Data from our 2016-17 needs assessment completed by students, as well as data from our school improvement plan with regards to attendance, referrals, and academics drove the counseling departments choice of groups.
Data gathered in 6th grade indicated the following needs; Changing Families Group, Friendship Group, Girls Group, and Boys Group. The counselor spoke to all about groups and they had the opportunity then to self refer confidentially. Sixty-five students self referred and thirty five students participated. Two Changing Families Groups with all girls were held, where ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors targeted were M-1, B-SS2, B-SS8, B-SMS7. One Friendship Group with five girls took place, in which the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors targeted were M1, M2, M3, B-SS2, B-SS4, B-SS5. Finally, two Boys Groups and Two Girls Groups were run with the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviours target were M2, M3, B-SS2, B-SS3, B-SS8.
All students in each group completed a pre and post survey to help prioritize learning.Post survey data indicated they both enjoyed and benefited. Reflection by the counselor, are to have survey questions even more specific.
Data from the same survey taken by 7th grade student highlighted academic skills (homework completion, study skills, organization, etc), social skills (separate groups male and female) and friendship issues (young men’s and young women’s group).
A total of thirty-two students self selected to attend lunch groups (16 social skills, 10 young men, and 6 young women). Two Social Skills Groups were run, one all male and one female, in which the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors targeted were M1, M3, B-SL1, B-SL9, B-SMS2, B-SS1, B-SS2, B-SS3, B-SS5, and B-SS9. One Young Men’s Group with ten males was help. The ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors targeted were M1, M3, B-SL1, B-SL9, B-SMS2, B-SMS7, B-SMS10, B-SS1, B-SS2, B-SS3, B-SS4, B-SS5, B-SS8, and B-SS9. One Young Women’s Group with six females, in which the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors targets were M1, M3, B-SL1, B-SL9, B-SMS2, B-SMS7, B-SMS10, B-SS1, B-SS2, B-SS3, B-SS4, B-SS5, B-SS8, and B-SS9.
Pre-assessment provided helped shape the curriculum priorities and the post-assessment revealed what insights students had gained. Students indicated a growth in confidence to work through conflict. Each student indicated they would participate again and/or suggest this group to a friend. Adding questions to the post assessment, changing some wording together with the collection of data to have an online Google forms would help to better collect and analyze data.
Our eighth grade students needs survey gathered in the same school wide grade level survey at the end of their seventh grade year. Results from this indicated that groups to address, academic skills, social and friendship and managing emotions were needed. Groups that were then offered were, Academic Aces, Social Butterfly, Changes, Boy's Life Skills, and Big Three.
Advertising, pre-interviews, permission, passes, were all followed through with. Students however, just struggled to get there.Follow up discussions to determine why ranged from they forgot, they had to go and see a teacher for help at lunch,or that they were not interested now because they wanted to have lunch with friends. Agreements were made with some students to work instead on these skills individually and this then became our practice and completed in resources.
Alternatives to offer an after school group was ruled out as students are in so many after school club/activities.Students are heavily involved in school clubs, out of school sports, theater, tutoring etc. after school hours that there schedules are tight.
This was of course disappointing, as counselors however, we must meet the student where they are, and peer relations is where they are ‘at’, at this developmental stage.
This also causes reflection on how the data was collected, were the questions pointed enough to determine the needs? There is benefit to doing an end of year survey to ascertain needs, but from seventh to eighth grade there are often, over that summer, big maturity jumps. It is observed that social groups change at the beginning of the school year. That sense of belonging to a group is so strong and it takes a lot for a student to separate at lunch.
For the upcoming year we will have our needs survey completed at the close of the academic year. When scheduling students will be placed in resources together, so they are not losing social time.
Reflection also pushes us to consider holding group later in the academic year and to develop dialogue on how to talk about your friends about going to a group as something positive, healthy and an act of self care.