Delivering and analyzing core curriculum activities designed to address student needs is one way to ensure the alignment of services with the mission and vision as well as supporting the continued growth of the comprehensive counseling program at Woodland. With this focus in mind the lessons selected focus on two of the program goals for this school year as a way to measure their effectiveness and inform next steps.
Lesson 1: emotions management. This lesson supports the goal of reducing 2nd grade behavior referrals. Spring data showed that these students had the highest number of referrals (38). Those referrals were predominately for hands on behavior. Data combined with conversations with staff clarified that our students needed to learn skills to calm down and make positive choices to handle conflicts. This lesson teaches students the hand brain model and what happens to the brain when feeling get big. We learn the first two strategies for calming down. As we practice those steps we use our hand brain to show how the feelings part of the brain begins to get tucked back in and wrapped with our thinking brain. This lesson and the whole series of lessons proved to be very effective in reducing referrals. While we only had detailed data from spring trimester last year, we can see a reduction. When comparing spring trimester data there was a reduction from 38 incidents last spring (pre) to 9 this spring (post)representing a 76% reduction. Our total discipline referrals for this group this year was 27, 11 fewer than in the spring 2016 trimester alone. While the program goal was focused on second grade, we saw reductions across all grade levels. Total referrals for all grades in the spring 2016 were 168 compared to 60 for spring 2017. We will continue to move towards schoolwide implementation of Second Step adding 5thamd 6th grade to the calendar. Since most of the referrals occur on the playground we found it important to train the recess staff and provide visual reminders for students of the steps and positive choices to solve problems. Based on the effectiveness of these strategies I will plan a refresher training for recess staff.
Goal 2- Increasing 5th grade academic achievement was supported through the two lessons highlighted here as well as small group support as part of our closing the gap plan.
The 5th grade cohort was identified as having the lowest performance on the Smarter Balanced Assessment as 3rd graders and they have been a focus as they have progressed. I delivered a unit focused on growth mindset coupled with small group sessions in existing intervention groups. Observations by teachers were that as a group these students did not have skills to persist with a task once it became difficult. They did not get frustrated but would answer with a question mark or sit doing no work. Pretest data supports that with only 12 students (pre) and 13(post) stating that they get easily frustrated. The first lesson focused on teaching students how their brain works and the role that neurons play in the learning process. Emerging research states that students who understand how their brains work, in particular that neuron connections happen when they struggle with a concept and keep trying, have better academic outcomes. This particular lesson was effective with an increase in students reporting they understood how their brain works (21 students pre, 59 students post an increase of 37%)
The second lesson focused on strategies to develop persistence and determination. Students were introduced to the concept of the dip. Students reflected on emotions management strategies and asking for help strategies - 100% of students were able to complete the worksheet with at least two strategies they could utilize. Moving forward, I realized that the pretest does not address this, I will plan to modify the pretest to measure this portion of the unit. This unit proved to be effective with 80% meeting standard on the SBA up from 57% last year. This is a 23% increase and our goal was 15%. Sharing progress towards this goal with staff has resulted in school wide interest in a focus on growth mindset. Professional development will be focused on this and I will deliver this unit as core curriculum for grades 3-6 in the upcoming year. This group of students will need continued support to maintain their progress so their classroom lessons have been moved to the fall to ensure continued focus on growth mindset.