Every year, I select small groups for my action plan based on two criteria. First, I always send out a needs assessment and give students the option to sign up for a small group that they feel would be beneficial for them. Secondly, sometimes we require students to participate in a small group based on academic, achievement, attendance, or social/emotional concerns.
Meditation Group, Self-Esteem Group, and Stress Management Group were all offered in Fall 2017. Meditation Group focused on breathing techniques, coping thoughts/skills, and de-stressing activities. Stress Management Group focused on identifying triggers and reactions to stress, creating stress care plans, managing thought patterns and effective coping skills, and breathing activities. Self-Esteem Group focused on self-confidence, belief in development of whole self, and a sense of belonging. All groups were developed using ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors. Specific M&B that were targeted were M1 (belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional, and physical well-being) and M2 (self-confidence in ability to succeed) since students placed in this group struggled with either stress management and/or self-confidence and emotional regulation skills. These groups were formed by: 1) students who signed up to participate in these groups, and 2) by students with attendance concerns from Spring 2017 stressed and/or personal issues were a result of attendance concerns. At the beginning of the school year, I met with all incoming 9th Grade students individually who had missed more than 12 days of school in 8th Grade. Many of the students explained stressed and personal concerns/self-esteem were reasons for missed school, so I asked them to join one of these small groups as an intervention for Goal #1 of my program goals. All students that were invited accepted this invitation. Due to our students being full-time high school and part-time college students, stress is a major concern at our school. Often, when students choose to leave our school to return to their traditional school, it’s due to academic challenges and stress. Historically, Early Colleges “lose” the most students during their 9th and 10th Grade year; therefore, to keep our retention rate high, these provided interventions, such as Meditation, Self-Esteem, and Stress Management Group are imperative for our students’ success. I use resources from evidenced-based textbooks and curriculum.
Academic Success Groups and College Success Groups are also formed by both 1) student sign-up, as well as 2) students earning Ds/Fs, students on academic probation, or students who need additional academic skillsets. For the 2017-2018 school year, we had 14 students earn Ds or Fs during Fall 2017. Therefore, these students were placed in an Academic Success Small Group for Spring 2018. During this semester, I ran 3 Academic Success Small Groups and 1 College Success Small Group. College Success Group was formed as an intervention for my Closing-the-Gap goal. Students in this group were 10th Grade Hispanic females who did not earn a passing score on their college entrance English exam.
I chose to provide lessons and data for one of my 9th Grade Academic Success Groups from Spring 2018. This group was formed with 9th Grade students who earned Ds or Fs in their first college course in Fall 2017. Therefore, I created content based on the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors targeting a few mindsets and several learning strategies (such as B-LS 3) and self-management skills to identify attitudes, knowledge, and skills (such as M4 and B-SMS 1 and 2) to be successful in their college courses in the future. These beliefs and mindsets centered as the foundation for my lessons. The pre and post perception data showed an increase in all skills, beliefs, and mindsets, but particularly in B-LS 3 (use time-management, organizational, and study skills). Students reported an above average score of “often times” being able to use learning styles to help study habits by the end of group. Additionally, students showed an increase in having good systems to organize their work (B-LS3) and increasing comfort for asking adults for assistance (B-SS3). Through addressing these mindsets and behaviors through small groups, perception data shows improvement and progress for my students' overall mindsets, beliefs, and skills.