Classroom counseling lessons are developed to match our mindsets and behaviors as well as data collected on behavior, attendance, and academic achievement. Our classroom counseling curriculum supports our department's vision and mission that all students should have equal access to our services that help prepare them to be life-long learners, problem-solvers, and model citizens.
The Prejudice and Discrimination was presented to 6th grade students during our annual "Don't Hate Communicate Week." The activities of the week surround celebrating diversity and acceptance and promoting social justice and problem-solving. Prior to the lesson, only 13.9% of students indicated they could give an example of stereotyping, prejudice, and labeling. At the conclusion of the lesson, 70.9% of students could give examples of these key terms. It is important that students understand what it means to stereotype and label others. A clear understanding of these concepts allows students to make better decisions and respect others. Prior to the lesson 54% of students agreed or strongly agreed that they have stereotyped people without realizing it and after the lesson , that percentage jumped to 77.9%. Clearly students increased their understanding of their own behavior. Upon analyzing outcome data for the lesson (we did end up getting access to all office discipline referrals for the year in August!) there were two incidents of harassment and five incidents of bullying reported for December and after the lesson data for February indicated one reported incident of harassment and 4 incidences of bullying. Since we were unable to see the data until the end of the year, it was hard to determine future implications for the lesson.
The resume lesson is taught in all three grades. 6th grade students create their first resume and 7th and 8th grade students add to it each year. Data from the 6th grade lesson indicate that prior to the lesson 45 students found involvement in extra-curricular activities "extremely important" and after the lesson 110 students found involvement "extremely important." Prior to the lesson 6th grade lesson, 25 students decided to "put a plan into action" to get more involved, earn more awards/recognition, and complete community service. After the lesson 125 students decided to "put a plan into action," meaning that 100 more students were going to take steps to enhance their resume. It was hard to assess whether the completion of the resume activity resulted in an increase in student grades (outcome data) because the lesson was done at the end of the year. Perhaps next year, the lesson should be done two months before school ends to see if grades increased as a result. After the 7th grade resume lesson, the 7th grade counselor reported more "hits" on the counseling department website where students could explore volunteer or summer opportunities to gain skills and experience. After the 8th grade lesson, several students asked the 8th grade counselor to be a reference for a summer job, when prior to the lesson she got no such requests. After completion of the resume lesson all counselors communicated with students' parents by sending the resume home with an attached letter, or emailing home directions to access the resume. This is something new that was added and did result in parents communicating with us to get more ideas about helping their children enhance their resumes.
Results from the "Bully, Victim, Bystander" lesson indicated a significant increase in students that understood how to report bullying and those that could name the four rules for bully prevention, after the lesson. After the lesson there was in increase in student reporting of bullying. Perhaps a booster lesson make more students continue to report bullying throughout the year because the number of student reports decrease toward the end of the year. It may be useful to gather some perception data to determine the reason for the decrease.
Looking at the data collection for the lessons, we can certainly make improvements in the type of perception data collected. Gathering more information about students' knowledge, attitude and skill about a certain topic can really help us ascertain whether the lesson was effective. This would have been helpful in the Bullying lesson. Since we have our SWIS data (behavior data) for this year and moving forward, we can look at more perception data to discern whether specific behaviors are affected by the lessons.