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Peet Junior High School (2018)

Cedar Falls, IA

Small Group Responsive Services

At PJH, small group counseling is a critical piece in our responsive services and tiered interventions. Small groups support our vision by instilling resiliency, 21st century skills and social/emotional learning. Small groups are rooted in our belief statement of providing differentiated support, based on student need, in a caring environment. It is also closely tied to our mission in addressing social/emotional, academic and career needs to ensure equity and success. Small groups are instrumental in helping us achieve our program goals as we work to increase achievement, decrease chronic attendance and close-the-gap with our 8th grade chronic attendees.



Peet's small groups spring life for many reasons including passion, data, mindset and behavior standards, developmental need, stakeholder feedback and our building/counseling program’s vision/mission/goals. Regarding our passions, Mrs. Lins is very enthusiastic about student leadership groups, therefore, she has the Leadership 101 small group every year. Mrs. Kenser is very passionate about college and career readiness, therefore, has a college-ready small group each Spring. Both groups address our three domains that are important for EVERY students’ success. Small groups also spring forth based on needs observed by our teachers. For example, we have many teachers concerned with 7th graders coming in and their lack of organizational skills. We also get recommendations in the transition process from sixth grade teachers on students who struggle with organization. This provides a great basis and a targeted group of students that we have in the organizational small group each Fall. Our action plan also comes together based on unique needs and/or parent concern. The new student small group, for example, came together as a result of two parents bringing their concerns of their child having difficulties meeting new friends.



Based on our school data profile, we have a growing African American population, and to meet their needs, we provide an African American girls small group. This need is also what created the diversity small group to work towards our Black History Month assembly.



Developmentally, we also see some of our seventh grade girls having a hard time transitioning from elementary to junior high and creating/sustaining healthy friendships. We respond to that and try to intervene by including girls in the 7th grade Girls Circle groups, one in the Fall and one in the Spring.



Our building’s mission is Building Relationships, Maximizing Learning. This mission, as well as our Peet’s Culture Goal, underlines much of our small group desire which is to build relationships and connect students so it can maximize their learning potential. Small groups are brought together to help students feel a connection, not only with their school environment (M 3), but also with an adult in our building as well as their peers (Behavior: Social Skills 2 & 3). Although each group has a specific purpose and learning targets, underlying themes that connect all of them are building relationships and connections to school and peers.



Each small group, and the lessons designed and catered to each one, are all rooted from ASCA’s Mindset and Behavior Standards. These drive our learning objectives and perception data assessments. Because of that strong foundation, these groups can show such growth and truly spring to life. For example, with our SEL group, that was ignited due to a developmental need in social/emotional learning regarding social skills and teacher feedback. We had four mindset/behavior standards chosen and that guided our perception data questions for our pre-and post-test along with our social/emotional learning competencies. An example that shows this alignment, is our standard (B-SS 4: Demonstrate empathy) and our test question: “I’m able to empathize with others and put myself in their shoes.” Students could answer on a likert scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree.



Our results report helps inform, as well as clarify strengths and weaknesses, of individual lessons, specific learning objectives and the small group as a whole. The perception data gives a holistic picture of the growth, or lack thereof, that took place. The outcome data is another strong measure that can support the small group responsive effort or show a disconnect between goals set-out initially and the reality of its outcome. For example, our last question regarding social engagement, could have been stronger or a more involved piece in our lesson planning. When questions such as that one show smaller gains than expected, it serves as a starting point regarding implications. For example, reflecting on what may have gone wrong and what we could do differently or more effectively in delivery if we do the group/unit again.

Group Name: 8th Grade Boys: Socials Skills/Social Emotional Learning Group

Goal: By May 30, 2018, 8th grade students who had 16 or more absences during the previous school year (2016-2017) will reduce the cumulative number of absences by 20% from 848 absences (2016-2017) to 678 absences (2017-2018).

Target Group: 9 students identified who are at risk for chronic attendance and receiving or have received referrals due to display(s) of poor social skills (peer issues) and low social-emotional competencies.

Data Used to Identify Students: Daily Attendance Report, Attendance/Truancy Spreadsheet, Teacher Referrals, Student Referrals, School Counselor Referrals

School Counselor(s): B. Lins, M. White & B. Hottle

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Social/Emotional M 3, B-SS 2, B-SS 4, B-SS 9

Outline of Group Sessions Delivered: Session #1: Welcome/Pre-Test/Negative Self-Talk and Recognizing Strengths, Session #2: Empathy and scenarios, Session #3: Communication, Session #4: Solving Problems, Session #5: Relationship Building, Session 6: Social Engagement/Closing/Post-test

Process Data (Number of students affected): Targeted group of 9 8th grade boys 6 sessions, once a week for 45 minutes

