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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: Thomas Jefferson Middle School
School Address: 125 S. Old Glebe Rd. arlington Arlington , VA
School District Name: Arlington Public Schools
School Twitter Handle: @JeffersonIBMYP
School year RAMP application represents: 2017-2018
Number of students in district: 26970
Grade Category: m
Grade levels served at school: 6-8
Number of students at school: 1094
Number of certified staff at school: 119
Number of Full-time school counselors at school: 4
Number of Part-time school counselors at school: 1
Average number of students served by each school counselor: 249
School setting: Urban
Percentage of students identified as special education students: 20.6
Percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunch: 43

Percent Black: 17
Percent Hispanic: 34
Percent White: 35
Percent Native American: 0
Percent Asian: 12
Percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: .2
Percent Other: .3

Names of other school counselors at school:
Amelia Black Erin Pennington Ana Rodriguez Susan Russo Tiffini Woody-Pope

Names of other personnel:
Minority Achievement coordinator- Tim Cotman Substance Abuse Counselor- Vanesa Zorilla-Zuniga School Testing Coordinator- Shari Brown Social Worker- Christine Katcher School Psychologist- Tanya Moncrieff-Heath Academically Gifted and Talented Specialist- Hunter Benante Registrar- Ana Mejia

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:
TJMS students enter adult life as happy, successful, intellectually curious, and well-rounded global citizens. They will confidently bring their diversity of experiences and backgrounds to their professional lives and they will solve problems with a reflective, balanced and principled perspective. Our students will approach their journey to success with integrity and are resilient as they face social-emotional, academic, and career challenges. Students will use their social-intelligence to foster strong interpersonal relationships. They graduate high school college or career ready and rely on a high level of self-knowledge to pursue the career that best fits their life goals. Our students use their hopeful outlook to desire and work towards a better world, and use their learning and self-discipline to be leaders in their professions and communities.

School Counseling Program Beliefs:
All students...
• Can learn and achieve at high levels
• Should feel welcome and valued at school
• Are valuable and worthy of life’s best possible outcomes
• Can set and an achieve goals for their future success
• Have access to a comprehensive school counseling program and certified school counselors to ensure that they feel encouraged and supported in the school setting
• Should have equal access to rigorous courses and classes that match their interests, talents, and skills
• Are individuals, and recognizing their unique attributes is paramount in ensuring an equitable educational experience
• Should feel a strong personal ability to achieve what they desire for their lives regardless of their ethnicity, race, socio-economic background, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

School Counselors...
• Use both quantitative and qualitative data to continuously evaluate the effectiveness of interventions
• Consciously build relationships with students
• Implement a comprehensive school counseling program to best support student need
• Collaborate between students, administrators, teachers and staff, parents, and community members towards better student outcomes.
• Continuously consult with each other, school leadership, and the ASCA Ethical Standards to ensure they are making decisions using the highest caliber of professional ethics

School Vision Statement:
Preparing students to create a better world.

District Vision Statement:
Arlington Public Schools is a diverse and inclusive school community, committed to academic excellence and integrity. We provide instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment, responsive to each student, in collaboration with families and the community.

Narrative: We were excited to create an all new vision statement for this school year. We had created one in the past, but it was sitting in a Google doc and was not serving the purpose that we felt a common vision should have; thus we decided to start fresh. We started our conversation about our vision with the idea that our vision, mission, and program beliefs would be posted in the entry-way to the counseling suite as well as on our website. This will hold us accountable for what we believe and serve as a reminder to all students and staff of what we are working towards.

We created and finalized our beliefs and vision in collaboration with our key stakeholders, including administration, students, parents, teachers and community partners. To begin our work on crafting our vision, we dedicated our first counseling meeting to reflect on our beliefs. Counselors were instructed to come to our first meeting having brainstormed core beliefs about students. We typed up our beliefs together and consolidated based on similar concepts. Brainstorming beliefs and consolidating our core values into inspiring and bold statements about students and counselors was an excellent way to set the tone for the upcoming school year. It reminded us why we were taking on such ambitious goals and to focus on our ability to impact students.

Putting into words our beliefs about students was an affirming reemphasis of the important role that we feel we have in ensuring access and equity for our students. Words and phrases commonly used in our beliefs brainstorming activity were “comprehensive,” “Driven by student need,” “equitable,” and “relationship building.” Our belief that all students are “worthy of life’s best possible outcomes” was a big influencer in us starting our vision with the idea of students being “happy, successful, intellectually curious, and well-rounded global citizens.”

Next, we pulled out key words and themes from the Virginia Department of Education, Arlington Public Schools, and TJMS Vision statements that we felt were important to include or influence our vision. An important observation was that all these vision statements were brief, but we felt they didn’t quite meet ASCA’s vision requirements. So, we decided to create a vision that was succinct in the spirit of its influencing vision statements, but that also provided a detailed picture of our desired student outcomes.

Once we had final drafts of the vision and program beliefs developed, we showed them to our advisory council. During our Fall advisory council meeting we did an activity with all present stake-holders asking about their vision for students 10-15 years after leaving our program. We took pictures of these chart papers with their thoughts and took notes on what thoughts of theirs were missing from our final vision (attachment 1.1). We felt the words “intellectually curious,” “hopeful,” and “disciplined,” from the sticky notes aligned well with our vision for students but were not currently represented, so we added them to our statement. During our Spring advisory council meeting we agreed on the final TJMS counseling department vision statement.

Focusing on the collective purpose that our vision outlines helps us prioritize certain mindsets, behaviors, values, and skills to emphasize with our students. For example, our newly drafted vision helps inform the development of our program goals, influences how we work with our students, and guides the essential questions we ask in classroom lessons. With our vision posted in our entry-way, everyone walking through our doors knows what our purpose is, which helps them serve as accountability partners for the work they observe us doing.

Attached Files:
  • 1.6- VDOE __ Vision, Mission and Code of Ethics View
  • 1.4- Mission, Vision, and Values - Thomas Jefferson View
  • 1.3- APS School Counseling Mission and Vision View
  • 1.2-APS Mission, Vision, Core Values View
  • 1.1- Vision sticky note activity & reflection View

2. Mission Statement:
School Mission Statement: Learning Together to understand and improve ourselves, our futures, and our world.

School Counseling Mission Statement: The mission of the TJMS school counseling department is to inspire and support the social emotional, academic, and vocational development of all students through the implementation of a standards-based, comprehensive school counseling program. School counselors work to promote intercultural understanding among students and staff to ensure that all feel valued and respected as individuals. Counselors act as advocates, leaders, collaborators, and systemic-change agents at TJMS to drive equity, access, and success for all students. A variety of data sources are used to continuously evaluate counselors’ efforts to make sure we increase our ability to improve student outcomes. Counselors and students challenge and inspire each other as we learn together to become the best versions of ourselves.

Similar to the vision statement, we had created a mission statement years prior but hadn’t returned to it for a number of years. We felt when we first created the mission statement for our department that we used an informal and rushed process. In order to create a more accurate, robust, and inspiring mission statement, we started from scratch.

We began by reviewing the questions in the ASCA National Model Implementation Guide and each counselor was tasked to informally type their reflections. We shared our responses as a group and typed the themes we all agreed were the most pronounced. We quickly found that we had a strong list of values. From there we identified key words and consolidated overlapping themes. After reviewing the Virginia Department of Education, Arlington Public Schools, and TJMS School Mission statements, we highlighted words and themes from those documents that either overlapped with our identified themes or that were missing and needed to be included. A few of note were: “learning together” from TJMS, “success” for all students from the VDOE, and “Global” and “International” from the respective IB and APS Mission statements. From there we “word-dumped” every word we compiled into one large rambling statement; however, we knew we wanted to trim it down significantly to reflect the concise wording of all of our influencing mission statements. At the next meeting, shortly after the start of school, we identified points of overlap and significantly reduced the statement. We presented the statement to the advisory council with a reflection activity on what they thought our mission should be. We then incorporated their thoughts into our mission as we had with our vision statement process (attachment 2.1).

Our mission clearly outlines a commitment to ensuring equity, access and success for every student and we hope our entire RAMP application clearly outlines how integral this value is to our department. Because we now have increased skills when looking at data through Insight (an APS data analysis system), during weekly department meetings and planning meetings we often discuss gaps in equity and access that we see in school. We then problem-solve to develop a comprehensive counseling program that combines Tier I (such as school-wide programs and classroom lessons) and Tier II interventions (such as small groups and leadership opportunities) to meet the growing needs of our students and reduce achievement gaps.

