In attempting to meet the needs of all students, we reviewed data from the school year 2015-2016 needs assessment. Along with the needs assessment, we also collaborated with our administration and teachers to identify unique concerns raised by our students. Each counselor in our department created an individual lesson to address societal issues and academic needs. Lessons on cultural bias, cyber-bullying, calculating a HOPE GPA, recognizing bullies, resiliency, and mental health awareness are just a few issues we touched upon. Data from each lesson helped us review the particular topics to determine how effective each lesson was for our students. After our individual lessons we found that our students became more culturally competent, used knowledge from the sessions to increase their overall GPA and HOPE eligibility status, as well as increased their knowledge of the different types of bullying while feeling comfortable reporting stress and bullying to appropriate faculty and staff in the building. We plan to continue to use the Mindset standards with our students to help them with their belief of development of their whole selves, and with their ability to succeed in their quest to become life-long learners.
Data from our grade-specific mandated core-curriculum lessons for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders also proved efficient. As a result of our senior lessons, 68.6% of 12th graders attended a 4-year college, 18.5% attended a 2-year school, 5.3% of students decided to enlist in the military, 5.9% of students went into the job force, while only 1.7% chose alternative paths at graduation. We were able to help our junior class reduce their retention rate from 21% to 7.32%. Our sophomores had a 99% completion rate of their college and career activities through our County Bridge Bill completion. And finally, 98% of our 9th graders were able to successfully complete their 4-year Individual Graduation Plan (IGP). The data results collected from core curriculum gave us positive feedback on our delivery of lessons. Data suggested that students would like more in-depth understanding of each component and we plan to adjust our lessons accordingly to be more effective. We also plan to continue this format of lesson delivery for an in-depth understanding of the topic for our students.
We chose to offer a curriculum based on the work of Dr. Ken Ginsberg and his work 7 C’s of Resilience from his work on Building Resilience in Children and Teens. This curriculum was chosen due to the direct and succinct delivery of the material along with the relevance of the C’s to the everyday experience of our students. Like most schools, our school is an eclectic mix of students from diverse socioeconomic situations and experiences that demand require varying levels of involvement from us. When checking for understanding of 7 C’s of Resilience, we found that only 55% of the students could define resilience while less than 50% could define competence or give examples of control. More than 75% of students could define confidence, connection, and character as well as identify a positive way to cope. The last question given to the students was short answer. The question asked, “Do you feel that the Counseling Office should present more information on resilience and similar concepts/ideas in the future? Results showed that 70% students believed, YES that the information and similar concepts should be presented in the future.
At the end of the intervention, 92.65% of students are on track to be classified as 12th Graders during the 2017-2018 School Year. We were able to reduce the retention rate of off-track students from 21% at the start of our intervention to 7.35% at the end of our intervention, surpassing our goal of reaching 10%. Though we reached our retention goal, our concern is that we did not get the desired perception knowledge of the Resilience curriculum from the students. With mental health issues increasing among adolescents, as a Department we would like to continue to find ways to meet this student need. We will consider adding new mental health and social/emotional goals into our programming for the next school year. We will also seek feedback from our stakeholders during our next Counselor Advisory meeting regarding ways to take care of our student’s well-being.
Our team will continue to review results from our programming to continue to meet the demands of our student population. Our ultimate goal is to provide academic, personal/social, and career needs of all our students at McEachern High School until they walk across the stage at graduation.