The achievement gap we chose to close was identified based on a disaggregation of data related to our program goals. As we reviewed our data, we realized we had a significant number of students failing courses after the first nine weeks of school. After reviewing our data at the end of the first nine weeks, we had 101 total students who failed two academic classes the first nine weeks of school.
Each counselor met with the students failing two subjects on their caseload. Each counselor helped the failing students in sixth through eighth grades develop an improvement plan. The improvement plan focused on assisting students process the roadblocks they felt kept them from passing. The counselors assisted each student construct smart goals set to help them achieve a passing grade in each class. The smart goals consisted of a specific goal, specific actions to reach the goal, dates for progress checks, lists of obstacles, persons who can help, the incremental dates for achieving overall goal, and reasons why the goal is important. Each student received a copy of their smart goals, and another copy was given to students for parents to sign and review.
The counselors met with each identified student twice per nine weeks after the initial meeting to review the goals, actions, and obstacles. The students and counselors discussed the expected obstacles and brainstormed ways to solve the problems presented with obstacles. The counselors provided students with options for before school tutoring and suggestions for advocating for themselves in the classroom when the curriculum is difficult for them to understand. Many of the students who were willing received peer leaders to tutor them during a basic training time during the school day.
The counselors met with these students twice during each nine weeks providing feedback and support. These students were also met with during individual counseling as needed. The counselors also attended parent conferences on early release days for these students.
Pre- and post- test data from the SMART Goals Advisement indicated that 86% of students believed that participating in the Smart Goals Advisement sessions helped them to pass their previously failing classes. 94% of the targeted students’ teachers indicated that the SMART Goals Advisement Sessions helped their students to pass their previously failing classes. 91% of the targeted students’ parents indicated that the SMART Goals Advisement Sessions helped their children pass their previously failing classes.
Of the 101 targeted students, 74.3% students passed at least one of the two previously failed classes. 46.5& of the targeted 101 students passed both of the previously failed classes. Based on this data, the interventions proved to successfully help students pass at least one of the failed classes. Even though we fell slightly short of our goal of 50% of student bringing up both failing classes, we believe the intervention still had a significant impact on the percentage of students who passed previously failing classes. These students will continue to be monitored during the 2017-2018 school year. We plan to continue this intervention with all students in sixth through eighth grades in the 2017-2018 school year. We plan to continue to use the SMART Goals Advisement Sessions, and we plan to continue to use our peer leaders to serve as tutors for these students. One piece we believe that we need to add is a way to involve parents more in this process for our failing students. During the 2017-2018 school year, the counselors are planning to do coffee with the counselors before school once a month and target these parents so we can have more open dialogue regarding ways to assist students with failing grades.