We believe that implementing a comprehensive school counseling program, as outlined in our mission statement, is the best way to ensure that we are executing our bold vision for student success. A well-thought out foundation, and an efficient delineation of each counselor’s roles and responsibilities is crucial to ensuring 80% of our time can be dedicated to direct and indirect services to students. We continuously solicit feedback and analyze perception, process, and outcome data to ensure that our small groups, lessons, individual counseling and collaborative school-wide activities are driving student success and specific student outcomes. We report our results to stakeholders and ask for their recommendations and support in the important work we are doing on behalf of students. Accountability keeps us always striving to improve our efforts, and collaborating with school staff and community members allows us to expand our reach and be systemic-change agents in our school.

Attached Files:
  • 2.7- APS school Counseling Mission, and Vision View
  • 2.6- VDOE __ Vision, Mission and Code of Ethics View
  • 2.4- Mission, Vision, and Values - Thomas Jefferson View
  • 2.3-IB Mission View
  • 2.2-APS Mission, Vision, Core Values View
  • 2.1- Mission sticky note activity & reflection View

3. School Counseling Program Goals:

Goal 1:
Overall tardiness to school will reduce by 10% from 3,157 in 2016-2017 to 2,641 in 2017-2018

  • Attendance
Goal 2:
By the end of the 2017-2018 school year, of the thirty-four 7th grade students receiving special education who failed the 6th grade reading SOL, nine of these students, approximately 26%, will pass their 7th grade reading SOL.

  • Academic Achievement
  • Special Needs
Goal 3:
By June 2018, the 30 sixth graders identified on the Academic Watch List in the 1st Quarter (defined as students with 2 or more Ds or Es in Math, Science, Social Studies, or English), will be reduced by at least 25% to 22 students or less.

  • Academic Achievement

During the Spring of 2016-2017, we requested training from our IT department to navigate the new data warehouse website, Insight. The Program Counselor received extensive one-on-one training in gathering data over the summer, and we started our 2017-2018 school year immersed in outcome data trends. This system provided a number of pre-organized data charts about TJMS students’ achievement, attendance, and behavior, which was disaggregated by a variety of demographic information including, disability status, race, gender and language-learner status. After evaluating the data available to us, reviewing the school-wide Progressive Plan, and multiple conversations amongst ourselves and key stakeholders, we ended up narrowing our focus to the following three goals (3.1):

Goal 1 (3.2):
The data demonstrated that for the past two school years there were 3,000+ tardies to school across all grade levels in a school of approximately 1000 students. Our principal also requested that we focus on decreasing tardies (attachment 3.6) to be responsive to two major changes to our 2017-2018 school year that might compound attendance concerns:

1) We have a 30-minute intervention period, Yellow Jacket Period (YJP), Tuesday-Friday in which all students receive specialized instruction for remediation in areas of need or enrichment in areas of strength. This school year, YJP was moved from mid-morning in 2016-2017 to 10-minutes after the beginning of school. Due to this scheduling change, many expressed concerns that this period would be less effective because tardy students would now miss part of this important 30-minute daily intervention.

2) During the 2017-2018 SY construction started on an elementary school that is being built on our school’s parking lot. As a result, students who used to be dropped off directly in front of our main entrance are now being unloaded about a 5-7 minute walk away from the building increasing the likelihood of students arriving late to school. Due to the overwhelming number of students tardy to school, it is impossible for administration to provide consequences to all students, thus, our desire to come up with more comprehensive interventions.

The biggest intervention for this goal was the Time to Shine tardy-reduction competition, which was introduced through a school-wide lesson and managed by the counseling department. The competition rewarded TA classrooms where 100% of students arrived on time; so gentle peer pressure encouraged students to work towards communal prizes in their TA. Other interventions included a small group for 7th grade students, individual meetings for chronically tardy students, letters home to parents, and collaboration with school administration to revise discipline policy around tardies to school.

Goal 2 (3.3):
Another important consideration was to directly support a specific goal in our school improvement plan (3.5): “The students with disabilities subgroup failure rate in reading will reduce by 10% (from 47.57% to 42.81%).” 7th grade Reading SOL (Virginia Standards of Learning exam) scores have fallen for the past 3 school-years (87% ->84% ->78%), therefore, we targeted 7th grade students to provide support in addressing the school-wide goal. In addition to a lesson and small group, we sent letters home about test-preparation, and completed individual check-ins with students.

Goal 3 (3.4):
When our counseling department combed through the data provided in Insight in the spring of 2017 and at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, a significant data trend quickly appeared. A disproportionate percentage of Hispanic students were earning E’s (failing grades) for their final grades during the past three years at Jefferson across all grade levels. We recognized that this is a systemic and multifaceted problem and decided to create interventions to address this issue of inequity, as stated in our mission. In 6th grade, interim grades for 1st quarter of 2017-2018 showed 23 out of 35 D’s and E’s were from Hispanic students. Research shows that students who fall behind early are significant drop-out risks (3.7). We decided to address this Hispanic achievement gap by centering our program goal on targeted 6th grade students, identified by our 1st quarter grade watch list, so we could begin with and build on this model of intervening early with academically at-risk students. We selected a research-based curriculum to run 3 small-groups of 8 students per group, met to do academic planning over the summer with students and their parents, and completed academic plans with all students via classroom lessons. We also completed individual goal-setting and healthy habits planning, sent letters home to parents, and provided individual check-ins to support this goal.

Supplemental Documents:
  • 3.6-Jefferson-2017-18-Progressive-Plan View
  • 3.5- Minutes from Sept. meeting with principal View
  • 3.4-Program Goal 3 data Chart View
  • 3.3- Program Goal 2 data Chart View
  • 3.2-Program Goal 1 data Chart View

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

Attached Files:
  • 4.1- TJMS 17-18-ProgramPlanningTool View
We began planning our counseling core curriculum using the ASCA mindsets and behaviors that drive our program during the Spring of 2017. We realized during pre-planning that we typically didn’t track our mindset and behaviors across grades to ensure developmental appropriateness. This was a previous weakness of ours. Therefore, we intentionally began our pre-planning during our summer retreat from a standards-driven approach. This standards-driven approach required that we read over this section during our summer retreat and develop a plan to intentionally use the mindsets and behaviors across grade levels as the driving force behind our lessons and make them a more integral part of our program.

During our summer retreat each counselor filled out a copy of the pre-planning tool and looked through what we had done over the previous year to determine which mindsets and behaviors we were generally targeting at each grade level. Then we each took a different color pen and filled out which mindsets and behaviors we thought were most important for each grade level. Then the program counselor looked over those sheets and highlighted where core curriculum and small group counseling lessons overlapped. We then started our next meeting with a narrower list of prioritized mindsets and behaviors for each grade level. In this meeting, we looked at the county’s list of mandatory mindsets and behaviors to cover at each grade level and added those to this consolidated chart. From there we decided to analyze data and determine needs based on the data and develop our action plans for closing the gap, small group, and core curriculum.

Once we developed a draft of all three action plans, we filled out the mindsets and behavior (MS&B) planning tool again, and compared it to our previously filled out tool. We made small modifications to our action plans based on these results. For the most part, after we had filled out our action plans, we ended up covering more M&Bs than we had originally planned and ensured a developmentally appropriate and foundational building approach.

We noticed some gaps; for example, learning strategies in the social-emotional domain, but many social-emotional skills related to being a strong learner are heavily reinforced in the elementary counseling school curriculum. When our students enter middle-school there is more pressure around grades and academics, therefore, it is essential that we spend more time focusing on academic learning strategies. Another gap we noticed was in demonstrating creativity; however, because all students are required to take elective classes and creativity is a focal point of our IBMYP standards of learning, we know that students are getting this behavior covered in multiple classes.

We realized there were several gaps in M&Bs for the career domain, and that this is an area of potential growth for us. However, beginning in 2018-2019 school year, the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (SOA) includes a provision for each elementary school student to develop an Academic and Career Plan Portfolio in the elementary grades and for middle schools to develop a career investigations course, which will strongly influence how these mindsets and behaviors are delivered for our students in the next few years.

We also noticed that we specifically chose some M&Bs in certain grades because of age-appropriateness and reflection on the knowledge students are building from year to year. For example, in 6th grade students are getting to know each other and adjusting to more social connections with each other via social media and cells phones, so demonstrating ethical decision-making and social responsibility was covered in core curriculum across academic, career, and social-emotional to help instill skills around this behavior. We covered a lot of social-emotional behavioral skills across 6th, 7th, and 8th grade because so many of these skills (such as empathy, handling conflict, and demonstrating self-advocacy), are paramount to minimizing social distractions in the learning environment.

