The ASCA National Model describes the core curriculum, small-group and closing-the-gap results reports to help show how students are different as a result of Peet’s school counseling program. Our results reports are vital for advocating and communicating to stakeholders the positive impact our program has on students’ noncognitive skills, like the ASCA Mindset & Behaviors, as well as our core domains of academic, career and social/emotional development. As Russell Sabella wrote in his recent ASCA article, Kick It Up A Notch, “analyzing this data leads to more focused programming, more effective interventions and a more responsive school counseling program.”
At any grade level or in any core curriculum unit/lesson, the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors provide a foundation in which we identify the attributes, knowledge and skills students are working towards to achieve academic success, college/career readiness and social/emotional development. Within those units, the standards enable us to identify learning objectives, design effective lesson plans and interventions and are fundamentally critical to the delivery and the perception data instruments used to measure the success of each unit or initiative.
From our action plan, we selected three units/lessons, one from each grade level, that encompass our big rocks and main focus for that particular grade. These units/lessons also work towards outcome data related to our program goals focused on attendance and achievement. For 7th grade, we focus on student’s transition and skills for success. In 8th grade, we see more at-risk behavior, and therefore, focus a lot of our energy and core curriculum lessons on personal safety and informed decision-making. For 9th grade, we focus our efforts towards their academic planning and college and career readiness.
The 7th grade lesson, geared towards our incoming students upon transition, focused on student and staff expectations for behavior (B-SS9), but more so, our lifestyle at Peet and what makes up our school culture, the Tiger Way. The overall unit focused on helping students feel more confident in their start of Junior High and important skills that can catapult that success, the growth mindset and organization (B-LS3 & B-SMS6). The data shows that the lessons were very beneficial in that it increased their skill and knowledge, but also strengthened their overall attitude, towards starting junior high. In fact, by the end of the unit, 100% of students said they knew what it took to be successful at Peet.
The objective of the 8th grade unit was to teach students how to make more positive and informed decisions using critical-thinking skills and multiple perspectives (B-LS1 & B-LS9), as well as help them further develop their personal safety skills (B-SMS9). Perception data indicated the lessons were very effective, particularly when it came to our learning objective of students knowing how to respond to cyberbullying in 3 positive ways. Regarding this objective, student perception increased from 71.7% to 98.6% showing 37.5% increase in knowledge when responding to cyberbullying. Our biggest takeaways, confirming the value of this unit, were the post-unit data revealing 100% of students answering “true” to understanding the process of making good decisions and well as 6.2% of students feeling more safe at school as a result of this unit.
Our 9th grade Career Cruising unit/lessons were presented to teach students postsecondary education and lifelong learning are imperative for long-term success (M4), how to make informed decisions regarding their academics and career exploration outcomes (B-LS1), as well as identifying one short and one long-term goal in one or more of our three domains of academic, career and social/emotional development (B-LS7). Perception data results were extremely encouraging as they showed significant gains in overall knowledge, skill and belief ranging from 62% to almost 1350% increase in growth! More specifically, perception data showed that student perception regarding components of a transcript increased from 5.8% on the pre-test to 84% on the post-test showing the highest gain when considering all learning objectives.
Moving forward, our significant gains in perception data, as well as reaching all of our goals regarding outcome data, confirm that these units/lessons have incredible value and are a vital part of our core curriculum implementation. Because there is always room for improvement, we will continue to look for ways to better deliver this content through new instructional strategies, other community collaborations or as we continue to assess prior knowledge and make our initiatives that much more sequential.
Ultimately, our comprehensive program strives to begin and end with the incessant cycle of the use of data to help create systemic change, which optimizes data-driven decisions and sustainable positive outcomes for our students.