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RAMP Application

School Information

Our school has received the RAMP designation previously and is applying to Re-Ramp: No
Have you or another counselor(s) in your school received formal, in person training or coaching on the ASCA National Model or RAMP in the past two years?:
Does your school receive funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program?: No
School Name: Soldotna High School
School Address: 425 W. Marydale Ave Soldotna, AK 99669
School District Name: Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
School Twitter Handle:
School year RAMP application represents: 2016-2017
Number of students in district: 8878
Grade Category: k12
Grade levels served at school: 10-12
Number of students at school: 573
Number of certified staff at school: 42
Number of Full-time school counselors at school: 2
Number of Part-time school counselors at school: 0
Average number of students served by each school counselor: 286
School setting: Rural
Percentage of students identified as special education students: 17
Percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunch: 24

Percent Black: 0
Percent Hispanic: 4
Percent White: 79
Percent Native American: 7
Percent Asian: 2
Percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 1
Percent Other: 7

Names of other school counselors at school:

Names of other personnel:
Nelma Treider, Registrar and Guidance/Career Assistant

COVID-19 Information

1. Indicate the exact closure date for your school

2. Did your school/school district provide virtual instruction to students?

3. Describe how the school counseling program was integrated into virtual instruction and how it was delivered.

4. Describe any limitations that affected school counselors’ ability to work with students following school closures, such as district policies/restrictions, students’ access to technology, etc.

5.Identify the process: a. How many classroom instruction lessons were conducted?, b. How many group sessions were conducted?, c. How many students received individual counseling?

6. Identify the strategies to include students who did not have the technology to connect virtually. (150 word limit)

7. Identify other resources used to reach students (links to services, experiences, webinars, etc.)

8. Summarize the feedback received from students about activities, lessons, sessions, etc.

9. Summarize support provided to stakeholders if applicable (staff, parents, administration, community, etc.)

Written Portions and File Attachments

1. Vision Statement
School Counseling Program Vision Statement:
Soldotna High School Counseling Department Vision Statement:
The vision of the Soldotna High School counseling department is that every student will experience learning, academic success, and hope for their future. In collaboration with families, teachers, students, administration, and community members, the Soldotna High School Counselors envision that all students will have success in their academics, personal/social interactions, and career aspirations. We will continually analyze data to determine our goals to help all students achieve success. Soldotna High School Counselors envision our students reaching their full potential as productive and engaged citizens who will thrive in our rapidly changing global community.

School Counseling Program Beliefs:
Counselors at Soldotna High School believe:
1. All students have the ability to achieve academically and in their chosen post-secondary pathway.
2. Student achievement and attendance data must drive the school counseling program goals, lessons, and focus/small groups.
3. The counseling program should be developed collaboratively to best serve all student’s developmental needs.
4. Alignment with the ASCA national model is imperative for a school counseling program to ensure that all areas of student need (academic, career, and personal/social) are addressed.

School Vision Statement:
Soldotna High School (Home of the STARS) Vision Statement:
Here at Soldotna High School, we Strive for excellence within the classrooms, within our activity programs and within life. Think critically and analytically as we gain knowledge. Achieve mastery of the lessons being taught; Respect all students, staff, and community members; and Succeed in all that we do and may our futures be our bright STAR.

District Vision Statement:
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Vision Statement:
In collaboration with families, teachers, administration, and community members, KPBSD school counselors envision a future where KPBSD students achieve success in their academic, personal/social, and career goals. Utilizing the American School Counselor Association National Model, we envision KPBSD students reaching their full potential as productive and engaged citizens who will thrive in our rapidly changing global community.

Narrative: 1. Vision statement narrative:

The Soldotna High School Counseling Department vision statement has been a work in progress for several years. While the state, district and school did have vision statements (1.1), the district-wide counseling department did not. At a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) district-wide counseling meeting during the 2015-2016 school year, KPBSD counselors worked through the process of writing a district vision statement (see supporting document 1.1).

Once the district-wide counseling vision statement was formed, Soldotna High Counselors were then able to begin forming a school counseling department vision statement. Counselors used the recommended exercise in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model, including the “Exercise: Developing Beliefs” discussion tool. Counselors then defined and recorded beliefs using the suggested chart in the national model. The belief statements and planning chart is attached as a supporting document (1.2). The counselor’s beliefs influence and shape the vision and ultimately drives the program and curriculum.

Counselors worked as a collaborative group to ensure that the vision aligned with state, district and school vision statements. Included is input from school counselors, students, teachers, and administrators through the advisory council. The focus was to align beliefs with the not only the district and school, but also the ASCA model while ensuring that our collective voice is the essence of the vision statement.

The main aspect Soldotna High Counselors chose to highlight in their vision statement is that all students will graduate with the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Soldotna High Counselors believe that all students should have the skills of planning, researching, and seeking opportunities so they can achieve their personal and career goals. These beliefs have shaped the vision and guide the program goals.

The process of forming a vision statement was significant because it forced counselors to examine basic beliefs about students and where students will be in 5 years. Through the process, the counselors realized that everything they do is directly influenced by the fundamental beliefs. Having said that, the vision statement has probably had more revisions than one can count (see revisions in supporting document 1.3). We discovered that the foundation of the vision influences the mission statement, our goals as a department, and everything we strive to provide for our students.

The vision inspires our curriculum and our interactions with students as we deliver large group instruction, small group activities, and individual counseling services. Our vision drives us to continuously direct students toward planning, researching opportunities, and seeking career goals in which they can be successful. As our vision statement indicates, we desire that all students will emerge from high school with the tools they need to be successful no matter what their post-secondary plans may be and that they will be able to navigate our rapidly changing global community.

Note: After our September 2017 Advisory Council meeting, Soldotna High Counselors changed the wording of the vision statement slightly, but not the overall meaning and intention. While our agendas and minutes from past Advisory Council meetings reflect the previous version, the uploaded mission statement included in this RAMP application is updated (1.4).

Attached Files:
  • 1.1 Vision Alignment View
  • 1.2 Beliefs Exercise View
  • 1.3 Vision REVISIONS View
  • 1.4 Vision Final View

2. Mission Statement:
School Mission Statement: Soldotna High School Mission Statement: Soldotna High School’s mission is to create and maintain an environment that ensures the opportunity for each member of the school community to reach a high level of individual, academic and vocational achievement as determined by local, state and national standards paired with employability skills. We commit to a comprehensive system of support within our school and community for all students.

School Counseling Mission Statement: Soldotna High School Counseling Program Mission Statement: The mission of the Soldotna High School Counseling Program is to develop and deliver a comprehensive school counseling program that is systemic, data-driven, and collaborative to ensure that all students are empowered to have success as they shape their future in academics, personal/social development, and career aspirations. We are committed to creating and maintaining an environment were all students have access to the tools they need to reach high levels of individual, academic, and vocational achievement. As professional school advocates, school counselors facilitate services to ensure all students have equal access and opportunity to gain the attitudes, knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in a dynamic world.