We have a robust planning tool from this school year (attachment 4.1). We will use it next year to identify gaps in our curriculum and create programming to address these gaps. We also will use it to eliminate unnecessary redundancies. Overall we would like to incorporate more career-focused programming, but find this challenging given our already limited classroom time. We hope that the Virginia Department of Education’s new “Portrait of a Graduate” requirement of a middle school career investigations course will allow for greater student career exploration in the classroom; meeting additional mindsets and behaviors.

Supplemental Documents:
5. Annual Agreement:

Attached Files:
  • 5.8- Black Annual Agreement.pdf View
  • 5.7 WoodyPope Annual Agreement.pdf View
  • 5.6 Russo Annual Agreement.pdf View
  • 5.5 Rodriguez Annual Agreement.pdf View
  • 5.4 Pennington Annual Agreement.pdf View
  • 5.3-Email to Admin - Annual Agreements Followup.pdf View
  • 5.2- Annual Agreements meeting 2017.pdf View
  • 5.1- annual agreements minutes View
Discussions about use of time started in Spring, 2017. Our counseling department has divided counseling caseloads, one counselor per grade level, for decades. However, the 2017-2018 student enrollment allowed for the hiring of a 4th full-time counselor. As a department in the Spring of 2017 we created a pro-con list of various ways to split up the counselors four ways. This helped us realize how strongly we felt about the various benefits of keeping the grade-level counselor model. However, we also noted that we were spending about 75% on direct and indirect student services, and approximately 25% on program support. As a result, we decided the best solution was to create a Program Counselor role that everyone would rotate into after being the 8th grade counselor. The Program Counselor would maintain a small but higher-needs caseload. This caseload would include the High Intensity Language Program students (shared with the part-time HILT counselor) and all students receiving special education services for an Intellectual Disability. The Program Counselor would also absorb several programmatic activities of the counseling department. These activities include organizing school-wide programs such as Career Day, coordinating transition responsibilities for rising 6th graders, completing all special education behavioral observations and attending re-evaluation planning meetings, 504 case management, data analysis, and steering ASCA alignment activities.

We decided this role would increase grade-level counselors direct and indirect services for students to approximately 90% of their time or greater; however, to achieve this the Program Counselor would have lower direct and indirect services to students, at around 60%. We want the role of Program Counselor to rotate because it is a combination of many indirect student services and program planning tasks that allow counselors some exciting opportunities to flex creative muscles, but also is a bit limiting in allowing counselors to exercise their primary counseling skills. Therefore, rotating this position is a fair system of spreading both the positive and challenging aspects of the Program Counselor around to all counselors over the years.

We discussed use of time in our weekly department meetings prior to counselors individually drafting their agreements. Looking at previous years’ annual agreements and use of time assessments, there has been an increasing trend of indirect services from 6th to 8th grade. The Program Counselor changed this trend by taking 6th grade transition activities and some major program planning off the plate of the 8th grade counselor, allowing them to have more direct time with their students.

Additional tasks are also assigned to counselors based on their strengths and the specific populations they serve. For example, Ms. Pennington has a wealth of knowledge regarding bullying prevention and therefore, assumed the coordination role in planning Bullying Prevention Spirit Week. Another example is Ms. Rodriguez who has a high responsive service percentage because the HILT population requires more responsive service, and we want her to spend as much time as possible directly counseling students since she is only at TJMS two days per week. Otherwise, the majority of the program planning and system supports tasks fall on the counselor acting as Program Counselor, Ms. Black, during the 2017-2018 SY (attachments 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7).

We had a robust conversation about the annual agreements with our principal as recorded in the minutes (attachment 5.1 and 5.2). The conversation was amiable as we thanked our principal for continuing to respect our time as counselors—giving us reasonable fair-share responsibilities, providing additional counseling staffing, and ensuring that our counseling time in the classroom and to provide groups was protected and understood by teachers. A general topic of discussion was about the vast needs of our students and the administration’s desire to have counselors target a broader subset of students in our program goals. At the end of the meeting, counselors said we would follow-up via email with some clarification of why the goals were selected (attachment 5.8). We clarified the need to keep the goals within grade levels based on our counseling structure and selected interventions to track outcomes and ensure fidelity. Our principal appreciated the clarification and signed our agreements on November 2, 2017. This is within two months of the beginning of school given that we started school the day after Labor Day on September 5, 2017.

6. Advisory Council:

Attached Files:
  • 6.8- Spring 2018 AC-Powerpoint.pdf View
  • 6.2- Fall 2017 AC- Powerpoint.pdf View
  • 6.11- Spring 2018 AC- Minutes View
  • 6.10- Spring 2018 AC- Investigating Hispanic Achievement Gap View
  • 6.9 -Spring 2018 AC- Invitation & Sign in Sheet View
  • 6.7- Spring 2018 AC- Agenda View
  • 6.6-Fall 2017 AC Dept. Meetings notes Post-Fall AC View
  • 6.5- Fall 2017 AC- Sign In Sheet View
  • 6.4- FAll 2017 AC- Sticky Note Activity on Mission&Vision View
  • 6.3- Fall 2017 AC-Minutes View
  • 6.1- Fall 2017 AC- Agenda View
Advisory Council Members and Stakeholder Positions:
Director of Counseling Services Susan Holland
6th Grade School Counselor Susan Russo
7th Grade School Counselor Erin Pennington
8th Grade School Counselor Tiffini Woody-Pope
Program Counselor Amelia Black
HILT Counselor Ana Rodriguez
Substance Abuse Counselor Vanessa Zorilla-Zuniga
Principal Keisha Boggan
Assistant Principal Robert Hanson
Assistant Principal Vincent Jarosz
School Resource Officer Garnell Stewart
School Psychologist Tanya Moncreiffe-Heath
School Social Worker Christine Katcher
Special Education Department Chair Star Lanman
Instructional Lead Teacher Katelyn Bennett
TJ Rec Afterschool Lead Aquila Biddle
Arlington County Behavioral Health and Wellness Specialist: Child and Family Services Division Bill Briggs
7th grade parent Patricia Healy
PTA Member Reidy Brown
PTA Member Renee Lee
6th Grade Student Jacob Bayer
SCA Treasurer/ 7th grade student Jonah Bierman
8th Grade Student Tanaquil Eltsov

During our end of year reflection, the improvements to our advisory council during the 2017-2018 SY was universally discussed as a program highlight and a subject of pride for our department. We have had advisory councils for several years now, but we often had left the meetings feeling like opportunities were missed to get more robust feedback and input from attendees. This year, we felt we made marked improvements in having a variety of valuable perspectives at the table (attachment 6.9 and 6.12), getting substantive feedback and suggestions, and providing an illuminating glimpse into our work.

We started planning our advisory council by reflecting on past years and what we felt we had gotten right and what might need some improvement. Over the years we have had many advisory council meetings, but until recently we were missing key components. Initially we presented to the council, while they listened. We didn’t solicit any feedback. We then created an environment where there was significant dialogue, but we were missing relevant voices and members from the conversation. In the past we have tried to rectify this by bringing in additional stakeholders who were previously missing, but then found that we had less control of the conversation and discussion would move away from school counseling as the primary focus.

This year we benefited so much from those past experiences as we began by brainstorming different voices that would be invaluable at the table. We were sure to include members of the school with whom we often work closely, such as the School Resource Officer and Social Worker. Data from a county-wide Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 8th grade students from last school year highlighted an elevated number of our students who had experienced relationship violence “at school, before, or after school hours.” This reminded us that we were missing the unique perspective about what was going on with our students outside of school. Thus, we invited a youth representative from county mental health services and from the afterschool recreation center that many of our students attend.

The Fall advisory council (attachments 6.1-6.5) was an enlightening conversation from which we received a good amount of specific, counseling-related thoughts for our department. Some feedback included specific points from parents and students about making sure that students knew skills to avoid being bullied, how to report incidents, and that bullying involves physical as well as emotional harm. During our next department meeting we discussed the notes and created additional slides to add to all our bullying lessons for October (attachment 6.6). We also added some announcements to our bully-prevention month morning announcements about different ways bullying could be reported. To help ensure students remembered this message, it was decided the Program Counselor would continue to make morning announcements about how to report bullying periodically in the Spring. Additionally, the invaluable discussion from our mission and vision brainstorming activity helped clarify for our stakeholders how we support our students and many elements were incorporated into our finalized Mission and Vision statements (attachment 6.4).

