The Nokesville School (2018)

Nokesville, VA

Small Group Responsive Services

The School Counseling Department conducts small groups for prevention, intervention, crisis response, and to address Gap groups. At the beginning of the year, in collaboration with stakeholders, data points are reviewed along with program components. Using that information, a year-long calendar, action plan, and topic list are developed for both the Core Curriculum and the Small Groups.

For example, the fourth grade “Skill Building” group members were chosen based on reading standardized test scores, which were just barely failing or just barely passing. We were also cognizant to include students who do not receive services with Special Education. An additional fourth grade “Skill Building #2” was formed, using the same testing score criteria and focusing on students who were being referred to Intervention Team, a process to provide interventions prior to testing and Special Education Services. Both of those groups received lessons covering academic success skills like organization, time management, as well as social skills, and emotion management.

In addition to skill building, another significant need for students was grief support. Based on informal measures and a student death in the 2015-2016 year, as well as another student death in the Winter of 2017, roughly 30% of our students reported a significant death that affects them. Based on feedback from the School Counseling Advisory Council and continued data support, subsequent years will continue to have a “Hope and Healing” group to address those in the grieving process.

When lessons were developed for the small groups, the data points used were both the ones used to build the Foundational Documents, grade level Mindsets and Behaviors, as well as the initial inventories from parents, teachers, and students. Formative assessments were conducted throughout the sessions to adjust lessons, maximizing psychoeducational instruction time.

Some factors to note are that formalized small groups were conducted more frequently in the elementary grades than the middle school grades, which only had one small group. To deliver better service next year, the Middle School Counselor will proactively plan for more small groups. She serves as both the Counseling Director and School Counselor for middle school students. She joined the staff at the end of October and spent a significant portion of time on the master schedule, student scheduling, Director Meetings, and reactively working with individual students, etc.. In moving forward for the next school year, the School Counseling Department will collaborate with the school psychologist and school social worker to triage higher need students, thus allowing more time for small group counseling. The counselors are also planning on a “K-8 Ambassador” group, a middle school leadership league, as well as starting a “No Place for Hate” committee.

Formal reports (see various GRIPs) were written for many of the small groups conducted, to continually practice reflecting on the implications for the school counseling program. They communicated completion of different activities throughout the year and School Counseling Department’s impact on students and the school. Administrators valued the accountability and the reference to data on a regular basis because it enabled them to advocate for us at a division level, as well as assisted in maintaining our agreed upon time allocations. Very rarely did the administrators make requests of the counseling team that were outside of best practice for counselor responsibilities because they could regularly see the difference we were making.

In reflecting on the overall School Counseling Program, both counselors see an increased need for groups, particularly in the fall to proactively address at-risk students. If some of their needs are met and skills are developed at the beginning, it may set them up for more success as the school year progresses. To that end, coordinating Holiday Help will become a task for service organizations within the school rather than the school counselors’ responsibilities. This will free up a good portion of time so small groups can begin earlier in the school year. Additionally, collaborating and coordinating with other mental health providers in the building will also help to ensure that students’ needs are being met in the most effective and efficient way.

Group Name: 4th gr Skill Building Group #2 (Boys)

Goal: Academic - By June 2017, students who are currently in 4th grade will increase the Reading SOL pass rate by 8.84%, from 82.69% (as third graders) to 90%.

Target Group: Students who just barely failed/barely passed Reading SOL scores (385-415), students who were being referred for Intervention Team

Data Used to Identify Students: Reading SOL scores

School Counselor(s): Kelly Kaczmarczyk

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Academic, Social/Emotional: M2, M6, B-LS3, B-SMS1, B-SMS2, B-SMS6, B-SS6

Outline of Group Sessions Delivered: Session 1 -Introductions, group purpose, establish rules, conduct pre-inventory. Session 2 – Academic Success Skills- organization – create desk map, checklist for book bag/home, study skills – complete/create anchor chart together of do’s don’ts, use notes from core subject areas to review creating charts/graphic organizers for studying, time management – blank schedule, brainstorm activities, prioritize and plug them into planners/calendars. Session 3 – Mindset - Introduce growth mind-set using raw spaghetti vs. pipe cleaner, discuss expectations and things not turning out the way they thought, practice changing fixed mindset phrases into growth mindset phrases, reflect how this growth mindset could help with success. Session 4 – Self regulation - review Growth Mindset, introduce information about the brain using Mind Up curriculum – Prefrontal Cortex, Amygdala, Hippocampus complete neural pathways activities – using thread, dental floss, string, rope, discuss how mindset and self-talk impact performance. Session 5 – Handling Strong Feeling - review parts of brain, discuss Amygdala, physical symptoms of strong feelings, create menu of anger/strong feeling coping skills (C.O.P. – Chill Out Plan), brainstorm strategies and go over the following additional techniques. Session 6 – Self Esteem - Read and discuss Don’t Feed the Monster on Tuesdays by Moser, practice picking out negative self-talk and turn them into growth mindset phrases. Session 7 – Friendship - discuss personal space, review poster with “How to Apologize", discuss expected vs unexpected behaviors and how they affect others, play “Too Much Too Little Just Right” Game. Session 8 – Wrap Up - review lessons, reflect on growth, conduct post-inventory, student choice activity

Process Data (Number of students affected): 3 students

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Parent, Student, Teacher Pre-Post Survey from Creative Approaches for Counseling Individual Children by Diane Senn, pgs 38-41 According to student reports - 12.6% increase in self-esteem, 16.28% increase in relationships, 16% increase in school success skills. Teacher reports - 25.15% increase in student self-esteem, 6.25% increase in student relationships, 2.43% increase in student school success skills Parent reports – one parent completed a post-inventory-33.92% increase in student self-esteem, 5.46% decrease in student relationships, 9.39% increase in student self-esteem

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): SOL pass rate as 3rd graders = 82.69% SOL pass rate as 4th graders = 87.27% Results = Increase of 5.54%, goal not met

Implications: • Both teacher and student perception data points indicate an improvement in all three areas – self, self and others, and self and school, however, see next bullet point. • Only one of the families returned a post-inventory. Having feedback from all settings would be helpful to show growth, especially if the referrals came from parents. • It would also be helpful to create a specific inventory based on the objectives and goals to more accurately measure against what the group purpose is, rather than using a generic one. • Two of the three students had an increase in behavioral outburst, particularly in March-May, both had Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans completed. During that time, one student had been removed from medication. All three students were found to be eligible for Special Education Services and at the time of this report, IEPs were in the process of being written. • Based on informal observations, these students did not transfer skills from group to the classroom. Consultation with the school division’s Behavior Specialist may be more helpful in the future. • Resource materials were sent home and it would be helpful for families to reinforce concepts at home. There is no information if that occurred. • The Outcome Data (Reading SOL pass rate) indicates that 100% of the participants in the group increased their score compared to their score from 3rd grade. • Many factors can contribute to the growth in Reading such as maturation, student/teacher relationship, classroom dynamic, personal life factors. • For next school year, counselor will track data more comprehensively, such as one spreadsheet with multiple factors listed like – grades, attendance, referrals, etc. The counselor will monitor this list and target students throughout the year to add into groups rather than just choosing a select few at the beginning of the year.