ACTION PLAN TOPICS AND PARTICIPANTS: Inherent in our urban setting and demographics, students at Marine Leadership Academy (MLA) have experienced high levels of trauma, specific to street violence, gang affiliation, sexual assault and other factors of poverty. We utilized a student needs assessment in collaboration with a district wide survey called the “Five Essentials Survey” to gain insight into our students experiences. In addition to this evidence, outcome data, as well as referrals to counseling and anecdotals were utilized to determine what small groups were needed to support our students well-being and prosperity. Over three department meetings eight small groups were determined to be needed through analysis of all metrics. Curriculum for the small groups was developed and/or selected based on its alignment with the ASCA model and its support of the mindsets and behaviors. Perception data for each group was collected in order to make modifications or other considerations specific to group sessions in the future.
The Genders and Sexualities Alliance small group was created in response to a need identified through the student needs assessment, where students designated sexual orientation and gender identity as well as reasons for being bullied. Participants self-selected into these open groups after outreach directed specifically to students who self-identified as LGBTQ on the needs assessment occurred. The Sexual Assault Survivor Support (SASS) group was created to address the sexual trauma as well as skills for creating healthy boundaries, coping skills, and reacting to stress as identified survivors had high levels of out of school suspensions. Participants were invited to join and screened based on referrals to counseling that included sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. This was a closed group.
Our Attendance Intervention groups and our Anger Management group were created in direct response to school attendance data and behavioral data. This data is monitored on a biweekly basis, so criteria for the groups were set based on students’ attendance percentage (for attendance intervention group) or based on frequency of infractions based on anger (fights, bullying, threatening etc). The attendance intervention groups were open, as participants fluctuated based on attendance percentages. However the anger management group was closed in order to target behaviors of selected students. Our Postsecondary Support groups were open sessions targeted for certain populations to meet their college and career needs. Our Peace Circle groups, both boys’ and girls’, were created in response to a need identified in the Five Essentials survey as well as through anecdotal feedback from MLA staff that students report a high level of gang pressure, gang violence, and/or gang affiliation. We worked with our disciplinary team to identify students and then screened them for appropriateness of fit for the YMCA designed ongoing Peace Circles small group curriculum. These were closed groups in order to support ongoing investment in our most at risk population.
The one way in which our school is distinct from other Chicago Public Schools is in our affiliation with the United States Marine Corps (USMC). As such, students who are not meeting the JROTC standards are placed on probation for six weeks and if they do not improve at all they are transferred out of the school. The Military Probation small group was created to support cadets on probation to ensure they showed growth and were able to stay enrolled at our school. Participants for these closed groups were determined by being placed on probation by the military instructors and the school commandant.
RESULTS REPORT DATA: The results report captures data specific to our SASS group. Perception and outcome data reveal a high level of alignment with ASCA mindsets M-1 and behavior SS-8, as well as our counseling team goals and school goals of increasing feeling safe and decreasing out of school suspensions. As such, when referrals show a need in the future, this group will occur again. However there are a number of ways in which this group may be more effective in the future, including: moving the group to the spring semester, as participant feedback indicated that missing a week due to no school days created gaps in learning; increasing the amount of learning specific to reacting in healthy ways in day to day situations, as participants low level infractions increased despite their level 4-6 out of school suspensions rates decreasing substantially; and finally having group based follow-up support after the group ends as it was requested by participants and supported by evidence showing an increase in infraction rates of participants over time out of the group.