During our Spring Advisory Council meeting (attachments 6.7-6.12) we were a little disappointed that our presentation ran a bit longer than planned, therefore the conversation was only about 20 minutes, instead of the planned 30 minutes for discussion. The conversation also delved off topic a bit into general advice for school improvement, including problems with school assigned iPads not connecting to the Internet at home, and the district’s decision to use a confusing new student management system.

Additional substantive points came from a teacher about making sure teachers know what counselors are doing so they can support us and find ways to highlight students who had made improvements. Our Annual Calendar is available on our website and shared with administration, but we reflected that we should start doing a better job of communicating with all staff. Teachers send out weekly classroom update emails to parents, and next year we will include information about the lessons we are delivering to students and our department efforts to improve attendance, achievement, and behavior. Additionally, we have always wanted to increase our efforts for students who missed honor roll recognition by a small margin, so we discussed adding a specific bronze sticker to student report cards for students who only missed the Honor Roll by one grade. The feedback and recommendations we received from the advisory council for the 2017-2018 SY was invaluable and will be used to inform our counseling program for the 2018-2019 SY.

7. Calendars:

Attached Files:
  • 7.12 WoodyPope Spring Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.11 Russo Spring Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.10 Rodriguez Spring Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.9 Pennington Spring Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.8 Black Spring Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.7 WoodyPope Fall Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.6 Russo Fall Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.5 Rodriguez Fall Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.4 Pennington Fall Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.3 Black Fall Calendar.pdf View
  • 7.2-Weekly Calendar Analysis View
  • 7.1- TJMS Annual Monthly Calendar 17-18 View
Our counseling department’s annual calendar is developed after reflecting on student data and meeting with counselors and administration throughout the previous summer and school-year. We drafted our annual calendar at our summer retreat meeting, adding key events and activities that do not change from year to year, such as the rising 6th grade orientation and yearly schedule changes requested at the beginning of the year. During our meeting with our principal before school started, we shared important events that we would be doing such as career day and highlighted changes from years past. Based on a suggestion from our principal about audience engagement, we decided to move the college-career panel to the same day as career day instead of the day after, so it wouldn’t fall on the Tuesday before we leave for Thanksgiving. She had no other modifications, but asked to be kept informed of major events changing on the calendar.

In the beginning of the school year, we ask all students to complete a needs assessment. After reviewing the results of this assessment, we addressed the areas identified by incorporating lessons and activities into our annual calendar and core curriculum action plan (attachment 7.1). Upon completion of our Annual Agreement meetings with our principal, we posted the calendar on our website and shared hard-copies in the boxes of all administrators. After this distribution of our department’s annual calendar, any time a major event was updated or changed, our Director of Counseling used the weekly administrators meeting to discuss changes and garner support for our programming.

In the Spring, we realized that we needed to update our annual calendar to revise our classroom lesson delivery timeline to better meet the needs of our students. For example, the HILT student advisory committee was established as a result of student concerns expressed by teachers, and the 7th grade managing stress lesson occurred in May instead of April because we decided it would be more effective to deliver it right before the Standard of Learning exams to increase the relevancy to students as they made final test-preparations.

When we wrote our annual agreements, we acknowledged that we would not know for certain how the new Program Counselor role’s time allocations would break down. We discussed our best estimates when drafting agreements and with our admin team during our annual agreement meeting. We knew that using the individual counselor time samples would be extremely valuable in determining an accurate time-distribution for this new position. We created the attached chart (attachment 7.2) that we used to analyze our Fall calendars (attachments 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7). The Fall calendars revealed that the 90% direct and indirect services for grade-level counselors was an accurate estimate but that the direct and indirect services of the Program Counselor was functioning around 50% instead of the planned 60%. As a team, we decided a way the Program Counselor could increase direct student contact would be to run additional small groups in the Spring and complete academic meetings with select students from all grades; this extra support for struggling students is something we would like to build into the plan for the Program Counselor in an effort to increase direct student support (attachments 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 7.12).

We shared the Fall use of time results with our Spring 2018 advisory council and plan to share Spring results with our next Fall 2018 advisory council. We will use the actual vs. projected use of time chart from this year to be more confident about our use of time projections for the 2018-2019 school year.

We realized as a team that the annual calendar functioned to ground our department and the work we do for students. It was a wonderful tool to market our program to key stakeholders in our school and community. We hope to share our calendar with teachers next year, as recommended in our advisory committee, to assist staff in better understanding the counseling role within our school. We also recognized when completing our individual calendars that we were able to maintain a high percentage of direct student services as a result of the Program Counselor taking on many indirect and program management tasks. It is also clear from our calendars that we are not asked to participate in many non-counseling related tasks within our school. Hopefully maintaining these types of records will continue to validate our position and the importance of protecting our time to appropriately counsel our students.

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

Attached Files:Narrative:
Administering a school-wide core curriculum is one of the most important ways that we drive our vision for all students at TJMS. We began our core curriculum action plan (attachment 8.1) by filling out our “non-negotiable” lesson topics that our county requires we do each year based on our district-wide evidence-based Second Step curriculum at each grade level. We then evaluated our mindsets and behaviors planning tool and beginning of the year needs-assessment to determine what gaps exist at each grade level.

We ensure there is a balance of career, personal-social, and academic-based lessons across each grade level and tailor the grade level topics to the developmental needs of our students. For example, we provide more social-emotional lessons during 7th grade due to common personal social concerns that arise; leaving at least one available timeslot for a lesson in the Spring, so that we can address student needs that may emerge mid-year. For example, we added a “Reflecting on your digital footprint” lesson that we tailored to address common internet conflicts that continued to arise among our 7th grade students. While we selected topics and mindsets and behaviors as a team, grade-level counselors have creative freedom to administer lessons that would best reach their students.

There is always at least one lesson per grade that targets each of our three program goals, to provide a Tier I support for all students, even if we have a narrow dataset for the goal.

Being on Time to School:
This lesson with accompanying videos was administered to the entire school as a TA lesson, which was the only lesson we structured this way for this school year. This lesson was used as the first intervention to achieve our attendance program goal. The purpose of this lesson was to promote dialogue and enthusiasm around the importance of getting to school on time (attachment 8.2-8.5). We then began a school-wide competition where students were given ‘points’ every time the entire class showed up to TA on time. In the lesson we made sure to include discussions around not “shaming” students who couldn’t make it on-time, because we realize there is a delicate balance between encouraging someone in a group and making students consistently feel bad. Teachers could reach out for exemptions if they had unique situations. A counselor walked around every Monday morning during extended TA and counted points for the week that were listed on the door of each TA class, and then marked the results on a big chart outside the counseling office, so students walking by could see how their TA was doing comparatively. Prizes were drawn via raffle and winners for each grade level got a trophy in addition to a choice of (inexpensive) squish balls or pizza, and the grand prize for the final round was throwing water balloons at the grade level assistant principal.

The Power of Positive Thinking:
We chose this lesson because we wanted to target program goal 2, but wanted a different lesson than the common “test preparation tips” lesson we had done previously for SOLs. The research on the power of positive thinking was of high interest to us and we thought it might motivate students to learn some skills around an ‘easy’ but powerful strategy to improve their test taking ability (attachments 8.6, 8.7). In addition to this lesson, Ms. Pennington did a follow-up after-school activity with students in which they decorated quotes they found inspiring and posted them on a large message board. All 7th grade students who were enrolled in a reading class (designed for students who fell below grade-level or borderline in their reading skills), received a letter in English and Spanish that highlighted important test-preparation tips to empower parents to help hold students accountable (attachment 8.6).

Academic Planning and Goal Setting:
The goal of this lesson was to connect what students were doing academically in 6th grade to their long-term academic trajectory. Ideally understanding how each class builds on another to target high school graduation would motivate students to improve their academic efforts (attachment 8.8, 8.9). The academic planning component of this lesson was introduced to 113 6th grade students and their parents over the summer in individual meetings that allowed them to ask deeper questions about course selections. The letter was sent home in English and Spanish inviting all 6th grade families to come in for a 20-minute meeting. Additionally, individual goal-setting and check-ins were held with the 6th grade students still on the academic watch-list.

9. School Counseling Core Curriculum: Results Report:
Collecting and analyzing the data from lessons we give is one of our most important tools for refining our ability to impact students. The three lessons highlighted in the core curriculum results report (attachment 9.1) were chosen for analysis particularly because they target mindsets and behaviors we deemed important for accomplishing our school counseling program goals.