Mission statement narrative:

The mission statement of the Soldotna High School Counseling Department is a product of collaboration. Included is input from administration, teachers, students, and other school counselors in the district. The state, school and district already had robust mission statements and counselors were able to incorporate those ideals in to the department mission statement (see 2.1).

The process for developing the mission statement included close examination of the state, district and school mission statements. As the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model suggests, counselors identified key words and phrases that describe their most important work. Document 2.2 further outlines the development process. Counselors brainstormed phrases that answered the questions: What is our focus? What is our purpose? Next, counselors identified key words and phrases from the state, district, and school mission statements.

The mission of the Soldotna High School Counseling Department includes aspects of the principles of not only the state mission and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) mission, but also the district-wide Counseling and Soldotna High School missions (see 2.1 and 2.2). As we aligned our mission statement with state, district and school, we made sure to use the ASCA model as our guide. We have also presented our mission statement to our advisory council for review and input. Advisory Council notes can be found in section six.

The mission statement drives the program and core curriculum to ensure that all students have equal access to the tools they need to be successful in their personal lives and in their future career path. This includes specific career lessons in both large and small group settings, and working with students individually to plan, research, and explore career pathways. Soldotna High has partnered with the community and utilizes a variety of resources such as the Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS) to guide students in their exploration of career interests. Counselors work with students as they complete various interest profiler assessments, career and college/scholarship search engines, and resume building tools. Counselors instruct and guide students as they compile their academic and personal resumes and write a personal narrative essay. Soldotna High Counselors recognize that students have a vast variance in academic and personal development. In order to address the diverse needs of all students, we deliver the core curriculum in a variety of settings. Additionally, small group and individual counseling services provide an opportunity for all students to develop their personal and social skills.

The mission statement supports creating and maintaining an environment were all students have access to the tools they need to reach high levels of individual, academic, and vocational achievement to reach their long term goals (see 2.3).

Attached Files:
  • 2.1 Mission Alignment View
  • 2.2 Mission Development Process View
  • 2.3 Mission Statement View

3. School Counseling Program Goals:

Goal 1:
Goal 1: Achievement & Attendance Goal: By May of 2017, the class of 2017 will increase the percentage of students on track to graduate by 6% from 94% to 100%.

  • Academic Achievement
  • Dropout Prevention
Goal 2:
Goal 2: Achievement & Attendance Goal: By May of 2017, the class of 2019 will increase the percentage of students on track to graduate by 7% from 87% to 94%.

  • Academic Achievement
  • Dropout Prevention
Goal 3:
Goal 3: College & Career Readiness Goal: By May of 2017, the class of 2018 will increase their College & Career Literacy documentation by 47% from 23% to 70%.

  • Career Development
  • College Readiness

Soldotna High School Counseling Program Goals Narrative:

After gathering and examining school data and updating the school data profile (see 3.1a, 3.1b, and 3.2) to search for needs and achievement gaps, Counselors discovered some clear issues to address.

Data to highlight:
1. 2015-2016 class of 2017 (seniors) 6% < 16 credits earned
2. 2015-2016 class of 2019 (sophomores) 13% < 4 credits earned
3. 2015-2016 only 23% of the rising Junior class had an updated Personal Learning and Career Plan (PLCP) in the Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS).

Counselors consulted the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) goals for 2016-2017 (see 3.3). Counselors then reviewed the Soldotna High School goal for 2016-2017 (see 3.4) and struggled to find a way to directly align it to our department in terms of goals. The goal required that teachers begin to use a new online curriculum delivery platform called Canvas. The nature of our student information system and its connection to Canvas does not allow for School Counselors to use this platform; however, in the spirit of the intent of the goal, we were able to increase our online presence and communications with students to support the school goal. Details about our online presence are highlighted in section 12 and also in attachments 3.5a and 3.5b.

Counselors found it important to note that two of the Soldotna High Counseling Program goals became focused on improving the graduation rate, which is one of the District’s goals (see 3.3, district goal #1). These two department goals are significant and the intent was to increase student achievement and future opportunities by increasing the number of students on track to graduate.

Goal #1 (see 3.6) identifies and addresses a gap and will be the driving force for section 11 (Closing the gap). This goal targets seniors and their credits and directly supports district goal #1. In August of 2016, counselors recommended specific credit-deficient seniors for acceptance in to the district’s alternative school, which is a drop-out prevention program targeting students deficient in credits. Several of the students in the identified deficient group did choose to transfer to the alternative school, and several chose to transfer to the district home school program. By mid-September, Soldotna High School had only 12 students enrolled with less than 16 credits. This goal is aligned with our vision to continuously analyze data to help all students achieve success and have equal opportunity to gain the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to be successful in a dynamic world.

Goal 2 (see 3.7) also addresses credit deficiencies and directly supports district goal #1, but focuses on the class of 2019, the incoming sophomores. Counselors reviewed the “behind in credits” report (see 3.2) and set a goal to bring this class closer to the graduation rate trend (see 3.1a) of 94%-95%. Counselors met with administration and the counselor from the feeder school to identify specific credit-deficient students in need of intervention.

Goal 3 (see 3.8) is directly aligned with the district goal regarding College/Career Readiness (see 3.3, district goal #2). A report exported from the Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS) showed that only 23% of the rising junior class had updated their Personal Learning and Career Plan (PLCP) in AKCIS in the 10th grade (see 3.2). These same students had a 72% PLCP completion rate as 9th graders (see 3.2). We developed our goal to bring that percentage up to 70%. This goal directly echoes the vision and mission in regard to all students experiencing hope for their future and success in their career aspirations. Counselors believe that students who are engaged and have a sense of belonging in the school environment will have a greater sense of hope for their future.

Department goals are stated in the SMART goal templates (3.6, 3.7, and 3.8), but are also attached as one document in attachment 3.9.

Supplemental Documents:
4. ASCA Student Standards Competencies and Indicators OR ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success:

Attached Files:Narrative:
Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success Narrative:

Counselors met late in the year (2015-2016) to reflect on our vision and mission statements, to update our department goals, and to determine our focus groups for the following year. Counselors utilize data from the feeder school to address specific concerns on incoming students. Counselors gather data on continuing students to determine goals and focus groups. After counselors have reviewed the data each year and set departmental goals, they look at which mindsets and behaviors need to be addressed and determine if it is already part of the core curriculum or if they need to plan a specific small group or closing the gap activity.

