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Byron Nelson High School (2018)

Trophy Club, TX

Closing the Gap

REVISED

Research shows there is a decrease in the academic performance of 9th grade students. Furthermore, Hispanic students, African American students and students from low-income families tend to have higher drop-out rates (Pharris-Ciurej, Hirschman and Willhoft, 2012). The gap was defined by identifying retained 9th grade students who all met state-defined criteria classifying them as at-risk for dropping out of school. Of the group, 61.5% were Hispanic, African American or qualified for the free and reduced lunch program. BNHS school improvement goals include increasing the academic performance of students meeting criteria for the Texas At-Risk Indicator Code. Counselors selected the program goal of increasing the number of classes retained 9th grade students passed to assist with this campus goal and close the gap for this at-risk population.



Counselors created a lesson on goal-setting, study skills, and time management for all 9th grade students but with the retained 9th grade students in mind. Numerous studies show goal-setting increases students’ success rate. For example, one study found goal-setting is especially important for students with low achievement motivation (Horn and Murphy, 1985). Moreover, research also supports study skills are important for positive academic outcomes (Seibert, 2002). Therefore, counselors used the lesson on goal-setting and study skills for the retained 9th grade students to influence their motivation and ability to achieve. Counselors also held individual personal graduation plan (PGP) meetings with all 9th graders, including the retained 9th grade students, and parents were encouraged to attend. Counselors reviewed and discussed graduation requirements, students’ goals, post-secondary education and career plans. Holding PGP meetings is a requirement in Texas for students at-risk of dropping out of school. The PGP meeting is supported by research on the benefits of goal-setting.



Counselors developed the small-group plan focused on the retained 9th grade students and increasing their achievement. Counselors covered goal-setting again based on its researched benefits but also used assessments through Hobsons Naviance to help students identify strengths, personal learning styles and possible careers based on their interests and personalities. The StrengthsExplorer assessment was developed and researched by Gallup. The research shows individuals flourish when they focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. The Learning Style Inventory and Do What You Are instruments are also backed by research according to Hobsons Naviance. Completing these assessments and reviewing the results with the students emphasizes the importance of planning for the future and their academic achievement.



The data reflects the activities were successful based on perception and outcome data. Students reported they benefited from the small group and goal-setting lesson. Outcome data shows the retained 9th graders passed 86% of their classes, exceeding the counseling program goal. There was also a slight decrease in the retention rate comparing retained 9th graders in 2016 – 2017 to 2015 – 2016. Therefore, the data is evidence the activities and interventions were effective, and counselors should continue to deliver them. The data also reflects counselors targeted appropriate ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors with the lesson, small group and PGP meetings. Counselors will continue to use ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors to create and update lessons and interventions. Counselors would like to collect data measuring students’ perceptions showing what impedes their achievement for the next group and will use this information to add activities involving time management, study skills, and other areas to help ensure success with Mindsets and Behaviors guiding the data collection and creation of activities. Counselors will continue to ensure survey questions are consistent with ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors and perception and outcome data are carefully collected and measured.



While counselors are pleased with the results, the data shows there is room for improvement. Counselors theorize there would be a stronger outcome if a follow-up goal-setting lesson was given in the spring semester to encourage students’ motivation, reinforce study skills, and check on the progress of goals students set in the fall. Additionally, counselors believe holding the small group in the fall as opposed to the spring would be more beneficial, giving students more time to utilize strengths and learning styles and work toward goals. Counselors could work with 9th grade teachers to determine needs they see to help improve achievement, and counselors could help them incorporate study skills, organization, and time management activities into their classes. Finally, not all parents could attend PGP meetings for the retained 9th grade students, and counselors believe working to ensure all parents can attend would further students’ achievement. Counselors will look at offering more early morning or evening meetings to accommodate parents’ schedules this school year.

Goal: REVISED - By May 23, 2017 twelve retained 9th grade students (2015-2016) will pass 50% more of their classes from a cumulative group total of 36 courses (2015-2016) to a cumulative group total of 54 courses (2016-2017).

