Our 2017-2018 small group action plan reflects 30 groups that were developed to assist students’ academic, behavior, and attendance. We reviewed attendance data from our student information system, office referrals, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores, Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading (STAR) Accelerated Reader (A/R) scores, and grades. Through this process, students were interviewed regarding academic, attendance, and behavior. Based on the needed areas of support, 11 group topics were made. Groups were formed by selecting students who benefitted from specific groups and grade level. For example, we identified 34 students who had 5 or more unexcused absences. These students were selected to participate in group sizes of 4 students, based on their grade level, in order to provide developmentally appropriate support.
Groups target our vision and mission statements because our focus is to teach and reinforce necessary skills needed so students can be successful citizens. Groups align with our goals and ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors in order to be effective. For example, students demonstrate coping skills when faced with a problem (B-SMS 7). The planning tool provided support in prioritizing the skills and knowledge students need in the areas in academic, social-emotional, and career development. The planning tool provided support in developing our perception questions. All small groups used a general pre/post-test that measures the impact on students’ attendance, behavior, and academic. For example, students were asked to rate themselves on their attendance, following the rules, and classwork effort.
Our study skills group addressed our attendance and site plan goal of improving CAASPP scores. The administrator and I collaborated in how to better support the needs of our 4th-grade students’ organizational and study skills. This group was based on students who were not performing well academically and had Ds/Fs.
The group lessons were based on the Organizational Skills Boot Camp from the School Counselor Resource Series. The curriculum provided lesson plans, suggestions, and reproducible documents. There were 7 lessons for 45 minutes each. Most perception questions directly related to the lessons, for example, question 2 is about understanding the purpose of completing the easiest problems on assignments (lesson 2,3, 5, & 6). Each question targeted ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors. For example, perception questions align with Mindsets and Behaviors in the ability to use time management, organizational, and study skills (B-LS 3) by understanding how to prioritize (Question 1), understanding how to keep an organized binder (Question 3), and understanding how to study for a test (Question 5 & 6). Overall, all perception questions showed an increase of understanding study and organizational strategies.
Results of perception data showed an increase in students able to understand test taking, time management, organizational, and note-taking strategies. There was a 9.6% increase in the number of students able to identify 2 test-taking strategies. In reflecting on the pre/post test, question 2 is based on the benefits of completing the easiest questions in an assignment, however, the question was confusing and needed to be restated. I would provide an additional question based on Mindset and Behaviors related to demonstrating perseverance to achieve long and short-term goals (B-SMS 5). The pre/post-test will be adjusted to reflect an improved measure of attitudes, knowledge, and skills learned.
All lessons connect to our overall attendance goal. The overall small group outcome data showed that out of 18 students who attended this group, 44% were able to decrease their unexcused absences by at least one day. 83% of these students increased the English Language Arts (ELA) CAASPP baseline mean score by 26 points. 56% of these students increased the Math CAASPP baseline mean score by 56 points. 44% of these students increased their grades by at least one letter grade. For example, a student increases their reading and writing “D” grades to “Cs". Results of perception data for each group lesson showed its specific outcome. Lesson 3 focused on understanding the usage of a daily planner, therefore, 83% of students demonstrate/maintain a completed planner during the course of the group.
Our school counseling program will continue to target 4/5th-grade students who benefit from organizational and study skills. We use the ASCA Resource Series, however, we will enhance it by implementing lessons that are based on students’ needs. For example, providing additional test taking and study habits that support CAASPP and grades. There were times where I was not able to cover all content that was included in the lesson plan due to time limitation. Perhaps increasing the group time can help with time limitation.