The “Be On Time to School” lesson was our introduction to our School-Wide tardy reduction competition, the “Time to Shine Tournament.” The perception data (attachment 9.2) showed less improvement than we initially anticipated about students believing Teacher Advisory (TA) and Yellow Jacket Period (YJP) were important parts of the day. Therefore, we thought in the future we might want to create a student-driven PSA or monthly announcements to discuss how TA and YJP helped them improve in school. From this lesson we thought we might have received more student completed pre and post-tests if lessons from counseling were delivered more frequently in TA and expectations were communicated more clearly. We have already addressed this for next year, by scheduling our TA counseling lessons well in advance. We hope that the combination of providing advanced notice and simple, user-friendly lesson plans will allow TA teachers, who have class sizes of no more than 15, to implement some lessons from the counseling curriculum that do not require a counselor to be physically present.

The “Positive Thinking” classroom lesson is linked to program goal 2. Our perception data (attachment 9.3) noted that over 50% of students already showed mastery of three of the four pre-test questions for the lesson. Thus, in the future, we may want to consider changing our pre/post-test questions to promote more critical thinking, eliciting more robust results. It would also be appropriate to stretch the discussion aspect of the lesson and have students personally reflect on how negative thoughts can be controlled and turned into positive ones. The perception data also indicated that most students did not know how to define a “mantra,” which could indicate an opportunity to go deeper into the power of repeating positive statements to effectively change one’s thinking.

The “Academic Planning and Goal Setting” lesson is linked to the 3rd goal (attachment 9.3). This was one lesson that we will break into two lessons in the future so that we can do a more in-depth activity with students about student-success skills and how they might be applied to improve grades. This lesson highlighted a key struggle of achieving “breadth” versus “depth” with students. We often feel we need to go over as much information as possible whenever we can get in the classroom, because time is so limited. However, this approach usually sacrifices engaging students and ensuring the information is understood. In the future, we might have TA teachers introduce student success skills before this lesson, so we could skip directly to the activity and begin productive conversations about practically applying these skills. This would allow us to add a peer-to-peer discussion to the lesson in which students could discuss “What might prevent you from applying this skill?” and “How will you make sure you still apply these skills when you experience these obstacles?”

Overall in our conversation about disaggregating perception and outcome data, we had certain thematic takeaways for making future lessons more effective. We agreed that we need to make surveys and pre/post tests electronic to save time calculating results and printing documents. We also reflected that our skills have improved in writing assessments linked to mindsets and behaviors that target student-attained “knowledge, attitudes, and skills.” Finally, we recognized the importance of our overall core curriculum planning; to ensure that we are able to get into classes, we must front-load the majority of our lessons prior to winter break when teachers are more flexible with their instructional time and we must utilize non-traditional methods of reaching all of our students, such as TA time, PSAs, and announcements.

School Counseling Core Curriculum Results Report

Lesson #1
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Attendance |
Grade Level Lesson Topic ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s)
Entire School (6-8) The importance of being on time to school lesson and introduction to school-wide BLS-3, B-SMS 2
Start/End Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data) Implications
Dec. 4, 2018 349 6th graders, 343 7th graders, and 309 8th graders were in TA on this day and participated in the lesson for a total of 1001 students out of 1065 (94%) enrolled students enrolled on this date. - - However only 521 students took the Pre-assessment and 229 students took the post-assessment.

% A or SA = % Marked Agree or Strongly Agree
D or SD = Marked Disagree
or Strongly Disagree

It is important to be on time to school:
Pre: 93% A or SA
Post: 93% A or SA
0% change

Able to identify two ways to speed myself up in the mornings:
Pre: 69% A or SA
Post: 85% A or SA
16% Increase

Being on time is associated with higher grades:
Pre: 51% A or SA
Post: 73% A or SA
22% Increase

TA and YellowJacket Period do not matter because there are no grades:
Pre: 62% D or SD
Post: 66% D or SD
4% Increase
Total number of tardies to school:

2014-2015: 50
2015-2016: 3368
2016-2017: 3157
2017-2018: 5,228

Percent change from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018:

-65.6% increase
- Overall, the perception data does not seem to show a large change in students’ attitudes about the importance of getting to school on time, they already seem to recognize the importance. We believe in the future we could change wording to be more specific to show more growth between the pre-and post-tests based on the lesson, for example: “I know of three specific reasons why it is personally important for me to be on time to school”

- There was a marginal increase in students’ ability to understand the association with being on time and higher grades (22%) and to identify ways to increase the speed of their morning routine to arrive to school on-time (16%)

- 93% of students found it important to be on time to school but only around 60% thought TA and YJP were important. Because we hear so many times from students that TA and YJP don’t matter it was surprising the number of students who didn’t see this as a contradiction. An interesting way to try and change this perception might be to have students do a PSA video about how YJP improved their grades or SOL scores, to increase motivation to take YJP seriously.

- Tardies increased significantly (65.6%) but this was likely heavily influenced by a change in the way the data was collected this school year. School administration changed it from the main office coding tardies to school to TA teachers coding tardies to school.

- 8th grade teachers were confused about which lesson they were supposed to be doing this morning due to an unclear communication from our IB coordinator, which resulted in them starting the lesson late and possibly why so many students did not get to the post-assessment (521-Pre/229-Post). In the future, we will plan to have at least 3 counselors walking around on TA lesson days to make sure teachers are on task and to answer any of their questions. In the future, we would like to run through a school-wide lesson with teachers if possible during a staff meeting, because some teachers presented to the whole class on their SmartBoard instead of having students individually participate on their Ipads as instructed; we believe this is why overall Pre-assessment/Post-assessment completion was so much less than overall attendance in TA (1001 students).

Because over 50% of students already agreed with most of the questions on the pretest, perhaps this type of lesson could be broken into two parts, with a more-in depth discussion of why it matters to be on time given only to targeted students who were frequently tardy, perhaps even as a small-group-style lesson. Or we just needed to be more specific on the pre-test questions as previously discussed; even if we do a similar version of the lesson we should make the questions more specific to ensure we are assessing knowledge, attitudes, and skills that have specifically changed because of the lesson.

Attached Files:
  • 9.1- SCCurriculumResultsReport.docx View
  • 9.2- Goal 1 lesson perception and outcome data.docx View
Lesson #2
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Academic Achievement | Mental Health |
Grade Level Lesson Topic ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s)
All 7th grade students enrolled in a reading support class Importance of Reading M 2 M6
Start/End Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data) Implications
May 15,16, 17,18 63 7th grade students (out of 65 students enrolled in all reading classes—97%) were present and participated in the lesson.

Letters were mailed home to all 65 students with some follow-up tips for parents to help prepare students for the upcoming reading SOL the next week
% A or SA = % Marked Agree or Strongly Agree

1) I know what it means to have positive self-talk
Pre: 54% A or SA
Post: 94% A or SA
40% Increase

2) I know what it means to have a Mantra

Pre: 21% A or SA
Post: 91% A or SA
70% Increase

3) I believe that JUST believing I can do something has a large influence on my ability to do it

Pre: 79% A or SA
Post: 88%A or SA

9% Increase

4) I am able to apply positive self-talk when I am unsure of my ability to do something

Pre: 68% A or SA
Post: 91% A or SA

23% Increase

% of special Education students who passed the 7th grade reading SOL

Out of the 34 special education students who failed the 6th grade reading SOL, 4 students passed the 7th grade reading SOL.

- 12% Increase

Related Data:

- In 2017-2018, 59% of students who took the 7th grade Reading SOL increased their score from their 6th grade SOL score

- Reading 7 SOL historical passage rate for special education students:

2014-2015 71.43%
2015-2016 49.09%
2016-2017 61.21%
2017-2018 24.49%

- 36.7% Decrease in special education passage rate between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018

- Reading 7 SOL historical passage rate for general education students:

2014-2015 93.09%
2015-2016 94.31%
2016-2017 88.70%
2017-2018 85.21%

- 3.5% Decrease in general education passage rate between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018
- Our goal was for 8 special education students (25%) who failed the 6th grade reading SOL to pass the 7th reading SOL. 4 of these students passed the 7th grade reading SOL (12%). The goal was not met, but 4 students did pass. We plan to dig into the data to determine what helped these students to be successful and then to apply these skills/assets to our work with other students in the future.

- Looking at the overall Reading 7 SOL pass rate data for 7th grade special education students, we can see large fluctuations in the historical overall pass rate (36.7% decrease in special education passage rate between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.) This may be due to the switch in special education reading approaches to Orton Gillingham style of instruction in 2017-2018.

