Cheston Elementary School (2019)

Easton, PA

Closing the Gap


My identified gap was defined through review of report card data. In the 4th grade there were a number of regular education students who were not achieving in a major subject area. Some of these students were receiving academic interventions, and some were not. It appeared, however, that the academic interventions themselves were not sufficient to raise the achievement for these particular students. So, I chose activities which were designed to increase the students' recognition of their grades and belief in their power to affect their grades. Cheston is working towards implementation of the Leader In Me program, although it is not yet fully rolled out. I essentially piloted the academic piece of Leader In Me by working with students to understand goal setting and having them choose their own "Wildly Important Goal". We then focused on tracking progress on a weekly basis, discussed effective action plans to meet goals, and the importance of having an accountability partner to motivate. This emphasis on Behavior LS7 was combined with the introduction of time management skills, organizational skills, and study skills (LS3) which the students indicated a need for based on a survey I administered.

The results of the data indicate that this intervention was powerful for this group of students since they all increased their knowledge of study skills and raised their trimester 2 and 3 grades by large margins. The amount of time allotted to this closing-the-gap group was very manageable and based on the data results, it was time well spent. These activities could be easily replicated with other grade levels to expand the delivery, or even as part of the core curriculum. As my school moves forward with Leader In Me, I anticipate that these activities will be automatically built into each classroom structure. As we near that stage, the data from my pilot group will be useful in convincing potentially reluctant teachers of the merit of such interventions, thereby driving decisions about future interventions and curricula. Achievement data will continue to be analyzed and it will help to refine the collection of future data within our student information system. I can see us using disaggregated data to target students in specific ethnic groups or disability groups for future closing-the-gap activities, especially as this initial activity moves into more of the core curricula. Targeting these specific Mindsets and Behaviors through this action plan, has revealed how potent the school counseling program can be in affecting the academic outcomes at Cheston. This will make it more likely that the administration, with the corroboration of the school counseling advisory council, will support further future academic interventions by the school counselor.

Goal: For targeted 4th grade students who had received a grade below 70% on their first trimester report card to be able to identify 3 strategies to improve their study habits.

Target Group: 4th grade students who received a grade below 70% in a major subject on the T1 report card

Data Used to Identify Students: Trimester 1 report card data

School Counselor(s): Melissa Sonnenblick

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): LS3, LS7

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: REVISED SECTION 1. In small group, taught students to identify and write goals that are specific and measurable. Mini-lessons were taught during weekly sessions on time management, organizational strategies, and coping with test anxiety. The content of these min-sessions was identified through the use of a survey that the students were administered. 2. Met with students individually to create action plans based on teacher measures and student input. 3. Had students choose group based accountability partners. Students met with accountability partners and tracked goal progress for 5 sessions.

Process Data (Number of students affected): 5 students in the 4th grade were targeted based on their T1 report card data. Students participated in 6 weekly, small group sessions of 30 minutes each.

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): REVISED SECTION Pre and post tests were given to measure the students' knowledge of study skills. Prior to the small group sessions, participants were able to identify on average 1 study skill. At the conclusion of the unit, each student was able to identify 3 separate strategies to improve their study habits. A graph is attached which shows how these Mindsets and Behaviors were targeted in this closing-the-gap plan.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Student achievement data was collected and analyzed to compare trimester 1 grades, which were utilized to identify students who needed the study skills intervention, with trimester 3 grades after the students participated in the 6 week intervention. On average, students raised their targeted subject grade 26.6 points, with the largest gain being 36 points. A graph is attached.

Implications: REVISED SECTION The data indicates that this intervention should be continued due to it's strong impact on the students' performance. Not only did the students recognize their increased knowledge of skills, but the information was transferred directly to their classroom grades. The exercise of simply looking at the grade data at the conclusion of T1 was transformative for my school, as it prompted conversations and reflection between multiple levels of staff. Teachers were able to see how the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors directly impact student success. To improve delivery of this program, we can look at implementing it school-wide in the classrooms as part of the core curriculum. As my school moves forward with the Leader In Me paradigm, data from this intervention provides support for continuing to empower the students as leaders in charting their own academic goals and progress. This data can be utilized to encourage reluctant teachers across the grade levels to make time for such activities. It would be interesting in terms of data collection to analyze more fully the data in a disaggregated manner, broken down by ethnicity or by disability category, and then to possibly implement a closing-the-gap activity for specific groups. If the initial activities are implemented in the core curriculum, then closing-the-gap activities would realistically follow.