The results report highlights the three different grade levels (5K-2nd) that receive whole classroom lessons as part of the school counseling program’s core curriculum.
Kindergarten’s lesson focused on responsibility and punctuality as it relates to school attendance. For the past several years, improving attendance has been a goal for the school counseling program. Analysis of the attendance data showed that kindergarten students were responsible for a large majority of the unexcused tardies and absences. Different strategies were implemented to improve the attendance rate for kindergarten students with one of the strategies being a classroom lesson on responsibility and punctuality. This lesson was presented in September to 108 kindergarten students. An informal pre-test at the beginning of class revealed that no kindergarten students knew that time school started. At the conclusion of the lesson, 100% of the students were able to classify morning routine activities as either appropriate or inappropriate and 100% of students were able to identify the correct school starting time. In reviewing attendance data at the end of the year, findings showed that 5K students who had 5 or more unexcused absences decreased from 69% in 2016-17 to 62% in 2017-18. This percentage is still too high but the decrease of 7 percentage points is a move in the correct direction. 5K students with 10 or more tardies increased slightly to 32% (up 2% from previous school year).
There are many possibilities as to why kindergarten has such a large amount of tardies and absences. For many this is their first time out of the home or in a school setting so their immune system is not as strong against germ exposure. Parents may also not be aware of the attendance policies and the need to send in a medical excuse. Parents could also not yet understand the importance of good attendance in kindergarten. They may not realize that the demands and standards placed on children today are vastly different than when they were in school.
While parents are normally the one responsible for their child’s attendance the classroom lesson is still important as it educates the children on routines and correct start time as well as illustrates the importance of punctuality and good attendance. Parent education on attendance policies and procedures will need to continue to supplement this lesson and continue throughout the school year.
First grade’s lesson topic was feelings. The goal of this lesson was to help students learn to identify feelings and verbal and non-verbal cues of these feelings in order to reduce discipline referrals. 105 first grade students participated in the classroom lesson during December. 100% of all students participated in the group activity where each student had to identify and describe a feeling. An analysis of the discipline data revealed that first grade referrals increased by 11 from 24 in 2016-17 to 35 in 2017-18. A closer look at the data shows that half of these referrals were from the same three students and 22 of the referrals came from two teachers. Overall, I would argue that the lesson was beneficial for the entire grade level because if you remove the three students who had half of the grade level referrals from the data, the referrals would be much lower. The data indicates that the lesson should continue but needs to include follow-up support and interventions for students who receive repeat referrals and the two teachers who had a much higher referral rate.
The last lesson targeted second grade students and dealt with internet safety. During the month of February, 109 second grade students participated in the lesson. A pre and post test was given. Correct answers on all questions increased from the pre to the post test. During the year there were no discipline referrals involving internet misconduct. In addition, there were no referrals to the counseling program regarding issues with cyber safety.
While the outcome data on this subject is a bit more difficult to track than the other lessons, the perception data from the pre/post test shows how vital this lesson is for students. Minus the first question, none of the questions on the pre-test had a correct response rate over 42%. The questions asked involve situations that could have potentially deadly consequences. The knowledge gained from the lesson and shown by the correct responses on the post-test could save a child's life. in the future this lesson will be supplemented by information sent home to parents and/or parenting workshops on cyber safety.