-Though the overall pass-rate was low for special education students (24.49% in 2017-2018), 59% of 7th grade special education students improved from their 6th grade reading SOL score. Because of the many factors involved, of course, it is always a bit difficult to draw direct lines of influence between our interventions and the outcome data. However, this is positive sign for the impact our interventions may have had on these students.

- Students seemed to already be confident in the power of thinking positively because on the pre-test 54% of students knew what it meant to have positive self-talk and 88% of students felt just believing in something has a large impact on their ability to do it. In the future, question 3 and 1 should be modified to more specifically align with the lesson objectives and content, and would likely show more growth between the pre-test and post-test. Question 3 should be refined to “I believe that hard scientific data supports that just believing in something can largely influence my ability to do it.” Question 1 could be refined to: “I can list 3 specific ways to implement positive self-talk when I am thinking negatively.”

- Many more students (70% increase) understood what a mantra and positive self-talk were after this lesson, which we hoped translated to using this knowledge to prepare for SOLs. To more specifically know if students planned to use it, we could add a question, “I plan to use the mantra I developed as I prepare for the upcoming SOLs.”

- In the future, follow-up lesson and/or assessment could involve the question: “What is a Mantra you use in difficult situations?” Or “What is a mantra you could use when taking an SOL.” This would determine if students retained this knowledge/skill and were able to apply it to their lives.

-The lesson reinforced this important skillset for students at a relevant time by being presented a week before the test. However, in the future, perhaps we could do this lesson earlier in the year, so students could apply the skills throughout the year and then we could just do an inspiring refresher lesson or reminder video right before the test.

Attached Files:
  • 9.3- Goal 2 Lesson Perception and Outcome Charts.docx View
Lesson #3
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Academic Achievement | Postsecondary Preparation |
Grade Level Lesson Topic ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s)
All 6th grade students Individual Academic Planning and Goal Setting B-LS 3, BLS 7
Start/End Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data) Implications
Week of April 9, 2018 347 6th grade students participated in this lesson, out of 374 6th grade students enrolled in school on this date (93%). Follow-up lessons were conducted with 14 students who showed up to the makeup lesson during Homeroom class for the following week, increasing participation to 96%. % A or SA = % of students who marked Agree or Strongly Agree for their answer

1) I am aware of many elective options in high school.

Pre: 35% A or SA
Post: 73% % A or SA
- 38% Increase

2) I am using a success strategy to end 4th quarter strong.
Pre: 75% A or SA
Post: 87% A or SA
- 12% Increase

3) I believe that the course I set today can affect how well I do in my future.

Pre: 71% A or SA
Post: 84% A or SA
-13% Increase
Academic Watch list = Students with 2 or more D’s or E’s in core classes

Total number of students on the academic watch list as of Quarter 1: 30

Total number of students on the watch list Quarter 1 who were still on the watch list as of Final Grades: 19

- 36% Decrease
75% of students agreed or strongly agreed on the pre-test that they were using a success strategy to end 4th quarter strong. This seems to indicate that most students already knew about success strategies before the lesson. However perhaps “success strategy” is too general of a name because students may think it refers to any strategy for being successful and not the specific strategies discussed in the lesson. To show more growth from pre-test to post-test, perhaps the question could read, “I can list 2-3 specific strategies I will use to be successful in the 4th quarter.”

- 71% of students agreed or strongly agreed on the pretest that “the course set today can affect how well I do in my future.” Perhaps in future lessons we would see more growth if we made this attitude more specific to the direct content of the lesson: “I believe that what I learn in middle school, will likely be relevant again in college and my career.” This would also emphasize connection between their classes now and their future, which is also more closely aligned with the lesson objectives.

- Question 1 saw a 38% increase from pretest to post test, but perhaps also making this question more specific would increase pre-post test results: “I can list 3 specific elective options I may take in high school.” This closely aligns with the lesson and refers to more specific knowledge reviewed in the lesson.
- The 36% decrease of students from the quarter 1 watch-list who were still on the watch-list as of final grades exceeded our program goal of a 25% decrease from quarter 1 to final grade. Combined with small group interventions and letters sent home to parents about the academic watch-list, this lesson likely helped support achieving this program goal.

- The plan was to do this lesson earlier in the school-year as a studentship-skills refresher lesson right after winter break to increase student motivation, but teachers’ schedules preparing for SOL testing made it difficult to get into the classroom. In the future, the goal-setting portion of this lesson could be done in the fall; however the academic planning portion is usually more helpful to do in the spring because students have the context of having already picked classes, which helps them understand academic planning.

Attached Files:
  • 9.4- Goal 3 lesson perception and outcome data charts.docx View
Are the 3 lessons submitted part of the same unit? No

10. Small-Group Responsive Services:
As a counseling department, we believe small groups provide an important opportunity for us to apply our counseling skills and have a deeper influence on students’ holistic development. The 8-classes-per-day schedule in our middle-school requires a significant amount of planning to avoid disrupting class time. As a result, our small group action plan (attachment 10.1) reflects our collective focus on quality over quantity. Focused engagement of middle school students in a small group is something we are always trying to improve. Thus we value student’s suggestions, feedback, and general perception and outcome data, as we make decisions about the effectiveness of a lesson or group.

Often groups are organized as a direct response to referrals for interventions from teachers, administration, and parents. For example, our New Student Ambassador’s group was inspired by our principal’s request to make new students who arrive mid-year feel welcome, and our HILT reunification group was established after several students reported trauma from crossing the border into the United states. Other groups, such as the group sessions discussed in our results report, are directly related to achieving our program goals.

We chose to highlight the “Academic Excellence Group” because it addressed our 3rd program goal, was adapted from a research-based curriculum, and was the group that impacted the largest number of students this school-year (attachment 10.2). This group was an important part of our effort to provide early intervention to 6th grade students as well as affect the disproportionate number of Hispanic students on the D/E list in 6th grade. This curriculum was aligned to the ASCA mindsets and behaviors that we thought were most relevant to helping students to improve academic achievement. Furthermore, we appreciated that the pretest doubled as a selection tool for narrowing down which of the provided lesson plans were most relevant to students based on their self-identified strengths and weaknesses.

The Academic Excellence group, highlighted in our results report was structured so that 8 of the 12 optional lessons could be chosen based on need indicated from the pretest (attachment 10.4). It is important to note that we were frustrated that the pre-test and post-test had slightly different wording; however, we kept the questions the same because it was our first time using the tool.

On the pretest, motivation did not seem a particularly high-need of students with it earning a pre-test score of 48%, which was the second lowest need reported from all 10 sections. However, a key takeaway from the post-test data was that motivation was the only area in which students reported a higher need on the post-test (4% Increase). Motivation was the last lesson topic the students participated in before the posttest, so it clearly was not an effective lesson and if anything, it seemed to remind students of their lack of motivation. Based on this we agreed to try another research-based approach to motivate students in the future. Though it is always hard to draw strong conclusions from outcome data because of the many variables at play, the perception data indicated strong improvement in knowledge, attitudes and skills. As a result, we will use the curriculum again and are considering using it with other grades.

The results report (attachment 10.3) served as a significant reflection point for the counseling department, and we look forward to using the implications to refine our groups for this upcoming year. We concluded that we need to refine our perception data questions to clarify perception data and the effect our interventions have on outcomes. We should review questions for upcoming lessons as a group to make sure the questions align directly with objectives and are relevant to knowledge, attitude, and skills. This way we are assured that our questions align and connect as closely as possible to the outcome data we are trying to change.

Attached Files:
  • 10.4- Perception-Outcome Data Charts.docx View
  • 10.3- TJMS Small Group Results Report 17-18 .docx View
  • 10.2- Academic Excellence Group Lesson Plans.pdf View
  • 10.1-TJMS Small Group Action Plan 17-18 .docx View

Small-Group Results Report

Group Name: Academic Advisement Groups (Academic Excellence Groups)
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Academic Achievement |
Goal: Goal 3: By June 2018, the 30 sixth graders identified on the Academic Watch List in the 1st Quarter (defined as students with 2 or more Ds or Es in Math, Science, Social Studies, or English), will be reduced by at least 25% to 22 students or less.
Target Group: 6th grade Students who had 2 or more D's and E's on BOTH interim 1 and quarter 1 grades
Data Used to Identify Students: 6th grade Students who had 2 or more D's and E's on BOTH interim 1 and quarter 1 grades
School Counselor(s) ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s) Outline of Group Sessions Delivered
Lead- Susan Russo Co-lead- Amelia Black Co-lead- Ana Rodriguez M-6
1- Individual meetings
2- Orientation
3- Turning in Assignments
4- Goal Review (meetings with individuals)
5- Stress
6- Goal Setting
7- Task Completion and Procrastination
8- Organization
9- Test Taking Skills and Test Anxiety
10- Learning styles and study skills for each style
11- Motivation
12- Celebration
Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Data from surveys used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance and/or behavior data collected) Implications
24 6th grade students participated in this group who were on the academic watch list (Two or More D’s and/or E’s) for 1st quarter interim grades and for quarter 1. 24 students took the pre and post assessment questions on the following topics.

