The topics on the action plan were selected based on students’ need for that year. Given that our school is one grade level, we are tasked with meeting and learning about a new student population every year. The attendance group was important given the new protocol established to decrease absenteeism. The anti-self-harm group was created as a response to a group of students who were in need of intensive support. The goal for magnet students was created as a way to help a group of students maintain the required grade average and prevent them from leaving the program.
Participants for the attendance group were selected from the previous school year’s attendance report. These are students who had 10 or more unexcused absences during the 2016-2017 school year. Participants for the anti-self-harm small group were identified through individual sessions. These students were chosen by the full-time school counselor after having two individual sessions addressing self-harm. Students were selected for the magnet small group based on a needs assessment at the beginning of the year completed by all magnet students. These students self-identified as needing help with their academic development. Parental referrals were also a part of selecting group participants.
Most of the pre-post survey questions completed by students and/or parents were directly related to attitudes and knowledge based on each session. This information will help to deliver future content more effectively by being mindful of necessary modifications – topics, content, and method of delivery. For instance, it was determined that more engagement from teachers would be beneficial for attendance groups in the future. When dealing with self-harm, increasing communication with families for the purpose of supporting their students was identified. The magnet students group determined that future groups could include more interactive media and technology use such as videos and modules to engage students. The group will also be conducted during 1st semester after reviewing 1st quarter grades.
Most of the perception data collected for the group was through students’ pre/post surveys and focused solely on academic achievement. It would have been beneficial to include questions that assessed socio-emotional concerns that may have impacted the students’ academic performance at the time. Future academic focused groups would benefit from including socio-emotional based questions in surveys to collect data with more depth that could essentially benefit our students.
There will be a continuous use of ASCA Mindsets M3, M5 & M6 when facilitating self-motivating groups such as the anti-self-harm and academic readiness groups. These mindsets focus on students’ self-concept, positive attitudes towards learning, and ability to succeed. Attendance groups will continue to include mindsets that focus on a sense of belonging (M3) and the ability to succeed (M2) with the purpose of motivating students to attend school.
The ASCA behaviors will continue focusing primarily on assuming responsibility and removing barriers to learning for attendance groups; creating positive relationships with peers and adults along with showing appropriate school behavior for anti-self-harm groups; and learning strategies, personal responsivity, and self-management skills for magnet academic small groups.
Given that our school is one grade level and we are tasked with learning about a new student population every year, some groups are naturally discontinued. Consequently, we take time to learn about the new student population each year and assess their needs over time. However, some groups such as the one targeting attendance will be continued in the future as a result of it being an area of concern over several years.
Another way to make decisions about future groups is to identify underlying concerns. Based on perception data from the magnet group, the lowest scores were associated with daily agenda use. Therefore, future lessons about agenda use would be beneficial.