The department delivers a comprehensive, data driven curriculum that continually drives students towards success. The Mindsets & Behaviors Program Planning Tool is essential in guiding counselors to be purposeful and intentional with the Counseling Program Curriculum. The vision, mission, and goals are intricately linked with the mindsets and behaviors. Counselors use the planning tool to guide the lessons, small groups, and individual planning meetings with all students.

Some of the mindsets and behaviors are addressed every year in large group classroom instruction as part of the core curriculum, but the focus groups change year to year depending on gaps and student need. For example, this year counselors determined that the incoming sophomore class was not only credit deficient, but also had low attendance and a high level of problematic behaviors. Counselors decided to include not only small group academic instruction but also small group social & emotional support. Part of the process is to review data each year and select mindsets & behaviors that support the goals and guide the curriculum.

While planning ahead is best practice, the counselors also understand that flexibility is important. For example, during a school year with multiple fatalities, counselors may choose to include a second grief response group to meet the needs of our students.
For each of our department goals, we have identified specific mindsets and behaviors on which to focus.

Counselors chose mindsets 2 and 4 to address department goal 1 because the seniors who are credit deficient will benefit from an increased send of self-confidence in their ability to succeed. Counselors believe the target group of credit deficient seniors will also benefit from understanding that postsecondary education and lifelong learning are necessary for long term career success.

Counselors focused on mindsets 2 and 4; behavior LS 7; and behavior SMS 7 to address department goal 2. It is essential that the credit deficient sophomores are able to identify academic, career, and social/emotional goals as well as develop their ability to cope when faced with a problem.

For our Junior class goal (department goal 3), counselors planned lessons with mindsets 2 and 4, behavior LS 7, and behavior SS 1 as their guide.

Supplemental Documents:
  • 4.1 M&B Planning Tool View

5. Annual Agreement:

Attached Files:
  • 5.1 Griffin 16-17 View
  • 5.2 Neisinger 16-17 View
  • 5.3 Dept. Mtgs. Agendas and Minutes 16-17 View
  • 5.4 10th behind in credits View
  • 5.5 12th behind in credits View
Annual Agreement Narrative

At Soldotna High School, there are two full time counselors who work with 573 students in grades 10-12, and split the students by alphabet. The Soldotna Preparatory (SoPrep) School, which houses 202 9th grade students, employs a part time school counselor and is located in a different building. The counselors work collaboratively with SoPrep to provide the best transition services to meet the needs of all students.

To establish a firm foundation for the upcoming school year Soldotna High School develops and signs an Annual Counselor/Principal agreement through collaboration with the principal, and counselors. The counselors met with the principal on September 15, 2016 to review and sign the Annual Agreement. Each counselor presented specific information to the administrator regarding the development of annual goals, duties, the counseling office calendar, opportunities for professional development, as well as the duties and responsibilities of the support staff. This meeting also showed the administration how the counseling program is data driven. The data that was shared with the administrator helped create goals of achievement, attendance, and college and career readiness that support and promote the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model. During this meeting the Advisory Council dates were also reviewed, and added to the annual agreement. The administrator provided input on the goals and use of time, and then signed each agreement. The Administrator is aware that the counselors re-evaluate, discuss, and continuously review all aspects of the program to ensure that the department is creating a positive school environment, removing barriers to student learning, and safeguarding student success.

In order to maximize efficiency while addressing the school counseling goals, the counselors looked at data from a variety of sources. They examined the “behind on credit” reports of students coming into the 10th grade and 12th grade who were credit deficient, and not on track to graduate (see 5.4 and 5.5). Using this data, the counselors examined specific areas of need within the school, and decided to create goals to meet these needs, while aligning the department goals with the district goals. All goals reflect the vision and mission statements of the Soldotna High School Counseling Program.

The annual agreement was developed using all relative data, and using the expertise and experiences of each counselor. The counselors divided the extra duties and assignments equally among the two counselors, so that one counselor wouldn’t be overwhelmed. For example, one of the counselor’s individual duties pertained to working with the Soldotna Alternative (S.Alt.) program which is an intervention program in the high school. This counselor served as the head counselor for that program, keeping track of progress in credits for the seniors who were not on track to graduate. Both counselors worked with their individual seniors on college/career advising, credit checks, and intervention steps if students were falling behind. Both counselors worked closely with the interventionist to keep tabs on the academic progress of the sophomores who were behind on credits.

To provide the school counselors with more time for direct and indirect services, additional staff was added to the department. The principal hired an interventionist with a school counseling degree and teaching certificate, who taught two periods a day, and then spent the rest of the time in the Counseling office, working with students who were behind on credits, or failing classes. This has been highly beneficial for the department as a whole. The majority of the counselor time is now spent addressing responsive and direct services for all students. The additional help has allowed counselors to focus on their program goals. (see Calendar section supporting documents 7.2-7.5 for evidence of use of time.)

Each counselor works with students in grades 10th-12th, and splits the alphabet from A-K and L-Z. This division gives each counselor around the same number of students on their caseloads. By splitting the alphabet, it allows each counselor to stay with their students through their senior year, thus developing strong connections. It also allows the counselors to know what is going on in each grade level so it is easier to help each other’s students when one counselor is not available. The counseling department works collaboratively with a .8 school psychologist, a .75 interventionist (with counseling degree who was hired as full time counselor in 2017-18). The department also worked closely with a full time counseling intern during the spring semester. While the counselors have their assigned duties, or areas that they specialize in, they work as a unified and collaborative team.

6. Advisory Council:

Attached Files:
  • 6.1 Council Members 2016-2017 View
  • 6.2 Agendas all mtg 16-17 View
  • 6.3 Minutes all mtgs 16-17 View
  • 6.4 Calendar Handout given fall and spring View
  • 6.5 Fall 2016 PowerPoint View
  • 6.6 Spring 2017 PowerPoint View
  • 6.7 17-18 Council Members View
  • 6.8 Fall 2017 Agenda View
  • 6.9 Fall 2017 Minutes View
  • 6.10 Fall 2017 PowerPoint View
  • 6.11 Brochure View
  • 6.12 Flyer for Staff and Public View
Advisory Council Members and Stakeholder Positions:
2016-2017 Advisory Council Members:
•Brian Dusek, School Board Member
•Tony Graham, School Principal
•Margaret Griffin, School Counselor
•Brock Kant, Sophomore Student
•Natalie Kant, Sophomore Parent
•Megan Murphy, SoHi teacher, Interventionist
•Erin Neisinger, School Counselor
•Heather Swanson, Freshman Parent

Advisory Council Narrative:

The Soldotna High School Counseling Department Advisory Council was somewhat inspired by the Skyview Middle School staff here in Soldotna. One of our parents is the school counselor there and she shared with us how valuable having an advisory council can be. Counselors discussed this with the administrator and he agreed that an advisory council would be a good idea. The administrator shared with us how the school site council and parent-teacher-student association (PTSA) give him valuable feedback for a wide variety of school related issues. Counselors decided it would also be an avenue to share our goals and get feedback from stakeholders. The department added this council to the program in the fall of 2016 and will continue to meet twice a year or more. Agendas, minutes, handouts, and PowerPoints for all meetings are attached as supporting documents (6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, and 6.10).

