Lesson 1 is the only lesson that addresses career planning in my Core Curriculum action plan at Montrose. This lesson was designed to replace the lesson students would have received if they were at their base school. Typically in the spring, high schools visit incoming middle school students to describe their elective classes and high school requirements for graduation. My lesson address general Virginia high school graduation requirements, and requirements for an Advanced Studies diploma. I went into detail explaining the requirements for the Advanced Studies diploma so that students could see how attainable it would be for them. After presenting the basic information, I gave students the opportunity to explore the classes offered at their own individual schools. This was more difficult for some students than others- based on their experience with technology. This was evidenced by only 20/33 students completing their high school planning sheet. In the future, I would like to group students by high school, as opposed to by class so that I could help students navigate each individual high school’s website. I would also like to follow this lesson up with a lesson on identifying interests and post-secondary goal setting to identify possible career interests. I think this lesson is powerful and necessary for students to see in order for them to set and work towards long-term goals. I will continue this lesson, and would like to collaborate with a high school to ensure that students are receiving the same knowledge they would at a base school. I would also like to go beyond the outcome data collected and track the on time graduation rates. I am proud of the fact that all 8th graders were promoted to 9th grade. Even those who remained on probation showed growth in their academic achievement (19/19 students improved their grades) while enrolled at Montrose. It would be beneficial to offer this lesson in January as well as June, so that students who return to their base school at the beginning of 2nd semester also have access to the information.
Lessons 2 and 3 were presented in succession with the intention of helping bring awareness to students about their own attendance and how it has affected their grades and school success. I presented them with current data and students were able to reflect on the correlation between poor attendance and poor grades. As evidenced by the post assessment, some students (19%) did not see the correlation between poor attendance and poor grades. This is likely because some students have more resources at home used to maintain progress while out of school. They were also presented with current research that is relevant to them showing correlation between poor attendance and on-time graduation rates, post secondary income, job opportunities, incarceration rates, living options, etc. This was a great way for them to be able to see the importance of the targeted Mindsets and Behaviors, specifically dealing with setting long and short term academic goals. Students were prompted to think about how they might need to harness coping skills for overcoming situational barriers that they face. Students were able to be very vulnerable in talking about this because of our close relationship and the sense of belonging we work so hard to create at Montrose. The first two questions of the pre/post were assessing the students ability to estimate their own attendance. While this was interesting information, it wasn’t developmentally appropriate, nor did it give us any information that could inform future interventions. The 4th question on the post assessment asks students to identify an attendance goal. Some stated “to not miss any days” or to “never miss.” Next year I’d like to have students develop an attendance goal in addition to the academic goal they set at the beginning of their time with us. Additional questions could have included information about students’ ability to identify barriers, how schools create a sense of belonging, and what students do to motivate themselves. These lessons will be continued next year, and a component of career planning will also be added. Outcome data collected after these lessons were very clear. I will continue to use attendance and grades to track effectiveness as they contribute to school success, and are also mandatory requirements for each student on probation. This lesson was incredibly successful and I would like to not only repeat the lesson, but do it twice next year- once with students in the fall and again with students in the spring.