We looked at the end of the first quarter’s ‘Total Number of Suspects by Grade’ data taken from the Electronic Comprehensive Student Support System and noticed fifth grade had the greatest number of students with verified offenses (see attachment). The closing-the-gap (CTG) group consisted of five fifth grade students from a SPED resource class. Further disaggregation of data showed these students received eight times the number of referrals as their peers during the previous school year. The average fifth grade student that year had 0.3 referrals. These students received an average of five referrals. Based on data, we chose to decrease the number of referrals for these five students which is aligned with our program goal of reducing the number of incidents of physical contact. The counselors met with teachers and administrators and identified that misbehaviors occurred when the students were faced with the unexpected. For example, when lunch bunch was cancelled, these students became disruptive in the classroom (e.g. threw objects, walked out of class without permission) and ended up getting an office referral.
The interventions were chosen based on looking at The Evidence-Based Child and Adolescent Psychosocial Interventions Chart (see attachment) created by Practice Wise Evidence-Based Services. It showed that CBT (Cognitive Behavior Training) was listed among the best Level 1 Supports for delinquency and disruptive behavior. We decided a small group intervention would best address the needs of these students. It was designed to teach students in the CTG group to manage their emotions. Students were taught to reframe situations by changing their negative thoughts to positive ones. They were taught to come up with different options to cope with the unexpected. For example, when lunch bunch was rescheduled, instead of throwing objects and leaving the classroom without permission, students learned to say things to themselves (self-talk) like “It’s okay. We can have lunch bunch another day.” Another thing they learned to do was to ask for permission to take a drink of water.
Activities listed on our results report were multi-tiered chosen while incorporating our research on PBISWorld.com and with our counseling program goals and ASCA Mindsets and Behavior standards in mind. For example, Tier one included a school-wide incentive program (SWIM card, Bingo card) to reward students for good behavior. Students with good behavior would be less likely to engage in physical contact with others. Tier two activities included check in/check out and small groups. Behavior intervention plans and individual counseling were listed under Tier 3.
Perception data results showed gains in all questions. Students made a 60% gain in both altering what they believe and increasing their knowledge in changing their thoughts. After the group met, students got use to the idea that they would not always get what they wanted. They also began to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Data also showed students increased their skill set dramatically (100%) by now being able to come up with other options when the unexpected happened. Outcome data showed 100% of the students had a decrease in the number of referrals after the group intervention.
Although results data showed great gains, we believe there's still room for improvement. We plan to continue this group but add three more lessons. This will provide additional time for guided and independent practice for students to fully internalize the concepts that were introduced. With the help of the teachers, we wanted students to take what they have learned in group and utilize their new skills in the classroom. We plan to target ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors standards B-LS4 and B-SMS2 into our new lessons.
In addition to continuing the interventions/activities listed on the CTG report, we plan to add individual incentives for students displaying appropriate behaviors when the unexpected happens. An improved check in/check out system could be initiated to monitor progress several times a day. And, when students are readily able to turn their negative thoughts to positive thoughts, they could become peer mentors and teach other students to do likewise.
To collect data more accurately, our survey used to assess students’ perception could have been improved by asking better questions. For example, instead of asking students if they believe it’s okay if they don’t get what they want, students could be asked to use a five-point scale to show how they feel about it both before and after the group intervention. We could provide one- to-one support when answering the questions to ensure they understood what was being asked and actually put some thought into their answers.