Counselors invited a variety of community stakeholders to serve on the advisory council including a school board member, parents, teachers, and students. The counselors wanted to invite members personally, instead of in writing, so one counselor spoke to each member personally and gave a short overview of the purpose of the council. The counselors wanted to make it clear that this group is solely focused on the school counseling program and not related to any other committees.

Now that the advisory council is an established group, counselors are able to rely on feedback to shape the program. For example, in the Spring 2017 meeting, the student representative shared about how useful it is to have the student cell phone notification system called service. Counselors had not yet decided if they would continue using that service, but based on his feedback they certainly will. Another example of the council’s feedback affecting our program is the suggestion that we use a flyer, brochure, or presentation to our faculty next fall to inform them about our program. The counselors have developed a brochure to use in the 2017-2018 school year (see 6.11) and a flyer for the staff to highlight the services the department provides for the school (see 6.12).

For the upcoming school year, counselors plan to expand the advisory council to include several community members who are not necessarily directly connected to the school. Some of the ideas discussed are local military recruiters, a member from the Soldotna City Council, or a local business owner. As of September 2017, the School Psychologist and the Registrar/Counseling Assistant have been added to the Advisory Council.

7. Calendars:

Attached Files:
  • 7.1a Unpublished Calendar View
  • 7.1b Published Calendar View
  • 7.2 Griffin Weekly Fall 2016 View
  • 7.3 Griffin Weekly Spring 2017 View
  • 7.4 Neisinger Weekly Fall 2016 View
  • 7.5 Neisinger Weekly Spring 2017 View
  • 7.6 Sign In Station and Samples View
Calendar Narrative:

Counselors meet as a department annually to map out the annual calendar which tends to change from year to year to align with department goals. Counselors meet with the administrator annually to discuss the annual calendar and annual agreement. Some of the core curriculum is delivered at specific times in the year due to major events happening in the school district, such as state-mandated assessments. Counselors have identified the number one priority as directly and indirectly delivering the curriculum and services to students. The annual calendar provides a framework to shape the weekly and daily calendars.

Soldotna High School Counselors have a version of the annual calendar that is published on the school website in the “Counselor’s Corner” (see 7.1b) but also have an unpublished more detailed annual calendar used for program planning (see7.1a). Counselors distribute the published calendar (includes a welcome packet) at fall registration. The unpublished calendar tracks use of time and includes a list of specific responsibilities assigned to each counselor. Counselors have aligned the annual calendar with the school and department’s mission and vision. Counselors have taken district and school activity calendars into consideration as they map out the year. Counselors also strive to adhere to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model and recommendations for use of time.

Soldotna High School Counselors used the Excel template from one of the examples of outstanding Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) applications on the ASCA website to report the weekly calendars for RAMP. Categorically color-coding the weekly calendars makes is clear to determine use of time appropriateness. Both school counselors at Soldotna High School use Outlook Calendars to plan meetings, classroom lesson plans, and parent meetings. Looking back at a specific week, they can use Outlook to map out the curriculum delivery plan for the week. The weekly calendar is posted each day on a clipboard at the counseling office sign in station so that students and parents know when counselors are available and when they can sign up for an individual appointment. Included are several sample daily posted calendars as supporting documents along with a photo of the counseling department sign in station (see 7.6). As always, the planned use of time does not always perfectly match the sign in sheet because counselors adjust their schedule as needed due to responsive services.

The four (two for each counselor) weeks reported were chosen carefully and reflect a week that best represents counselors delivering a comprehensive program. In the area of system support/program management/accountability, Griffin’s weekly calendars show 22.5% (fall) and 29.5% (spring), while Neisinger’s weekly calendars show 8.25% (Fall) and 15.3% (spring). The rationale for this imbalance is that Neisinger was out on maternity leave for part of the school year and Griffin took over many of the systems support duties that would not be appropriate for a substitute employee. Normally, with the system support tasks divided more evenly, both counselors would have been well under the recommended 20% use of time in that area.

While planning annual, monthly, weekly, and daily calendars, counselors always keep in mind that they must be fluid in their delivery. Counselors are mindful that they must adjust in order to respond to events in the district and community. A well-resected and seasoned counselor once said: “remember that your interruptions are your REAL work.” Soldotna High School Counselors adhere to that adage as they proactively plan delivery, but flex daily and weekly activities to best serve the community.

8. School Counseling Core Curriculum Action Plan and Lessons Plans:

Attached Files:
  • 8.1a Core Curriculum Action Plan View
  • 8.1b District Curriculum Minimum Requirements View
  • 10th lesson plan 2016-2017 View
  • 10th perception data instrument prepost View
  • 10th presentation career lesson View
  • 11th lesson plan 2016-2017 View
  • 11th perception data tool pre-post View
  • Prezzi link - resume workshop Open
  • 11th Prezzi link and resume worksheet View
  • 11th supporting document school sort AKCIS handout View
  • 12th lesson plan senior unit 2016-2017 View
  • 12th prepost test instrument View
  • 12th Fall Unit Presentation 2016 View
  • 12th supporting document indiv visit script/checklist View
  • 12th supporting document fall 2016 unit checklist View
  • 12th supporting document portfolio template View
School Counseling Core Curriculum Action Plan and Lesson Plans:

The Counseling department meets several times a year to map out and adjust the Core Curriculum Action Plan for the year. At the end of the year, the counselors outline and update the Action Plan for the following school year. After the counselors have examined end of year data and identified the goals, they review the core curriculum using the action plan (see 8.1) and make sure that the lessons they are planning to deliver support the program goals. The school counselors use the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) mindsets and behaviors to focus lessons and perceived outcomes.

In 2014, a group of school counselors developed our district’s minimum “counselor-led” career education activities requirement (see 8.1b). This requirement outlines the core curriculum for grades 7-12. Soldotna High School Counselors use this required minimum as a guide to ensure that district goals and expectations are incorporated into the core curriculum. In the spring of 2015, six school counselors from the district met in a task group to examine the district wide required curriculum and cross walk it with mindsets and behaviors. Soldotna High Counselors were included in that group. The Soldotna High School Core Curriculum Action Plan reflects the vision and mission statements of the district, school, and department.

For the 2016-2017 school year, the counseling department focused on the graduation rate for seniors, the college & career readiness for juniors, and the number of sophomores on track to graduate. The counselors felt that these areas of emphasis supported the vision and mission of the department. Both counselors decided to focus the lessons for each grade level to specifically address and support the goal for each grade level.