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Online pre- and post-tests were completed by all students present, 9 students for pre-test and 9 students present for post-test. Pre/Post test Results: 1. Can accurately recognize and describe their negative self-talk as well as their strengths. Strongly Agree: 55.6% Pre (55.6% Post) Agree: 33.3% Pre (44.4% Post) Disagree: 11.1% Pre (0% Post) Pre: 88.9% Post: 100% 12.5% increase in skill/knowledge 2. Able to empathize with others and put themselves in their shoes. Strongly Agree: 22.2% Pre (77.8% Post) Agree: 77.8% Pre (22.2% Post) Pre: 100% Post: 100% OR 22.2% Strongly Agree to 77.8% Strongly Agree 250.5% increase in skill 3. Knows how to evaluate problems that arise, face them, and know how to solve or work through them. Strongly Agree: 11.1% Pre (44.4% Post) Agree: 77.8% Pre (55.6% Post) Disagree: 11.1% Pre (0% Post) Pre: 88.9% Post: 100% 12.5% increase in knowledge (when comparing Disagrees to Agrees OR 11.1% Strongly Agree to 44.4% Strongly Agree = 300% increase in knowledge 4. Can communicate clearly, listen well and cooperate with others. Strongly Agree: 44.4% Pre (33.3% Post) Agree: 44.4% Pre (66.7% Post) Disagree: 11.1% Pre (0% Post) Pre: 88.9% Post: 100% 12.5% increase in skill 5. Able to establish and maintain healthy relationships with diverse individuals and groups. Strongly Agree: 22.2% Pre (44.4% Post) Agree: 66.7% Pre (44.4% Post) Disagree: 11.1% (11.1% Post) Pre: 88.9% Post:88.9% 0% increase in skill (when comparing Disagrees to Agrees OR 22.2% Strongly Agree to 44.4% Strongly Agree = 100% increase in knowledge 6.Believe it's important to get involved, to participate and engage in student groups, school activities or outside school activities and just be a part of something. Strongly Agree: 33.3% Pre (22.2% Post) Agree: 44.4% Pre (66.7% Post) Disagree: 22.2% Pre (11.1% Post) Pre: 77.8% Post: 88.9% 14.3% increase in belief/attitude Open discussion about appropriate social behaviors and responses to peers and adults

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Compare number of absences accrued during quarter 3 with absences accrued during quarter 4 of the 2017-2018 school year (attendance). Total # of cumulative absences during 3rd & 4th quarter for this targeted group of 9 students: 3rd quarter: 34 days 4th quarter: 18 days 47% decrease in absences Individual student data for absent days during 3rd/4th Quarter: S.A. 6 (3rdQ), 3.5 (4thQ) F.B. 4 (3rdQ), 1.5 (4thQ) S.B. 3 (3rdQ), 0 (4thQ) D.S. 1 (3rdQ), 2 (4thQ) C.E. 2 (3rdQ), 0 (4thQ) A.C. 12 (3rdQ), 7 (4thQ) T.P. 5 (3rdQ), 1 (4thQ) J.P. 1 (3rdQ), 2 (4thQ) L.K. 0 (3rdQ), 1 (4thQ) Compare number of D/F letter grades during quarter 3 with D/F letter grades during quarter 4 of the 2017-2018 school year (achievement). Total # of D/F letter grades during 3rd & 4th quarter for this targeted group of 9 students: 3rd quarter: 3 D's and 0 F's 4th quarter: 0 D's and 0 F's

Implications: The data indicate the unit (6 individual lessons) had a favorable outcome, especially when it came to comparing perception data regarding growth from number of "agree" responses to number of "strongly agree" responses. Overall, we felt affirmed that our learning goals and objectives were appropriately identified and our ASCA behavior standards were met through those objectives and perception data. With that, our focus on the 5 social-emotional learning competencies was well received by this targeted group and they showed growth in skills within each competency (self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making, self-management and relationship skills). From the process data, we were pleased to have all 9 members who started the group finish all together as well. We had three total absences during the six weeks and we were pleased with their commitment to attend each week. The group was well-balanced and students left with a noticeably stronger bond with one another. This targeted group even thanked us for putting the group together, it doesn't get much better than that. In looking at the perception data, we can see our biggest gains when comparing "agree" answers on the pre-test to "strongly agree" answers on the post-test. That might not seem like a big jump from agree to strongly agree, but when a student walks away from our time together feeling more strongly in the content we covered, we consider that a great success! In fact, those gains in skill, knowledge and attitude cannot be denied, especially when the percentage increase is 250 to 300%! Our perception data also told us if there was one objective or attitude we could have done more with, it is that of social engagement and school involvement (belonging to the school environment) (Question #6). We did not see the gains with that belief/attitude that we would have liked too, especially since it was tied to our Mindset 3 standard and learning objective. Our outcome data tells us that there was a significant decrease of 47 percent in number of cumulative absences from 3rd quarter to 4th quarter. There was also a decrease when it came to total # of D/F letter grades when comparing 3rd quarter to 4th with this targeted group. We hope that increase in achievement and decrease in absences can be attributed to our group, however, there are probably other variables involved as well. Overall, we are very pleased with our process, perception and outcome data. We knew starting this group would come with its challenges as many of the targeted members are dealing with mental health issues, chronic attendance as well as poor social skills with peers. We definitely got a workout with our blocking skills and group management skills as we had to redirect behaviors, resolve minor conflicts and outbursts as they arose and work with poor social skills in a social setting. Ultimately, we are very pleased with how it went overall and the way that group came together by week six. Moving forward, we hope those friendships stay intact, especially over summer and into their 9th grade year next year. Regarding the lesson plans, we would use similar lessons, if not the same, with a group that had the same needs as the lesson plans were strong, reflective and interactive in our perspective and experience with those targeted students.

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