All Core Curriculum lessons were developed to align with the Vision and Mission Statements of our department, school and district to provide equitable opportunities for all students to achieve academic success, decrease absenteeism, and build a foundation for learning experiences and growth beyond high school. The three lessons we chose to highlight from our Core Curriculum Action Plan are: “High School Success”, “Healthy Relationships 101” and “Exploring Postsecondary Options”. These lessons were delivered to 9th,10th, and 11th grade students, respectively, and address all three domains and multiple mindsets and behaviors.
Perception data collected from all three lessons indicate a growth in knowledge and understanding, varying from a 7% increase to a 62% increase. Although some questions clearly measured more growth than others, we believe this information supports that all three lessons were beneficial to our students. Reflection and analysis of each lesson provided new insights for our counseling department that we intend to utilize to enhance each individual lesson, making our core curriculum program stronger.
In the “High School Success” (Freshmen Campfires) lesson, due to the small increase related to the clubs, sports, and organizations question, we will consider changing this question in the future to make it less general. Outcome data related to Program Goal #1: By June 15, 2018, 9th grade students will decrease the rate of retention by 20% compared to 9th grade retention data from the 2016-2017 school year connects directly to this CC lesson. Retention data for 9th graders from 2017-2018 reflected a 36% decrease in retentions compared to the previous year.
The “Healthy Relationships 101” lesson teaches students to make good relationship decisions that support their emotional well-being. In the future, we will consider modifying the question related to the effect of social media on relationships since there was a small difference in the pre- and post-test responses. A more specific question related to the ways that social media affects relationships may be of greater benefit in assessing understanding. This lesson is not tied specifically to outcome data that we collect; however, it does connect to our Program Goal #2: By June 15, 2018, students who receive 2 or more out-of-school suspensions in the year 2017-2018 will decrease by 20% as compared to students who received 2 or more out-of-school suspensions in the 2016-2017 school year. Students who receive discipline referrals resulting in OSS are often students who make poor choices related to social media and/or managing relationships. Counseling interventions put in place to support this goal addressed whether or not students returning from OSS had a strong relationship with an adult or peer at school and included check-ins to strengthen our connections with them. Outcome data from this goal was disappointing as there was no change in the number of students who were OSS repeaters from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018. However, there was a 13% decrease (160 to 139) in total days served in OSS. In school year 2018-2019, greater emphasis will be given to collaboration with the student’s identified “safe” persons in an effort to provide better support.
“Exploring Post-secondary Options” is our 11th grade CC lesson intended to inform and fuel the process of our juniors’ selection of a postsecondary plan. Reflection led counselors to question whether or not March of Junior year is the optimal time for this lesson, as by this time a student’s transcript is largely set for how it will look to college admission committees. Therefore, we plan to begin putting a greater emphasis on the information related to college admissions when we meet with freshmen, as they have more time to work on achieving high grades and registering for rigorous high school courses. Also, by March of junior year, students considering the armed forces likely would have already taken the ASVAB exam. Outcome data for this lesson will be available at the end of the students’ senior year when we have data related to college applications and transcripts sent, students who have committed to the armed services and students who have obtained employment following graduation.
Reflection on all three Core Curriculum lessons led our counseling department to ponder how to better encourage and assess student participation. Participation is assessed from pre/post test data collected via google forms. Students use their phones to complete the tests. We are certain more students have participated in our lessons than the data collected indicates; therefore, we will be addressing additional methods to assess participation in 2018-2019.