Using the completed Mindsets and Behavior Tool, I reviewed all referrals I received and if it was in the best interest of the student, I placed them in a small group with other students who had similar needs and could be served by some of the standards of focus on the Mindsets and Behaviors tool.
In total I ran 16 different groups during the 17-18 school year. I designated 2 days a week to run the groups, as we have a variety of reasons why scheduling students to be pulled out of class can be a challenge. All students at Campus Park leave class for music, art, library time, and physical education weekly. Some students also leave class for special education support or mental health services. The majority of our counseling referrals were in the area of, “behavior”, as determined by classroom observations, teacher reports, or principal referral and this was seen for all grades K-5. Counseling groups focused on teaching students about Growth Mindset/Motivation (Mindsets 2, 4, 6), Social Skills/Empathy (B-SS 2, 4, 6, 9), Attendance/Not Wanting to Be in Class (B-LS-3, B-SMS 2), Study Skills (BLS 2) ,and Solving Problems(B-SMS 2, 7) with peers. Students were placed in small groups depending on need and grade level in order to meet their needs more effectively. Boys and girls were all referred for counseling, but the majority were boys.
One of the groups which I will highlight, had the goal of; By November 27, all 4 students in this group will feel more positively about school, and know how to use problem solving steps when faced with challenges. Students were chosen based on teacher referrals and or attendance data, School Nurse Referral, and Principal request. Lessons were chosen in order to develop a growth mindset as well as support with deficiencies in organization/study skills. The students in this group were referred due to attendance, behavior and/or academic concerns Outcome data for the group showed that none of the group members were considered as having chronic absences at the end of the school year, where as the year before 1 had chronic absences. At the start of this school year or the end of the prior year 3 of the 4 had excessive health office visits and were referred to the counselor for support as they did not have any health related reasons for "feeling sick", these students were also not doing well academically as stated by their teachers , by the time group ended these 3 students were no longer visiting the health office without actually having a confirmed illness/fever/cut/abrasion as reported by the health office staff. 1 of the students in the group had been suspended 2 times in the prior year and at the end of the 17/18 school year the student had no suspensions at all.
Perception data was gathered via a three question pre/post test administered to students. On the post test, 3 of the 4 students expressed feeling more positive about school than on the pre test, On the post test all 4 students chose the correct decision to make if they became angry, and all 4 students were able to name a problem solving step.
The dynamic of this group worked to the benefit of group members. 1 of the members was diagnosed as Aspergers and prior to being in the group he would often not participate in class activities or socialize with peers. The combination of lessons taught in the group was a good fit, and I will most likely use a similar set of lessons for future groups of students in upper grades who struggle with motivation and social skills.
Implications for the future include reviewing school academic, attendance and behavior data more closely next year before starting groups and looking for any equity issues. This is prompted by the high number of boys being referred to group. It would be interesting to see what strategies can be implemented schoolwide perhaps spearheaded by the counseling program, that may inform the way behavior issues are addressed in male students.
Another implication would be to create a perception data instrument that is unique to each group and is more closely aligned with the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors. Even using language from the tool to construct questions on perception survey instruments for both students and referring parties who interact with the student regularly.