Because both counselors have students on their caseloads from each grade, they both deliver the lessons. Generally, the counselors deliver the lessons together as a team, even though one counselor takes the lead on specific lesson planning and program accountability. This team approach works well in our program and ensures that core curriculum delivery can continue even if one of the counselors is unexpectedly needed for immediate responsive services. Many of our core curriculum lessons are delivered with the assistance of our district career guidance liaison.

Some of the lessons in the action plan are required by Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and are delivered by teachers in their Homeroom/Advisory class. One of the lessons is a school-wide effort to review the student handbook and increase student awareness of expectations. The counselors present lessons using the Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS), which is a free resource available to all Alaska residents. This program allows students to create a personal account, set-up a portfolio and to create and maintain a personal learning and career plan which students and parents can access using PowerSchool, the student information system the district uses.

The counselors evaluate the effectiveness of our Core Curriculum using perception and outcome data. Not all lessons directly address a program goal, but all lessons either support department goals directly or indirectly. As the counselors reflect on the data after a lesson or unit, they make notes about ways to improve the delivery and content.

9. School Counseling Core Curriculum: Results Report:
Core Curriculum Results Report Narrative:

Soldotna High School’s Counselor Core Curriculum lessons were carefully developed with counselors across the district. Counselors have chosen to align the core curriculum with district and school vision and mission statements to address specific mindsets and behaviors counselors are addressing in our school. The core curriculum directly and indirectly supports department goals, which are also aligned with district and school goals. The three lessons counselors chose to examine directly and indirectly support department goals. Counselors chose one lesson from each grade level to ensure thorough reflection on the core curriculum across the school. In the analysis of the effectiveness of the lessons, counselors first reflected on pre-test and post-test perception data. Next, they looked at outcome data and discussed implications with the administrator while planning ahead for the 2017-2018 school year. Counselors shared outcome data with the school counseling advisory council at the 2017 spring meeting.

The 10th grade lesson focused on career exploration and while students did report a significant increase in their awareness of post-secondary training and an increase in their understanding of the Personal Learning and Career Plan (PLCP), there was not a dramatic increase in the number of students with clear post-secondary plans (see 9.2 perception data). Counselors believe that if they can better address this component, more students would have a connection to school and a greater sense of self-confidence in their ability to succeed. For the 2017-2018 school year, counselors plan to use an interest profile assessment (different than the one already conducted in 9th grade) to help students reflect on appropriate future career goals. Outcome data showed that counselors did not have a significant impact of the class of 2019 in terms of credits behind (see 9.3 outcome data).

The 11th grade lesson directly supports the district and department goals of increasing college and career literacy and readiness. When this group was in their sophomore year, counselors did not include the PLCP completion as part of the core curriculum and there was a very low percentage of students who had reflected on and documented their current post-secondary plans in the Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS). Including this activity as part of the spring unit for juniors had a dramatic effect on this percentage (see 9.5 perception data). As counselors created lessons for 2016-2017, they made sure to include this activity at each grade level. The outcome data for 11th grade (goal 3) showed that 87% of the students updated their PLCP, exceeding the goal by 17% (see 9.6 outcome data). Additional outcome data showed that the class of 2018 had a reduction of 35 behavior interactions in the office (see 9.6 outcome data).

Counselors believe that the 12th grade lesson indirectly supports the #1 goal of increasing the number of seniors on track and graduating by May of 2017. When students have hope for their future by identifying long-term and short-term goals, their academics and social/emotional well-being increases. The counselor’s desire was that all students would have a portfolio that may be used when seeking scholarships, applying for colleges/training programs, or entering the workforce. Perception data revealed that 92% of the seniors completed that portfolio (see 9.8 perception data chart). Counselors are certain that they need more time in individual follow up meetings with students after this lesson and unit. Outcome data showed that only 2 students were behind in credits at the close of the school year and that the class of 2017 had a significant reduction in the number of interactions in the office (see 9.9 outcome data). Counselors believe that this behavior outcome data was a direct result of counseling services.

School Counseling Core Curriculum Results Report

Lesson #1
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Career Development | College Readiness | Postsecondary Preparation |
Grade Level Lesson Topic ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s)
10 Spring Lesson Career Unit and PLCP update Mindsets 2,4 Behaviors Academic and Career LS1, 7, 9, 10 and SS1
Start/End Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data) Implications
Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2017 174 10th grade students

All 10th grade students will participate in a 50- minute core counseling curriculum lesson regarding workplace values and locaters, along with updating their Personal Learning Career Plan, during their Language Arts classes.
10th graders went from 33% to 10% of students saying they didn’t have a post-secondary plan. In the pre-test, 60% of 10th grade students said they didn’t know what PLCPs were. During the post-test, only 13% said they didn’t know what a PLCP was. During the pre-test, 32% of 10th graders said they didn’t know what type of education they would need to meet their chosen job or lifestyle. During the post-test, only .05% of 10th graders said they didn’t know what type of education or training they would need to meet their chosen job. We increased the number of students on track by 1%. Our goal was to increase it by 7%. Our lack of success with this goal has led to a conversation about the lessons we are delivering to the 10th graders, and what we can add to them to help build on this goal as we continue to work with this group next year. We will keep this group of students engaged in small group and closing the gap activities next year when they are juniors.

Attached Files:
  • 9.1 10th results report View
  • 9.2 10th perception data chart View
  • 9.3 10th outcome data View
Lesson #2
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Career Development | College Readiness | Postsecondary Preparation |
Grade Level Lesson Topic ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s)
11 Spring 11th unit School/Program Search, Resume Building, and PLCP update Mindsets: 2,4 Behaviors: Academic and Career LS1,7,9,10 SS1
Start/End Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data) Implications
Feb 6 – Feb 15, 2017 177 11th grade students
All 11th grade students will participate in 3 50-minute counseling core curriculum lessons regarding postsecondary options and resume building, through their language arts classes.
During the pre-test 38% of 11th graders hadn’t made any post-secondary plans, whereas the post-test showed that only .17% of juniors didn’t have post-secondary plans. Also, pre-tests showed that 54% of juniors didn’t know what a PLCP was, and post-tests showed that only .09% didn’t know what a PLCP was. Juniors in class of 2018 increased from 23% of PLCP completion to 87% PLCP Completion.

We were pleased to exceed our goal by 17%. This success was in part due to our intern called students up who were absent for this activity, and went over the lesson with them, and walked students through the PLCP updates. We plan to implement this procedure consistently in the future and will assign a specific counselor each year to complete this task.