Pre-test and Post-Test scoring: The sum of student scores for pre-tests and post-tests were added up and divided by 48 to calculate an overall percentage for each answer (because the maximum score each student could give for an answer was 2 and there were 24 students, we multiplied 2 X 24 to calculate the maximum possible score for each topic to divide students actual responses out of 48)

Calculation of change in answers from Pre-test and post-test for particular skills:

72.7% of skills overall became easier

13.6% of skills became harder

13.6% of skills stayed the same

Pre-Test: 23 (48%)
Post-Test: 25 (52%)

4% Increase

Pre-Test: 23 (48%)
Post-Test: 23 (48%)

0% change

Goal Setting:
Pre-Test: 22 (46%)
Post-Test: 17 (35%)

11% Decrease

Learning Styles:
Pre-Test: 27 (56%)
Post-Test: 14 (29%)

27% Decrease

Test Anxiety:
Pre-Test: 27 (56%)
Post-Test: 19 (40%)

16% Decrease

Testing Skills:
Pre-Test: 10 (63%)
Post-Test: 23 (48%)

23% Decrease

Handling stress and pressure:
Pre-Test: 24 (50%)
Post-Test: 16 (33%)

17 % Decrease

Turning in Assignments:
Pre-Test: 34 (71%)
Post-Test: 23 (48%)

23% Decrease

General Study Skills:
Pre-Test: 26 (54%)
Post-Test: 16 (33%)

21% Decrease

Pre-Test: 24 (50%)
Post-Test: 17 (35%)

15% Decrease

24 students in the group (100%) were on the academic watch list for MP1.)

15/24 students were on the academic watch list as of 2nd quarter (The groups started mid-way through this quarter)
- 9 students (37.5%) off the list

17/24 students were on the academic watch list 3rd quarter (the group finished mid-way through this quarter)
- 7 students (29.1%) off the list

13/24 students from the group were on the academic watch list by the last/4th quarter
11 students (45.8%) off the list

15/24 Of the students on the watch list and in the group, 15 were still on the watch list as of final grades
9 students (37.5%) off the list

For Comparison:
Final Data for the 6 students NOT in the group (because they were only on the academic watch list for quarter 1) showed that 4 of 6 students NOT in the group were still on the academic watch list at final grades

2 students (33.3%) off the list

- This was the first time this curriculum was used, but because it was research-based program, the pretest and post-test were not modified. However, the wording from the pre and post assessments were confusing, difficult to score, and left data up for interpretation. Next year we are going to use a Likert scale with the same statements for pre and post tests.

- There was a 4% increase of students feeling motivation was a concern at the end of the group from the beginning of the group. This was the only question students overall scored higher on from pre-test to post-test. The “motivation” lesson plan was given as the last lesson before the post-assessment. Perhaps this was an indication that this lesson was not sufficient to increase motivation.

- In doing this set of lessons in the future, motivation could be a lesson done towards the beginning, and we could substitute the motivation lesson with another researched-based lesson or a strategy for motivating students throughout the group.

- Overall there was zero percentage change between pre-test and post-test from the procrastination lesson. Perhaps this lesson could be replaced with another research-based lesson when running this group again.

- The largest perception data changes from pre-test to post-test were around learning styles (27% decrease), turning in assignments (23% decrease general study skills (23% decrease). This seems to indicate that these were the most effective group lessons, and they all fall under a general category of “student-ship skills,” so we will perhaps pull from these lessons if we develop core curriculum lessons around these topics.

- From quarter 1 to final grades, 37.5% of students in the group came off the academic watch-list. For comparison, 6 of the total 30 students who were identified by our program goal were not identified for the small group because they were not on the academic watch list for both interim 1 and quarter 1. However, these students seemed to have similar outcomes as those enrolled in the small group because 2 of 6 of them came off the academic watch list by final grades (33%). However, these students were specifically chosen for individual interventions only because they seemed more likely to be successful, having only been on the D/E list for quarter 1; so perhaps this group was already pre-disposed to improve grades at a higher rate than students in the group.

- There were 8 students in 3 small groups that each met a different day of the week. This was a great way to increase the number of students receiving the intervention, however, at times group dynamics could make it a bit chaotic and it was hard to give individual attention to students where needed. In the future, we might add some specific language to the group contract that if they do not follow the group rules and do not engage productively in the group conversation, students will be removed from the group.

11. Closing-the-Gap Results Report:
Goal: By June 2018, the 20 Hispanic 6th graders identified on the Academic Watch List in the 1st Quarter (defined as students with 2 or more Ds or Es in Math, Science, Social Studies, or English), will be reduced by at least 25% to 15 students or less by the final marking period.
Key Words That the Lesson Addresses:
Academic Achievement | Conflict Resolution | Dropout Prevention | Postsecondary Preparation |
Target Group: Hispanic Students
Data Used to Identify Students: 1st and 2nd quarter grades in core classes
School Counselor(s) ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s) Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?
Amelia Black, Erin Pennington, Ana Rodriguez, Susan Russo, Tiffini Woody-Pope M 3 B-SS 6 B- SS 8 B- LS 7 Interventions were chosen based on chapters 3, 5, and 6 from Cheryl Holcomb McCoy’s book “School Counseling to Close the Achievement Gap”

Because the Hispanic student achievement gap was school-wide, we implemented some interventions across grade-levels even though our goal was only for 6th grade students.

School-wide Interventions:
- All counselors participated in Individual goal setting meetings and periodic follow-up with all Hispanic students in the school with two or more E's in core classes both 1st and 2nd quarter (34 students)
- Spanish-language Parent education night event and back to school basics night on training parents in parentvue (Our system for viewing students’ gradebook)
- Coordination with minority achievement coordinator and parent liason to create “What’s App” texting group for Spanish parents to increase parent inter-connectedness and knowledge of what is going on at school
- Letter home in Spanish and English to all s students with an E on their report card on 1st or 2nd quarter.
- Spanish and English letter sent home letting parents know about the importance of summer school for students identified by teachers
-Develop a quantitative and qualitative report to inform future counseling interventions on closing this the achievement gap. This report will be reflected on by counseling staff and then shared with administration and the TJMS advisory council.

Interventions ONLY with 6th grade students
- All students on the academic watch list did individual goal setting meetings (15-30 minutes) to make a plan for grade improvement
- All students were invited to Summer meetings with rising 6th grade students and parents in late August to complete academic planning for middle and high school. The letter sent home inviting families was in Spanish and English and meetings were held with Spanish translation available.
- Academic planning lessons were conducted with all students in each grade that connected middle school efforts to high school and career outcomes. Follow-up small group lessons were completed for students who were absent.
Process Data (Number of students affected) Perception Data (Data from surveys used) Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance and/or behavior data collected) Implications
Direct Student Interventions:
- Individual goal setting meetings and follow-up-
11 6th grade students
13 7th grade students
10 8th grade students

-114 6th grade students met with their parents over the summer to discuss academic planning. 19 of these meetings were conducted in Spanish.

- 361 6h grade students, 365 7th grade students, and, 317 8th grade students and completed individual academic plans in classroom lessons or in follow-up group sessions for absent students.

Indirect Student Interventions:
- 232 letters sent home for students who earned an E’s 1st or 2nd quarter

- 243 Letters sent home to parents about summer school

- Parents of 17 students attended Spanish parent-vue training

- 34 parents in WhatsApp texting group as of the end of the school-year

Pre & Post assessment results from before the first individual goal setting meetings and after the meetings and 9 weeks of periodic follow-up check-ins:

1) If you are upset at home what do you?

Talk with a trusted adult or friend

Pre: 14 Students (41%)
Post: 21 Students (62%)
- 21% increase

Handle it on my own

Pre: 20 students (59%)
Post: 13 students (38%)
- 21% Decrease

2)What do you do if you get upset in school?

Talk with a trusted adult or friend?

Pre: 17 Students (50%)
Post: 25 Students (74%)
24% Increase

Handle it on my own

Pre: 17 students (50%)
Post: 9 students (26%)
24% decrease

3) Do you seek extra help when you need it?


