This reality was supported by a behavioral referral summary report that indicated nearly 200 referrals to South Administration for aggressive, bullying, or violent behavior.

A Mindfulness group was developed for students struggling with high levels of stress or anxiety. Overwhelming stress and/or anxiety account for a significant number of counselor request slips. Additionally, during informal discussions with students who had attendance, academic, or behavioral struggles during the 15-16 year, feeling “stressed out,” “on edge”, or “losing my cool” were identified as some of the reasons for their struggles.

Alateen is a group available to all students that offers a community of support for anyone who has a family member that is abusing drugs or alcohol. Providing a space for support, guidance, and friendship is central to the vision of the South Counseling program that ALL students find significance in their contributions that improve our world.

Academic Support small groups were delivered at each grade level. Group participation was on a per quarter basis and voluntary. Participants were identified through self-referral, teacher recommendation and quarterly report cards. Group curriculum consisted of an academic skills pre-/post-test and weekly activities aimed at increasing motivation, clarifying goals, and improving organizational or study skills. Samson Life Challenge was developed at semester in partnership with the Samson Life community organization. The group focused on identified 7th graders who were experiencing academic or behavioral challenges in quarters 1-3, but had declined participation in any small group offerings. Personal requests by the groups community partner were made to the students and families.

Wise Guys lesson plans focused on an exploration of gender norms, values, attitudes towards relationships with peers and significant others, and communication strategies to address disagreements without increasing conflicts. Curriculum differs between 7th and 9th grade groups, as developmentally appropriate. Group lesson plans were driven by the selected mindset, “Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well being.” Thus, group lessons sought to explore participants attitudes towards each area of wellness, while also increasing their knowledge of the forces that shape their attitudes. The ability to use mature and appropriate behavior to make responsible and ethical decisions springs from our focus on the development of the whole self. A pre-/post-test was used to assess group participants attitudes towards mature and appropriate decisions while also attempting to capture their knowledge of responsible alternatives.

The Results Report developed for the 9th grade Wise Guys Small Group illuminated multiple items for further examination. Although outcome data indicated a reduction in behavioral referrals for group participants, the counselors do not feel the selected outcome data measure fully captures potential positive effects of the group. Additionally, with several different interventions being delivered at the classroom and school-wide level it is difficult to gauge the Wise Guys groups specific impact on a reduction in negative behaviors. Future changes to group curriculum includes an expansion to 10 total lessons, with increased emphasis on role playing, conflict management, and sexual health. Future pre/post assessment measures would be updated to evaluate additional lessons. Overall, Wise Guys was viewed by students, counselors, and administration as an effective intervention that should be continued.

Group Name: Wise Guys

Goal: By June 2, 2017, disciplinary referrals for aggressive or unsafe behavior in grades 7th through 9th will decrease by 35% from 189 referrals (2015-2016) to 123 (2016-2017).

Target Group: 9th grade male students

Data Used to Identify Students: Behavioral referrals in Student Information System. Parent, teacher, administration, counselor, or student self referral

School Counselor(s): Lane

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Social / Emotional M1 B-SS 5 B-SS 9

Outline of Group Sessions Delivered: 1. Welcome and pre-test 2. Masculinity - The “Man Box” 3. Risk Continuum 4. Values & Family Messages 5. Relationship Cycle 6. Power and Control 7. Assertiveness: Standing Up For Yourself Without Putting Others Down 8. Wrap-up and post-test

Process Data (Number of students affected): 10 students

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Society can “box-in” a man’s behavior. Agree Pre - 40% Agree Post - 80% Arguments are won or lost Agree Pre - 100% Agree Post - 70% Aggressive behavior to protect manhood Agree Pre - 90% Agree Post - 70% Understand forces that shape values Agree Pre - 20% Agree Post - 100% Man makes all decisions in a relationship Agree Pre - 30% Agree Post - 10% A man must take dangerous risks Agree Pre - 70% Agree Post - 70% Thought about how values influence behavior Agree Pre - 20% Agree Post - 100% Manage conflict effectively Agree Pre - 60% Agree Post - 70% Thought about man to become Agree Pre - 60% Agree Post - 90% Push others to take risks Agree Pre - 80% Agree Post - 70% Guilty or jealousy as abuse Agree Pre - 20% Agree Post 50%

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Total number of behavioral referrals documented in student information system (SIS) for 10 group participates prior to group (quarter 1) = 9 Total number of behavioral referrals documented in SIS for 10 group participants while participating in group (quarter 2) = 3 Total number of documented behavioral referrals for group participants after the completion of group (quarters 3 & 4) = 3 Behavioral referrals fell by 40% from 189 in 15-16 to 114 in 16-17. Fighting referrals increased, from 33 referrals in 15-16 to 39 referrals in 16-17.

Implications: Behavioral referrals per quarter saw reductions while group was in process as as well post group when compared to pre group referrals quarter one. Although counselors are pleased with the decrease in behavioral referrals, the number of “low level’ peer conflicts participants were involved in as well as overall relational health with significant others is difficult to fully capture with outcome data. Additionally, due to a number of different interventions to improve school climate and reduce behavioral referrals, it is difficult to say to what extent the Wise Guys group contributed to the reduction in behavioral referrals from quarter 1 to quarters 2-4. Counselors will reevaluate Wise Guys for the 17-18 school year to include additional lessons that focus on increasing conflict management skills building and assertiveness training. Group will move from 8 planned sessions to 10. Group will work to include all grades.