Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, I conducted sixteen different small groups. These small group responsive services supported the vision of our counseling department by equipping our students with the necessary tools to become “resilient, respectful, life-long learners who BELIEVE in their ability to achieve their greatest potential as future citizens contributing to a global society”.
The multiple groups that were conducted during the 2017-2018 school year addressed a variety of student needs. A separate small group action plan has been completed on each of these groups with sessions of activities describing the attitude, knowledge and skills delivered. We strongly believe that all of our small responsive groups support our vision and are tied to our goals and ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors.
To support the school counseling department program goal of decreasing the number of cumulative absences acquired by students with 15 or more absences from the previous school year and decreasing our overall chronic absenteeism rate, twelve attendance groups, 2 per grade level (grades 1-6), were developed. These groups were developed using attendance data from the 2016-2017 school year. Students were grouped based on the number of absences acquired in the previous year. For example, students who had 15-17 absences were placed in one group and students who had 13-14 absences were placed in the second group. The lessons addressed goal setting, perseverance, learning to be self motivated and self directed as well as building relationships with both peers and adults which align with the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success.
During our counselor data team meetings, we evaluated school wide incident data to determine what other responsive services were needed. From that data, I developed four other groups: Managing Aggressive Behavior, Standing Up For Yourself and Others, Friendship Building, and Girls Rock: Confidence Building. Students were chosen based on referral data as well as input from teachers, administrators and our school based behavioral health specialist. The group lessons addressed were developed using the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success with a focus on social-emotional skills, coping skills, self-discipline and control, creating positive relationships with peers and adults as well as development of the whole student.
The small group results report summarizes the process, perception and outcome data that was gathered for the Girls Rock Group. This group was chosen because social conflicts between female students are difficult issues to resolve. This group was made up of eight fourth grade girls.The students were chosen based on school referral data and teacher recommendations. The group met six times over a five week period for 30 minutes each session.The sessions focused on positive self concept, social conflict, and bullying (relational aggression). Having a positive self-concept is explained as the foundation to having appropriate coping skills to address negative social situations. The students are able to make connections between the information being taught and their own experiences.
The perception data shows a significant increase in the girl’s perception of themselves, their abilities and their self confidence. The small group lessons and delivery model successfully addressed the girls’ identified needs and helped improve their self awareness and confidence. It should be replicated, with as-needed modifications to fit new group members' particular needs. Because of the success of the group, I would like to expand the Girl’s Rock group to include girls from grades three through six. I would also like to schedule more than 6 sessions over a stretched out time period to allow a longer time for skills being practiced in the group to become habitual and generalized so that they can apply these skills throughout their daily living.
The progress made by the students at Maili Elementary in the areas of behavior and attendance is supported by the outcome data. It is evident that the support provided by small group interventions is beneficial to student success. The school counseling department will continue to develop small group instruction according to the students' needs and continue to obtain more detailed data to determine the academic, social, and emotional growth of individual students in the groups in addition to whole group results.