Attached Files:
  • 9.4 11th results report View
  • 9.5 11th perception data View
  • 9.6 11th outcome data View
Lesson #3
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Career Development | College Readiness | Postsecondary Preparation |
Grade Level Lesson Topic ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s)
12 12th unit Portfolio, Scholarship Search, and PLCP update Mindsets: 2,4 Behaviors: Academic and Career LS1,7,9,10 SS1
Start/End Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data) Implications
Sept 12 – Sept 20, 2016 three class periods 174 12th grade students.
All 12th grade students will participate in a 3 50-minute counseling core curriculum lessons regarding scholarship search and will reflect on and update their PLCP in AKCIS.
Pre-test % of seniors who know how to complete a scholarship search 91% increase, % of seniors who updated their PLCP 88% increase. Increased from 94% on track to graduate to 98.9% when the goal was 100%. 2 of the identified 12 students did not graduate in May of 2018.

87% of seniors saved a scholarship search and updated their PLCP in AKCIS.
We celebrated the successful outcome data increase even though we did not quite meet our goal. 10 of the 12 identified students did graduate.

Attached Files:
  • 9.7 12th results report View
  • 9.8 12th perception data View
  • 9.9 12th outcome data View
Are the 3 lessons submitted part of the same unit? No

10. Small-Group Responsive Services:
Small-Group Responsive Services Narrative:

Before the 2016-2017 year started, the counselors from Soldotna High School met with the ninth grade Counselor, along with administrators from both buildings. Based on how many students were below six credits, (see 10.3) counselors decided there needed to be interventions for this 10th grade cohort. Students identified by not being on track to graduate were placed into small group classrooms with four core teachers, subsequently referred to as CORE 4. Data for this intervention came from counselor recommendations from the ninth grade school, along with a behind on credits report (see 10.3).

To determine the needs of these credit deficient sophomores, a counselor went into the CORE 4 classrooms and had them complete a needs based survey. (see 10.4) This survey is what motivated the counselors to create a group based on anxiety management. After the survey was completed and the results compiled, a counselor sent out invitations to students who said they wanted to be a part of this group. While thirty students had said they wanted to be in a group about anxiety, only twelve of the thirty invited 10th graders attended the group for the first two sessions. The group’s attendance subsequently dwindled to 8 sophomores.

The Anxiety group was selected as an intervention because it would give counselors access to a group of 10th grade students who had identified anxiety as affecting their school performance. Group session topics were determined based on the initial group survey results (see 10.6). The content in the lessons centered around Mindset 1, belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being, and Mindset 2, self confidence in the ability to succeed. These paired with Behavior Learning Strategy 1, demonstrate critical thinking skills to make informed decisions, served as the backbone of the lessons that were presented in the group sessions. While the pre and post perception data stayed comparable, there was a slight decrease in the amount of anxiety that affected student performance (see 10.6). This, along with students stating they felt fairly comfortable reaching out for help with their anxiety demonstrates that Mindset 1, Mindset 2, and the other Behaviors that were identified, were addressed in the lessons.

While our group helped 10th graders with their overall well-being and sense of belonging, which is Mindset #1 in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Mindsets and Behaviors, counselors were not able to accomplish getting these 10th graders on track to graduate at a higher rate (see 10.6). While the group did provide students coping mechanisms for dealing with their anxiety, it didn’t change their overall school performance. Looking at the outcome data, the counselors discussed multiple changes for this group next year. First, the counselors felt that they each should have run a group individually, with once a week meetings, to reach a larger group of identified students. The biggest change was that the counselors recognized that the goal that they focused on, improving 10th graders on track to graduate, was an academic goal, but they instead focused on a social/emotional intervention. While they felt this would increase the students sense of belonging and improve academic performance, they felt that the group should have been focused on study skills, executive functioning skills, and goal setting. Counselors felt they may have had more success if the group focus was academic.

The Girls Group is a group that is run each year by both counselors. This is a group that started back in 2009, and has continued on an annual basis. The group started with recognition that there are a lot of females who struggle with body image, boundaries, and self-management skills. With recommendations from the nurse, teachers, and both counselors, this group was put into action, and girls were personally invited to attend. Topics included: developmental assets, boundaries, body image, and goal setting.

Counselors offered Girls Group once a week for 2 months during November and December. Counselors offered this group as an option for girls to sign-up, and the counselors gave out permission slips and information about group content during the first session. While eight girls showed up for the first 2 sessions, the group dwindled to 4 by the last session. The counselors spoke about increasing the number of sessions available, but also focusing on one topic for more than one week.

Attached Files:
  • 10.1 Small Groups Action Plan View
  • 10.2 Small Group Results Report View
  • 10.3 supporting data 10th behind on credits report View
  • 10.4 Needs assessment 10th behind on credits View
  • 10.5a AG Anxiety Group pre perception data View
  • 10.5b AG Anxiety Group post perception data View
  • 10.6 AG Anxiety Group Outcome Data View
  • AG Anxiety Group Invitations View
  • AG Anxiety Group Pre-Post survey handout View
  • AG Lesson 1 View
  • AG Lesson 2 Handout View
  • AG Lesson 2 View
  • AG Lesson 3 Handout View
  • AG Lesson 3 View
  • AG Lesson 4 Handout #1 View
  • AG Lesson 4 Handout #2 View
  • AG Lesson 4 View
  • AG Lesson 5 Handout View
  • AG Lesson 5 View
  • AG Lesson 6 Handouts View
  • AG Lesson 6 View

Small-Group Results Report

Group Name: Anxiety Management Group
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Academic Achievement | Behavioral Issues | Dropout Prevention | Group Counseling | Mental Health |
Goal: Achievement & Attendance Goal: By May of 2017, the class of 2019 will increase the percentage of students on track to graduate by 7% from 87% to 94%.
Target Group: 10th graders who have been identified as credit deficient and not on track to graduate.
Data Used to Identify Students: Students with less than 6 credits coming into 10th grade from a Behind on Credits report.
School Counselor(s) ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s) Outline of Group Sessions Delivered
Margaret Griffin and Erin Neisinger Mindsets:
1, 3, 5
LS1, LS4, SMS7, SS2, SS3, SS6
Willard, C. (2014). Mindfulness for teen anxiety: a workbook for overcoming anxiety at home, at school, and everywhere else. Oakland, CA: Instant Help Books, An Imprint of New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Lohmann, R. C. (2015). Teen anxiety: a CBT and ACT activity resource book for helping anxious adolescents. London: Jessica Kingsley .
Smartboard with computer access and speaker set-up.
Handouts copied off for activities.

