In determining where our gaps were, the counseling team consulted the school improvement plan/goals and student achievement data every interim and quarter. Based on information obtained from these data points, the counseling team sought to target our D/F population, in hopes to improve student achievement for this population.
All counselors reviewed data from the end of last year to include, each quarter, final grade and SOL data for all students. Bi- weekly individual meetings were held with 145 students (6th - 45, 7th -41, 8th - 59) in the first quarter, 30 in the second quarter and 16 in the third quarter. In the initial meetings we reviewed student self-belief, motivation, persistence when tasks got hard, developed SMART goals and investigated their growth mindset. In the second meeting we determined their learning preferences as either visual, kinesthetic and auditory styles. In all following meetings we reviewed goals, worked on executive functioning skills, study skills and test taking strategies. These initial baseline diagnostics were sought to understand the students self-belief about their own abilities and their patterns of motivation.
Students were given help on reviewing their grades in StudentVue, how to see their patterns of behavior, i.e. if they were getting low test scores, not turning in homework and how to correct these habits. Students individual help varied from, managing class time better, avoiding procrastination, brainstorming ideas, setting up a workspace at home, organizing notes, and study tips. The grade level counselor also maintained collaboration with Interdisciplinary Teams (IT) teams to ensure ongoing support. Having collaboration with teachers, a supported resource and parent awareness were significant factors that helped students to achieve their grades, their skills and their sense of self efficacy.
Grades increased due to an increase in completing and turning in homework assignments, increase in test scores (related to change in study habits), and some students attended the Homework Helpers Club. Over the 4 quarters, the class with the highest number of D’s/F’s was Spanish 1, a high school credit elective. Once a student made a D or F in a core class the grade improved 0.5 to 2 letter grades.
The Homework Helpers Club was implemented as result of the student needs assessment data taken at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Created as an after-school club, that met weekly for one hour. Students were provided with time, space, and desktop computers to assist in homework completion. Students came prepared with homework or missing assignments to complete. Peer tutors (8th grade students) provided support to students as needed.
Of the 22 students who attended the Homework Helpers Club, 8 students attended regularly. Regularity constitutes attending at least 1 x per month during the course of the club (November 2017-May 2018) which meant attending 5 or more times. Based on review of student grades each quarter, it was noted that the grades fluctuated. Attendees had an increase in grades from 1 quarter to the next in a core area but at the same time there would be a decrease in a different core area that same marking period. It may benefit the Homework Helpers Club to use technology and have students check his/her own StudentVue Account at the beginning of each meeting. This would assist in verifying missing work but would be a good time for students to check his/her own grades and see where they may need to focus time during the club.
Having this data helps us to determine that the interventions for fifty-one students was grade improvement and that this intervention worked for them. The program will continue based on the evidence of success for most students. The counselor has learned to pay particular attention to pacing to develop habits.