Pre:11 (32%)
Post: 15 (44%)
12% increase


Pre: 12 (35%)
Post: 14 (41%)
6% Increase

Hardly Ever:

Pre: 11 (32%)
Post: 5 (15%)
17% decrease

4) How welcome do you feel in school with 5 being the most welcome?

Students who chose 4 or 5:

Pre: 26 Students (76%)
Post: 28 Students (82%)
6% Increase

Students who chose 1,2, or 3:

Pre: 8 Students (24%)
Post: 6 Students (18%)
6% Increase

5) Do you know what kind of environment you study best in?

Very well

Pre: 8 Students (24%)
Post: 25 Students (74%)
50% increase

A little bit

Pre: 9 Students (26%)
Post: 2 students (6%)
20% decrease

Not Really

Pre: 17 Students (50%)
Post: 7 students (21%)
29% decrease

Data for 6th grade students:

20 6th grade Hispanic students started on the academic watch list

By the final marking period grades only 10 Hispanic students were on the academic watch list, which was a 50% drop.

Data for “Work Smarter not Harder” intervention given to Hispanic students with semester grade E’s from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade:

9 of 34 students given the intervention had zero E’s in a core class as of final grades. This was a 26% decrease off of the original list of 34 students.

Related data:
Number and percentage of 6th grade Final Grade E’s in core classes that were earned by a Hispanic student:

2014-2015 10/13 77%
2015-2016 5/9 56%
2016-2017 5/10 50%
2017-2018 10/13 77%

(See attached data chart for more detailed breakdown of this data)
- There was a 21% increase in students reporting that they talked with a trusted adult or friend when they were upset at home and a 24% increase in students reporting that they talk with a trusted adult or friend when they were upset at school. This seems to indicate that our conversations with students on identifying people they could problem solve with were somewhat effective at helping some students identify support people they could turn to.

-However, we were concerned that the pre-test indicated such high percentages of students surveyed handled upsetting issues at home and at school on their own (59% and 50% respectively). Next year we plan to include in our core curriculum action plan a lesson, or part of a lesson, on how to identify people you can lean on when going through challenges and how to ask for help. Then once we have a foundation of knowledge and skills established through core curriculum with all students, we can do small group or individual counseling with the identified students who still indicate they handle problems on their own.

- There was a 50% increase in students reporting that they knew “very well” the environment they studied best in. The simple conversations we had with students went a long way in their ability to identify this. Thus, we will be including an activity on identifying your best study environment in our core curriculum next year, most likely in everyone’s introductory counseling lesson.

- The reduction of Hispanic 6th grade students off the 1st quarter watch-list by final grades (50%) seems to indicate many students that we targeted for intervention dropped off the academic watch list. However, we noticed that the academic watch-list reduction did not change the fact that Hispanic students still represented an alarmingly disproportionate total of the students who earned at least one E in a core class in 6th grade.

- Of the 34 students that we targeting for our school-wide intervention, 9 students had zero final grade E’s on their report cards. We did not make our closing the gap goal for 6,7, and 8th grade students because we wanted to reflect on how our interventions worked on a small group before making them school-wide; the data from this particular school-wide intervention indicates that it was successful. Based on the positive trend from this data, next year we plan to expand our closing the gap efforts to a school-wide goal.

- We felt our parent engagement event would have been more useful earlier in the school year. Our desire for more grandiose plans for the event kept delaying it and ended up making it less effective. We have already planned a date in October for a similar event for the upcoming school year.

- The data report that we put together pulled out certain future target subgroups to focus on for the Hispanic achievement gap: Males, 7th graders, and level 6 HILT students.
In discussing our data with school administration, we brought up that certain trends in classes and certain teachers also stood out in the data. We have suggested creating an interdisciplinary team to be developed, which we have offered to lead, to more deeply analyze the causes and solutions to this achievement gap here at TJ

- We plan to continue to ensure that any document we send home to parents is provided in both English and Spanish. Our research shows that language is consistently a barrier for many Hispanic parents (attachment 11.8) and it is a concern many parents at our school have brought to our attention.

Attached Files:
  • 11.12-FINAL- 2017 6th grade letter to parents-Eng&Span.doc View
  • 11.11-Parent Engagement&Communications Artifacts.pdf View
  • 11.10-CTG Post Assessment.docx View
  • 11.9- Academic Planning Lesson Plan&PPT.pdf View
  • 11.8- Parental Involvement Barriers Hispanic Parents.pdf View
  • 11.7- CTG Perception & Outcome Data Charts.docx View
  • 11.6- Hispanic Gap Data Report from Counseling Department.docx View
  • 11.5- Research Article-Focus on Latino Students _ Colorín Colorado.pdf View
  • 11.4- Minutes-Hispanic Parent Engagement Meeting.docx View
  • 11.3-Work smarter not Harder- Goals&PreAssessment.docx View
  • 11.2- Closing-the-Gap Results Report.docx View
  • 11.1- Closing-the-Gap ActionPlan.docx View
When we reviewed a variety of data trends early in the year, one of the most jarring and alarming pieces of data that we discovered was the pervasive academic achievement gap involving Hispanic students across grade-levels earning a disproportionate amount of final failing grades (E’s) on report cards (11.7). It inflamed our sense of educational justice and got us focused on one hard question: Why is this happening? Our perception was that like many systemic educational phenomena, the cause was multi-faceted, which is why we decided to create a quantitative and qualitative report on what was fueling this gap (11.6). We decided our closing the gap goal would specifically target 6th grade students to align with our 3rd program goal, therefore we provided select interventions only to 6th grade students. However, because we knew this gap spanned all grades, where possible, we also provided interventions to 6th-8th students. In expanding some closing the gap efforts to all grades, we also hoped to determine what interventions would be appropriate to include in our future core curriculum and closing the gap efforts.
We were excited when we re-discovered our copy of “School Counseling to close the Achievement Gap” by Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy. Each chapter in her book focused on different strategies, and we selected three chapters/strategies that we could implement within our school to work toward closing the gap. These chapters included: Chapter 3- Counseling and intervention planning, Chapter 5- Connecting schools, families, and communities, and Chapter 6- Using data to uncover inequities (Holcomb-McCoy, 2007).

Based on this research to address the Hispanic achievement gap, which for us was apparent across all grade-levels (11.7), we first identified a Tier I intervention for students across all grades to encourage academic success. We developed classroom lessons on academic planning and the importance of education in achieving future goals (11.9). Students created individualized 4-6 year academic plans where they made connections to their current academic achievement and the opportunities available to them in the future.

Our main ‘counseling’ intervention was individual goal-setting and follow-up meetings with all Hispanic students who had an E (failing grade) in the same core class for both first and second quarter grades, because they seemed most at risk of earning a final grade of E. This turned out to be 34 students in 6-8th grades. We gathered pre-assessment data on ‘healthy’ academic habits during our first meeting and during our follow-up meeting we discussed strategies with students to improve these habits (11.3). Perception data particularly showed a need for students to feel they have someone talk to and problem/solve with when they were upset about something, which is a topic we will include in planning next year’s core curriculum and small groups. We also created a data report from the pre-assessment data and shared it within our counseling department and advisory council about how the needs reflected would influence our future program goals (11.6).

Another intervention was the parent and student summer academic planning meetings with 6th grade parents before school started in August (11.12). We had several meetings with our school’s parent liaison, minority achievement coordinator, and several Hispanic parents about what we could do to better engage Hispanic parents (11.4). Repeated themes included 1) not knowing English well and 2) a lack of feeling connected to what was going on in school suggested the need for these meetings. In addition, Dr. Holcomb McCoy’s emphasis on the school-family-community connection inspired our indirect interventions to support Spanish-speaking families, including the WhatsAPP texting group (a Feeder elementary school already had a successful group as our model), the Spanish ParentVue training, and translating as many documents in Spanish as possible for parents (11.11).

Though we implemented a variety of interventions, the data indicates that we reduced the number of Hispanic students on the 6th grade watch list by 50%. However, Hispanic students still represented 77% of the final failing grades for 6th grade (and 76% and 69% for 7th and 8th grade, respectively) (11.7). In our results report we highlight a variety of specific changes we hope to make to our program to continue increasing our impact on this problem. Our biggest recommendation to our school administrators is that an inter-disciplinary committee be developed to analyze and make recommendations about how the entire school can work to support closing this achievement gap, which our department has offered to lead and organize.

12. Program Evaluation Reflection:

Attached Files:
Signature Page:
  • Signature Sheet.pdf View