Beginning in August, we began analyzing various data with our stakeholders to determine which subgroup of students needed additional support presently & 5 to 15 years from now. Based upon academic data from infinite campus (IC), we selected minority students that were failing during the first semester. In the 16-17 school year, 97 students were failing one or more subjects. Out of the 97 students, 34 (16.19%) students were of a minority background compared to their peers at 7.46%. Our retention rate for 15-16 was five & in the 16-17 school year, we were at six; in which all had failed at least one subject. In order for students to be promoted to the next grade level, they must pass their core academic classes, math, science, history, & English, as well as the Georgia Milestones for their grade level. Data from IC showed that students that failed at least one subject also struggled on the Georgia Milestones at the end of the school year. Therefore, we targeted minority students that were failing one subject to assist them in passing their grade level & Georgia Milestones.
Our tier 1 intervention included core curriculum in the classrooms & our academic classes of Read 180 & Math Connection; both assist students that are underperforming in a core area. Tier 2 intervention involved one-on-one advisement with the students to determine an action plan on how we could improve their grades. Tier 3 intervention involved a boy & girl Small group (SG). The interventions were chosen due to being able to target students that have had the core curriculum interventions, academic tier interventions, but still needed additional support; and by being the best option for our school at the moment as recommended by the school district. The researched based activities included students transforming a fixed mindset to a growth mindset by including activities that stimulated mindfulness & determination. Research asserts that students will form more of a fixed mindset when they are younger due to seeking praise from society. Therefore, teaching students to shift from a fixed mindset of seeking praise, to a growth mindset of viewing progress, will help students to take control of their life & build success. We also included an activity that focused on understanding self-talk by utilizing SMART goals. This activity was established to help students to understand how to make a goal & how to make an action plan for the goal. Other session topics included identifying brain basics, understanding not yet, self-talk, everyone is unique, & teaching others about what they know.
The process data from SG displayed 100% participation for a total of 18 students. A comparison of the pretest & posttest perception questions revealed that the students believed that the activities in SG resulted in them gaining knowledge & feeling better about themselves. Out of the 18 students that participated in SG, 12 of them were students of a minority. The other students 6 students participated in a district SG intervention hosted by Mrs. Demetria Wright, the behavior specialist for middle schools utilizing the WHY Try curriculum. Three minority students chose not to participate in SG interventions. Out of the 18 students served, 100% showed academic improvement with final grades of a C (70+) or better. Overall outcome data displayed that out of the 92 students failing one or more subjects, the 21 minority students were all promoted to the next grade level & passed the Georgia Milestones. Four students were retained school wide. The SG intervention, core curriculum, Reality/Career Fairs, GCIS, Read 180, Math Connections, advisement, & individual counseling sessions all contributed to the success of the students.
Future plans include the academic SG being hosted in January versus in March to help students academically. The data results displayed that we will need to do more interventions in the fall as a prevention method to students failing. New strategies and events will be put in place such as our commitment to graduate ceremony, Junior Achievement lessons on career development, a new career aptitude test. Data will be more detailed regarding our closing the gap initiative by showing monthly numbers towards this goal for stakeholders and collected electronically. Questions will focused directly from the lessons taught and less on perception. We will also ask better question based upon the quality of content. The ASCA M&B will be reviewed to determine if they still align with the lessons & events taking place monthly. Each intervention we implemented this year will continue & we will add more as needed per data from infinite campus.