Target Group: Retained 9th grade students

Data Used to Identify Students: 9th grade students with five or less credits at the end of 2015-2016

School Counselor(s): Leah Berry, Natalie Eddleman, Jennifer Martinez, Shannon Nobles, Paige Smith, Marcela Southerland

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): M2, M4, B-LS 1, B-LS 3, B-LS 4, B-SMS 5

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Core-Curriculum: 9th Grade Guidance - Goal Setting and Time Management. Lesson taught in 9th Grade English 1 class. Students participated in large group activity with setting goals, using planners and becoming better time managers. Students will turn work in on time. (45 minutes each) Core-Curriculum: 9th Grade PGP Meetings. Students met one-on-one with counselor and parent, if available, in October - November. Students will complete a four year plan with an endorsement. Small Group: 9th Grade Small Group - Carpe Diem. Students met in small group between March 21st and May 10th. Students participated in 8 sessions for 30 minutes each during primetime.

Process Data (Number of students affected): REVISED - 568 students participated in the Core Curriculum - 9th grade guidance lesson on Goal Setting and Time Management through English 1 classes at 45 minutes each. 447 students completed the post survey. 603 students participated in the Core-Curriculum - 9th grade PGP meetings. 18 9th grade students participated in the Small Group, Carpe Diem, for 8 sessions during primetime for 30 minutes each.

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Core-Curriculum 9th grade guidance on Goal Setting and Time Management - Students report a 15.9% increase that they will use primetime or attend tutorials when needed. Students report a 21.7% increase they will study and work on homework at home three or more times a week. Small Group - 9th grade group - Carpe Diem Pre Survey / Post Survey Students feeling somewhat successful or higher about their school performance increased from 28.6% to 66.7% by the end of the group.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): REVISED - Core-Curriculum 9th grade Goal Setting and Time Management - Achievement – Retained 9th grade students passed 80% of their classes, an increase of 86%. The 2016-2017 9th graders retention rate of students decreased by 50% compared to 2015-2016 9th grade students. 1.6% of 9th grade students were retained in 2016-2017, a decrease in retention compared to 1.9% retained in 2015-2016. Core-Curriculum for 9th grade PGP meetings - 100 % students have a PGP plan Small group - 9th grade Carpe Diem - Students who participated in the group passed 86% of their classes compared to 45% the year before.

Implications: REVISED - The Goal Setting and Time Management lesson was beneficial and counselors believe the content and timing were effective. However, a follow-up lesson needs to take place in the spring to evaluate goals that were set and check on their perception of study skills. A final grade check based on their goals would be beneficial as well. 9th grade teachers’ perceptions could be measured on the causes of academic struggles. Counselors could collect data from current 9th graders about what would have helped them transition from 8th grade to high school. Counselors could work with 9th grade teachers to determine needs they see to help improve achievement, and counselors could help them incorporate study skills, organization, and time management activities into their classes. Meeting individually with every 9th grader is very beneficial. Students sometimes feel overwhelmed with the process of planning out all four years, but counselors took time to discuss options, education goals, post-secondary education and career plans. Parents are educated on the process and the choices the students have. Counselors will look at offering more early morning or evening meetings to accommodate parents’ schedules to increase parent participation. The plan was entered into eSchool under career plan, where the student can view the plan at all times. The PGP meetings will continue to take place in the fall with every 9th grade student. Counselors will collect perception data when meeting with students to determine their understanding of graduation requirements and career pathways. It is difficult to successfully run a small group during a specific time in the day without interfering with other classes, meetings, tutorials, lunches, etc…. The Carpe Diem group met on Wednesdays during primetime. Primetime is a thirty minute window built into the school day, where students can utilize tutorials, seek assistance from others, work on homework, or visit with friends. Some of the group members had other obligations during this time or preferred to visit with friends on some days and did not attend all group sessions. The counseling team is looking at options for other group times this year but will likely continue to use primetime to prevent students from missing instructional time. Counselors can work with students missing group sessions due to visiting with friends and encourage them about the importance of the group relative to their success in school. Counselors could collaborate with the new at-risk coordinator to determine what classes 9th graders are struggling in most.

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