Session 1 Introduction, Identify and Define Anxiety
Session 2 Recognizing Anxiety in Your Body, Understanding Triggers
Session 3 Healthy and Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Session 4 Anxiety Log Anxiety Profile
Session 5 Stress Relief Journal and Other Coping Mechanisms
Session 6 Wrap up, A Helping Hand Support System
Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Data from surveys used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance and/or behavior data collected) Implications
12 at start of group, 8 at end of group. Pre-survey results:
On 1-5 scale (5 highest), average was a 3 for students feeling anxious at school. On scale of 1-5 students had an average of 3.16 for feeling like they are prepared to deal with anxiety. Students got a 2.91 for feeling comfortable to get help with anxiety. On scale of 1-5, students said they were at a 3 as far as how many factors at school contribute to their anxiety. Last, on a scale of 1-5 (5 highest) student were at an average of 4.5 for how anxiety affects their school performance.
Post-survey results:
On 1-5 scale (5 highest), 8 students reported an average of 3.87 for how many times they felt anxious at school. Students were at an average of 3.5 for how well they were equipped to deal with anxiety. Students got a 3.12 average for how comfortable they felt reaching out for help for their anxiety. Students were at an average of 3.75 in regards to how many factors contributed to their anxiety at school. Lastly, students were at an average of 3.37 for how anxiety affects their performance at school.
Random sampling of identified small group participants showed that average GPA for Q1 was 1.92, whereas GPA for Q2 was 1.85.

Students on track to graduate only went up 1%, rather than 7% which was our second goal for our program this year. (see chart of outcome data in supporting document 10.6)
The data revealed that the anxiety group didn’t help the identified 10th graders improve their grades, or get on track to graduate, credit wise. After checking grades from Q1 to Q2 we saw that GPAs had actually gone down. Also, the goal to increase the number of students on track to graduate by 7% from 87% to 94% only went up by 1%. The Post group survey results were fairly static and stayed around the same numbers as the pre survey results, with minimal variation. While the counselors felt that it increased students sense of belonging to the school, along with their emotional well-being, the results showed that the group didn’t have a significant impact. With the goal being to improve students on track to graduate, the focus of the group should have been academic, rather than social/emotional. Also, the counselors should have run two separate groups individually to allow for larger numbers. Also, group sessions should have met weekly. Having a group based on executive functioning skills, goal setting, study habits, along with stress management tips would have been better to focus on, as this would have better served the academic focused goal, of getting credit deficient students on track to graduate.

11. Closing-the-Gap Results Report:
Goal: Goal 1: Achievement & Attendance Goal: By May of 2017, the class of 2017 will increase the percentage of students on track to graduate by 6% from 94% to 100%.
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Academic Achievement | Dropout Prevention |
Target Group: 12 identified students who started the 2016-2017 school year with less than 16 credits.
Data Used to Identify Students: Number of credits <16 report in PowerSchool, attendance records in PowerSchool.
School Counselor(s) ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s) Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?
Margaret Griffin and Erin Neisinger Mindsets: Academic and Social & Emotional 3 Behavior: LS 3, 4 SMS 1, 6 SS 2, 3 Letters/phone calls to parents, Check-in with Counselor and Interventionist teacher, Parent meeting with Admin RE: attendance, S.Alt. Program, Credit Recovery classes, alternative scheduling, independent study, Students in Transition Program, Counseling Department Angel Fund, Soldotna High Holiday Families in Need Program, collaboration with Intervention team, school nurse, and school Psychologist.
Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Data from surveys used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance and/or behavior data collected) Implications
12 seniors with less than 16 credits at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year will be the target of specific Interventions. Fall pre-survey, mid-year survey, and end of year exit data showed:
*An increase from 33.3% to 83.3 in the number of students who knew how many credits they had.
*An increase from 0% to 83.3% of the students on track to graduate.
*A 0% to 100% increase in the number of students we had met with for planning.
*An increase from 50% to 66% of the number of students who believe attendance is important.
*An increase from 33.3% to 41.6% of students who feel a sense of belonging in the school environment.
83.3% (10 of the 12) of the students identified students graduated in May of 2017.

Class of 2017 had 100 less interactions in the office from 11th to 12th year.
While the majority of the students identified did graduate in May of 2017, we did not make the social & emotional impact we intended for this focus group.

We noticed that the percentage actually went down mid-year in the perception data on school attendance and belonging. For the upcoming school year 2017-2018 we have determined that small group work may increase the student sense of belonging and have an impact of achievement.

Additional individual counseling should be implemented. Creation of a guided check in meeting will be created for 2017-2018 school year.

Attached Files:
  • 11.1 CTG Action Plan View
  • 11.2 CTG Results Report View
  • 11.3a CTG perception data chart View
  • 11.3b CTG pre-during-post survey tool View
  • 11.4 CTG Outcome data View
  • 11.5 Check in Checklist for future View
Closing-the-Gap Results Report Narrative:

Soldotna High School Counselors identified gap data by examining end of year reports from the district’s student information system (PowerSchool) that showed students behind in credits. Counselors identified seniors in the class of 2017 with less than 16 credits, which the district deems at the number of credits to be deficient. In August of 2016, counselors recommended specific students for admission to the district’s alternative school, which is a drop-out prevention program targeting students deficient in credits. Several of the students in the identified deficient group did choose to transfer to the alternative school, and several chose to transfer to the district home school program. By mid-September, Soldotna High School had 12 students enrolled with less than 16 credits.

Since one of the district’s goals was to increase the graduation rate, counselors decided to focus on this group of students for closing-the-gap activities. Counselors wanted to increase their sense of belonging (mindset 3), increase their belief that attendance is important, and increase their achievement. While many of the interventions in place for students are a school-wide effort, counselors wanted to pin point the specific actions and interventions school counselors can take to have an impact on student achievement. Counselors documented the various interventions in a database so that the district can track which interventions are making an impact. Best practice interventions included letters/phone calls to parents, repeated check-ins with school counselors, credit recovery classes, alternative scheduling, and the school-within-a-school alternative program (see 11.1 action plan). Unfortunately, counselors did not meet their goal, as 2 of the 12 students did not graduate. However, our district’s goal was positively impacted by the 10 students who did graduate. Soldotna High School school has consistently been above the district’s graduation rate trend (11.4 outcome data) and the department celebrates its contribution to increasing the overall district graduation rate.

Counselors conducted a perception survey (see 11.3b) and were a little taken aback that the perception data numbers actually decreased in the mid-year survey in two of the five areas (see 11.3a perception data chart). Overall, perception data was positive and encouraging, but counselors did not feel that they thoroughly addressed the social and emotional needs of this focus group. The next steps include implementing a small group for seniors that runs for 6 weeks first semester and 6 weeks second semester. Counselors will run this group in collaboration with the School Interventionist Teacher and the Soldotna Alterative (S.Alt) school-within-a-school program here at Soldotna High School. Counselors also created a check-in check list to guide counselors in their one-on-one meetings with students in this group in the future (see 11.5).

