Our small group action plan was developed through a comprehensive look at school-wide and individual student data to determine larger student needs and identify groups of students who shared a common need that was impacting them from being successful in school. The primary data sources that were looked at were: our yearly school-wide needs assessment (which was given to all students to identify areas they wanted additional support and gaps in perception data of students. This helped with our college admissions groups for juniors and seniors), discipline referrals (anger management group), students’ grades (varsity athlete group), staff generated social work referrals for students (multiple girls’ groups and our pregnancy group), and separate student surveys and student interviews (ELL conversational group and IEP social language group). Attendance rates were reviewed for students in all of these groups, but were not the primary data point for group referral. Attendance data was tracked for the majority of these groups.While some of these groups run each year, each was specifically run because they were an identified need for our school based on the data sources above. After potential participants were identified for each group, individual interviews were held with students to determine their interest and willingness to participate. A few groups also connect directly to school-wide goals from this year, such as reducing the failure rate of all students, decreasing major dean’s office referrals for anger or violent behaviors, and increasing the college enrollment and FAFSA completion rates for students.
The action plan included groups that addressed students at all grade and developmental levels, including, for example, specific groups (social language groups for students with IEPs and a conversational group for our ELL population) that allowed access to group support for students in under supported populations. The mindsets and behaviors selected for each group represent not only the broader identified deficits throughout our school but also the needs of the individual group members. All group curriculum was developed ahead of time, but individual lessons and the mindsets and behaviors taught during those lessons were altered based on the needs of the students in the group. In some cases, lessons topics were revisited when it was clear the group members did not learn or master the skills.
For our submitted group (varsity athlete group) the mindsets and behaviors were the foundation for the lesson plans for that group. While the majority of the curriculum of that group was created ahead of time, certain lessons were tweaked slightly based on the needs of the students involved. For example, Mindset M4 was added to multiple lessons, because the students did not connect the importance of high school success to postsecondary success. They strictly looked at high school success as a means to participate in sports. For this group and all the groups the action plan, the pre/post tests measured perception data directly connected to the mindsets and behaviors. Previous developed pre/post tests were reviewed to ensure that align while other groups created their own pre/post tests to measure perception data related to the selected mindsets and behaviors.
For the results report, we were happy to see strong growth in the pre/post test perception data, though we only saw a minor increase in students GPA from the beginning to the end of group. We are unsure if the GPA increase was connected with group participation and the skills taught or if it was simply a correlation unrelated. For this, we should add questions on the pre/post to ask students if they believed their grade/GPA increase was related to their participation in group. Regarding delivery improvements, we were happy with the format and delivery methods of the group, but we found that it was difficult for some students to attend because of the time the group was offered during the day. We are considering using our morning “office hours” time to run this type of group to ensure that students do not miss the classes that they are currently struggling in.
We plan on continuing this group each quarter of the school year and target different varsity athletes. We believe that we can expand the group to non-varsity athletes, but need to make sure we have enough staff to run the group with fidelity if we increase participants. Our athletic coaches told us informally, that they felt there were fewer students ineligible for sports; however, that was not data we tracked this year, but would look at in future years.