The groups that we ran during the 2017-2018 school year were chosen with many things in mind. We first looked at our school data that is shared at our annual district meeting at the beginning of the school year. There was a lot of focus on the ACT and how our school has experienced a decline on both students taking the ACT and ACT composite scores. Therefore we ran two different small groups which focused on ACT preparation. We also looked at our school data from the ACT Engage test given to freshmen in 2016-2017 and concluded that some of our current 10th graders scored low on their commitment to college and others needed to improve their self-advocacy skills. Also, we used data from our student needs assessment to create the Better Student Group, a group whose members asked for assistance on varying skills which successful students tend to have (time management, study skills, organizational skills, test anxiety, etc.). Within all of these groups we have managed to address a number of mindsets and behaviors, which ensures that we are providing a wide array of small groups whose members are chosen via data.
When we went to develop the CHARGE (Clinton High’s Active Response to Graduating Everyone) lesson plans, the first thing that we did was come up with what mindsets and behaviors this small group would focus on. Knowing that the students who are in this group are students who are struggling to earn credits and stay on track for graduation, we decided that the mindset of self-confidence and the ability to succeed was going to be one to focus on. Many students who are in this group struggle with their self-confidence and, as a result, sometimes have a hard time seeing themselves successfully graduating high school. In terms of behaviors, we knew that we had to find a way to have the students find motivation themselves to get to their diploma and we felt the best way to do that was to have them set both short- and long-term goals with their high school graduation in mind. The process data we collected from their pre- and post-tests were direct reflections of our selected mindset and behaviors.
Now that we have completed the CHARGE small group and all of the data has been collected and analyzed using a results report, we know that we have things to change. We believe that the number of days that the small group met was sufficient. Knowing that we will have individual meetings with the members of this small group to track graduation status helps us to limit the number of meetings. However, with our administration’s addition of the new attendance policy, next year, the plan is to explain in detail this new policy at the very first meeting with the students. Also, we will monitor their attendance weekly to help our students not only understand how close they are to being removed from a class but also help to them figure out solutions to their absences. We have run a version of this group since the 2005-2006 school year and we use the data every time to evaluate and reflect on what assistance our students need to graduate. Until we have a 100% graduation rate for our students, we will most likely run this group.