12. Program Evaluation Reflection:Program Evaluation Narrative:

Taking time to reflect on how Soldotna High School’s Comprehensive School Counseling Program practices leadership, advocacy, and collaboration to create systemic change for the benefit of students is a pertinent activity. As the mission and vision statements state, counselors strive to continually analyze data to determine the goals to help students achieve success. Beyond the delivery of a comprehensive program of direct and indirect services, the department intentionally includes all four of these themes to frame actions to benefit students.

Counselors seek out opportunities to lead the way in the school, district, and state. They are dedicated to sustaining the positive perception of the department by all stakeholders. Highlighted are a few examples.

Currently, the district has three counselors serving on the Alaska School Counselor Association (AkSCA) Executive Board, one of whom is President and one of whom is President elect. The district has had four other counselors serve on the board in the last ten years. Margaret Griffin represented the region and served a term as a board member of AkSCA, where she served on the communications committee and published a quarterly newsletter for AkSCA. While serving her term, Margaret took a trip with the board to Juneau, the state capitol, to meet with individual legislators to advocate for school counselors in the state. AkSCA board members met with state senators and area representatives, all of whom gladly received them and engaged in discussion about education and the role of school counselors.

Another occasion to demonstrate leadership is hosting Counseling Interns. Soldotna High Counselors believe that mentoring counseling interns is a sure path to strengthening the profession, the school, and the district. In the last 5 years, Soldotna High Counselors have hosted 3 interns. Megan Murphy, now a school counselor at Soldotna High School, interned with the department in the 2014-2015 school year. Shortly after her internship, Megan joined the team as an Interventionist and ultimately a school counselor. Soldotna High Counselors hosted two additional interns in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. Counselors integrated the interns into the core curriculum delivery and data collection process.

Both Margaret Griffin and Erin Neisinger have presented to the school counselor group at quarterly district-wide meetings to share information from the AkSCA conference. The district routinely sends several counselors to the conference who then report back to the group on pertinent topics.

Continued efforts in leadership have directed the department to take on the Sources of Strength organization for the 2017-2018 school year. The district brought Sources of Strength to the state and counselors are excited to recruit, train, and support students in this program. Sources of Strength is a suicide prevention program organization that uses peer leaders to enhance protective factors associated with reducing suicide at the school level. Counselors look forward to training and developing the program in October of 2017.

Since aligning with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model, counselors have become data experts who advocate for the needs of all students and have used data to drive the program.

The impact of Margaret Griffin’s advocacy trip to Juneau with the AkSCA Executive Board started a ripple effect in the district. Shortly after this trip, school counselors in the district, along with Intervention Teacher Megan Murphy (who is now a school counselor) presented statements to the school board advocating for school counselors and their use of time. Specifically, Margaret’s statement addressed the “tragic misuse of a highly qualified School Counselor” when the counselor spends up to 40% of their time on state mandated testing. Margaret’s complete statement is attached here as supporting evidence of advocacy (see 12.1). The ripple effect continued in the form of discussion with Soldotna High Administration on use of time, department goals, and the role of the school counselor. Ultimately, our department’s involvement in advocacy led to several major systemic change involving our use of time and availability to students.

In November of 2016, Margaret Griffin joined Natalie Kant, Soldotna Middle School Counselor, as she presented to the school board about the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and becoming a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school (see 12.2). Margaret made several comments in the presentation including information about the new district counselor evaluation tool, which is aligned with the ASCA national model. Margaret let the school board know that KPBSD is leading the way in the state with four current members on the AkSCA executive board and several presenters at the annual AkSCA conference. At this time, Margaret also let the school board know that Soldotna High School would be completing their RAMP application for submission in October of 2017 (see 12.3).

The culture at Soldotna High School is very collaborative. Academic departments meet weekly in Personal Learning Communities (PLC) and the Intervention team includes not only school counselors and the Interventionist, but also administration, teachers, the school nurse, and the school psychologist. This culture of team has a very strong presence in the counseling department. Counselors work together with counselors at other schools, all staff members, and the district career guidance liaison as we deliver program curriculum. The advisory council plays a big role in providing feedback and includes a variety of stakeholders.

When counselors developed the mission and vision statements, they worked together with counselors around the district at a quarterly district-wide counseling meeting. The district minimum required core curriculum was developed in part with counselors in the district, the district head counselor, and the career guidance liaison in a summer work committee.

Counselors work with the local community college on parent events (post-secondary planning night, financial aid night, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion workshops) and host many outside agencies and programs in our school including Native Youth Leadership, Sources of Strength, Get Real Financial Reality Fair, and local mental health agencies. Our school psychologist has co-facilitated small groups with counselors including our stress management & anxiety group.

Systemic change
Aligning with ASCA’s national model over the last five years has changed the way the community, stakeholders, and administration views the role and responsibility of the school counselor. Alignment with the ASCA model has obliged counselors to gather data in all circumstances related to our program core curriculum, small groups, and closing the gap focus groups. Before alignment with the ASCA model, the core curriculum was aligned to what counselors thought to be important, instead of data showing student need.

One systemic change that is the direct result of our advocacy is that our Administrator has had close involvement in our annual agreements and advisory council. The advisory council has provided a greater sense of the importance of school counselors and the counseling program. One noteworthy systemic change related to this is that last year (2015-2016 school year) the administration offered the State Mandated Test Coordinator position as a stipend position to our staff. A teacher took the position which freed counselors up to focus on the counseling program. Counselors in turn seized the opportunity to focus more on the program and the increased ability to thoroughly implement the national model in hopes of someday becoming a RAMP school.

Another example of systemic change that directly impacts student access to counselors is the implementation of “open lunch” in the counseling office. Formerly, school counselors had what is known in the education world as “lunch duty” where counselors served in a supervisory role in specific areas of the commons at lunch. Our current administrator has been very involved in the ASCA alignment process in the last three years including the annual agreements and advisory council. His support of the program motivated him to alter lunch supervisor assignments. Counselors now have open lunch in the counseling center, where they are available to students. Counselors can have individual appointments or take drop ins and have created an environment where students can visit, get support, or individually visit with their school counselor at lunch.

Soldotna High School Counselors feel so fortunate to have gone through the process of aligning the school counseling program to the ASCA national model over the past 5 years. The program has been stretched and pushed beyond what counselors thought imaginable. The RAMP process has sparked a greater sense of professionalism and love of school counseling. Now that the Soldotna High School Counselors have gone through the data examination, documentation, and reflection process that the RAMP journey has facilitated, they are delighted and eager to finally be submitting a RAMP application.

Attached Files:
  • 12.1 Advocacy Statement to School Board Feb 2015 View
  • 12.2 RAMP presentation with Natalie Kant View
  • 12.3 School Board Presentation View
  • 12.4 Program Inspiration View

Signature Page:
  • Signature page AMENDED 12/11/17 View
  • Application Fee Receipt View
  • Signature Page View