Closing-the-Gap Results Report Narrative:
Soldotna High School Counselors identified gap data by examining end of year reports from the district’s student information system (PowerSchool) that showed students behind in credits. Counselors identified seniors in the class of 2017 with less than 16 credits, which the district deems at the number of credits to be deficient. In August of 2016, counselors recommended specific students for admission to the district’s alternative school, which is a drop-out prevention program targeting students deficient in credits. Several of the students in the identified deficient group did choose to transfer to the alternative school, and several chose to transfer to the district home school program. By mid-September, Soldotna High School had 12 students enrolled with less than 16 credits.
Since one of the district’s goals was to increase the graduation rate, counselors decided to focus on this group of students for closing-the-gap activities. Counselors wanted to increase their sense of belonging (mindset 3), increase their belief that attendance is important, and increase their achievement. While many of the interventions in place for students are a school-wide effort, counselors wanted to pin point the specific actions and interventions school counselors can take to have an impact on student achievement. Counselors documented the various interventions in a database so that the district can track which interventions are making an impact. Best practice interventions included letters/phone calls to parents, repeated check-ins with school counselors, credit recovery classes, alternative scheduling, and the school-within-a-school alternative program (see 11.1 action plan). Unfortunately, counselors did not meet their goal, as 2 of the 12 students did not graduate. However, our district’s goal was positively impacted by the 10 students who did graduate. Soldotna High School school has consistently been above the district’s graduation rate trend (11.4 outcome data) and the department celebrates its contribution to increasing the overall district graduation rate.
Counselors conducted a perception survey (see 11.3b) and were a little taken aback that the perception data numbers actually decreased in the mid-year survey in two of the five areas (see 11.3a perception data chart). Overall, perception data was positive and encouraging, but counselors did not feel that they thoroughly addressed the social and emotional needs of this focus group. The next steps include implementing a small group for seniors that runs for 6 weeks first semester and 6 weeks second semester. Counselors will run this group in collaboration with the School Interventionist Teacher and the Soldotna Alterative (S.Alt) school-within-a-school program here at Soldotna High School. Counselors also created a check-in check list to guide counselors in their one-on-one meetings with students in this group in the future (see 11.5).