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CSCORE Evaluating ESSCP grant
Randolph Public SchoolsThe Randolph, Massachusetts Public Schools were awarded a three-year Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) grant in fall of 2012. CSCORE is the evaluator for the grant’s project, The Asset-Based Culture, which is designed to provide the necessary foundational elements for building a transformed school counseling program. Year one of the grant was devoted to building the infrastructure for the project, including hiring four school counselors, offering professional development on topics ranging from evidence-based practice to cultural competency, and establishing baseline information on important data indicators. Now in its second year of the project, the Grant Team is spearheading a number of project initiatives, including developing a new Office Discipline Referral form to provide a standardized mechanism for collecting data related to disciplinary infractions; creating standards-based report cards with a Protective Factor Index to record important behavioral data; offering a summer transition program for students moving from the district’s elementary schools to the middle school; and developing an evidence-based school counseling curriculum that will be delivered in all elementary classrooms.
The new Office Discipline Referral (ODR) form and the standards-based elementary report cards were developed through a collaborative endeavor among administrators, teachers from each grade level, elementary school counselors, the Grant’s Project Manager (Unique Potential) and Grant Evaluator (CSCORE). The ODR now categorizes disciplinary infractions by three different levels depending on the nature and severity of the presenting issue; the ODR also records location of incident, classroom management and behavioral strategies used to address the problem behavior, and administrative action taken. Other important data related to student behavior will be gathered through the Protective Factor Index section of the new standards-based report cards. The Protective Factor Index is composed of indicators that reflect the skills, attitudes, and dispositions which research has demonstrated link to academic achievement and school success. Grade-level rubrics detailing the expected developmental progression for each of the Protective Factors were also created to assist teachers in accurately and consistently scoring students’ behaviors.
Establishing systemwide structures for capturing data about student engagement – from discipline information collected on the electronic ODR forms to academic and social skills development indicators included on trimester report cards – provides rich and “real time” information for parents, school counselors, and other school staff on the multiple factors that can influence student achievement. Grant school counselors will review and disaggregate data from the Protective Factor Index to determine if gaps exist in social/emotional or academic skill areas and will focus their weekly Success Class lessons on teaching these competencies. Counselors will then review subsequent report card and ODR data to evaluate the impact of their classroom guidance lessons on students’ behavior and skill development. The Grant Team partnered with the district’s Informational Technology department to enable electronic recording of all ODR and report card data and to create user-friendly reports from the various academic, discipline, attendance and other data indicators. These tailored reports will allow school counselors and members of Randolph’s data Student Support Teams to identify trends both at the student and building level and to determine which universal, targeted, or individual interventions are indicated to reduce problem behaviors in the classroom, encourage more learning-focused environments, and to create a safer school climate. The report cards will be piloted this year and the roll out will include information and training for both staff and parents.
The ESSCP project also included development of a summer transition-focused “Bootcamp.” After hearing anecdotal information from teachers about students being unprepared for the greater academic and social demands faced in middle school, grant counselors decide to collect data from the students themselves about their experience in moving from elementary to middle school. Quantitative and qualitative survey data from sixth graders indicated that many students were anxious about this important transition and would have appreciated more support and information about the process. Educational research demonstrates that many students experience a decline in academic performance, attendance, and motivation during the transition from elementary to middle school. The school counselors therefore combined information gleaned from the research base, along with teacher and student data, to create a weeklong summer Bootcamp transition program that was free of charge and open to all district fifth graders. The school counselors used evidence-based curricula including Student Success Skills, Why Try? and The Real Game to teach the organizational and study strategies and the principles of motivation and career development that are critical to success in middle school. School counselors will administer the same transition survey to this year’s 6th grade students to measure the impact of the summer Bootcamp on students’ experience in starting middle school.
The four grant counselors created a comprehensive and developmental set of guidance lessons that align with the three domains of the ASCA National Model. School counselors will deliver a guidance lesson in every elementary classroom each week of the school year. In addition, the counselors were trained on how to collect process, perception and results data on each lesson to measure both learning and changes in students’ behavior.