Foundation for CSCP
This part gives the basis for Comprehensive School Counseling Program (CSCP) for the Elizabeth Public Schools (EPS) district. The specific elements addressed include the program’s beliefs, vision, and mission. They are all aligned with the district’s priorities.
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- Every student, irrespective of his/her demographic characteristics, shall receive counseling services to assist him/her succeed in the academic, career, and personal domains.
- The school CSCP shall be adapted to the diverse abilities and developmental levels of the students determined via a needs assessment.
- The counselor’s role shall include advocacy for students of diverse racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.
- The analysis and interpretation of achievement data in the CSCP shall inform evidence-based interventions to address each student’s needs.
- Appropriate steps shall be taken to preserve the privacy of student information as per the ASCA Ethical Guidelines.
The school CSCP intends to build a culture of academic excellence that will prepare each student for the local, national, and global workplace.
The school CSCP gives excellent learning experiences and opportunities to facilitate personal, social, educational, and lifelong career success for all students.
Finding a School Data Profile or Equivalent Document
The procedure for accessing school report cards for the Abraham Lincoln School in Union County, New Jersey, involves three steps. First, visit the State of New Jersey’s Department of Education website at https://rc.doe.state.nj.us/SearchForSchool.aspx. The site displays search criteria that include four fields – school year, county, district, and school. Second, enter the required data, which in our case were 2016-2017 (year), Union County, Elizabeth Public School District, and Abraham Lincoln School. This action opens a new window displaying specific data for the school. The third step is to filter the information by grade and subject, which, in our case, are Grade 4 and Mathematics Assessment. The output includes the school’s data profile, i.e., valid scores and the mean scale score of the school, district, and state for students of different demographic categories.
Designing and Maintaining CSCPs
A strengths-based approach to school counseling seeks to support student strengths and abilities as opposed to concentrating on the problem (Zyromski & Mariani, 2016). The focus is on improving the learner’s development assets in the academic, career, and social domains. According to the NJ School Performance Report [NSPR] (2017), Abraham Lincoln School’s enrollment in Grade 4 in 2016-17 dropped by 10 and more minority students (77.5% Hispanics) were enrolled than Whites. Concerning academic achievement, the report shows that 44.3%, 41.7%, and 54.9% of testers met/exceeded the school, EPS district, and state expectations, respectively, in the same period (NSPR, 2017). In addition, 79% of the students were identified as economically disadvantaged, while the percentage of chronically absent children was 11.9% (NSPR, 2017).
A best practice for designing the CSCP program for Grade 4 is identifying each student’s “strengths, interests, and self-reflection” through a story-based needs assessment (Wilkerson, Perusse, & Hughes, 2013, p. 176). Subsequently, fully integrated teaching and learning activities will help build individual abilities and aptitudes to improve outcomes and bridge achievement or equity gaps in Grade 4. Reflective practice will also enable instructors to create strengths-enhancing environments for all students to voice personal views and thoughts. Given the school’s multiethnic population, providing opportunities for ethnic identity and ideological development can be considered a best practice. The program will value and respect interests and cultures of all children and recognize multilingualism, special needs, and talented students. The counselor will advocate for developmentally appropriate practices that ensure inclusion.
Schoolwide Program Plan
The Abraham Lincoln School report card shows equity gaps related to gender and race. The percentage of females who met expectations in the English Language Arts/Literacy Assessment test was lower than that of males (33% vs. 36%) (NSPR, 2017). Thus, there was a 3% equity gap between boys and girls in 2016-2017. In the Mathematics Assessment, 42% of male and 56% of females met expectations (NSPR, 2017). The equity gap in math was 14%. Inequity is also evident in the percentage students meeting target scores. Only 44% of economically disadvantaged children achieved the expected scores compared to 63% of students from privileged households, revealing a 19% equity gap (NSPR, 2017).
Based on the analysis, three data-driven school improvement goals are identified. They include:
- Increase the average score in Literacy Assessment for female students from 33% to 36% and performance in Mathematics Assessment for male children from 42% to 56% by 2019.
- Improve the number of college and career ready learners from both privileged and disadvantaged backgrounds from 58% to 65% by 2019.
- Increase the percentage of students displaying proficiency in the character qualities of citizenship, kindness, and self-direction to 42% by 2019.
Student Needs and Goal of the Program
A needs assessment may reveal that the main barrier to success is low socioeconomic status. This outcome would imply that a majority of the educators and students perceive poverty as the leading cause of the equity gap between privileged and disadvantaged children. In Abraham Lincoln School, 79% of the learners in 2016-2017 were from poor households (NSPR, 2017). This finding is connected to the equity gap determined in the school’s report card. The other barrier may be an unsafe school environment for female students. A needs assessment may reveal that girls in fourth grade perceive bullying, harassment, fights, and rumors as some of the leading problems they face in school. As Hatch (2013) writes, perception data help uncover the respondents’ attitudes, beliefs, skills, etc. The identified specific needs of the fourth graders include unsafe learning environment and poverty. This program will focus on addressing barriers to success to improve student achievement (Zyromski & Mariani, 2016). The selected goal of the CSCP is to increase Literacy Assessment and Mathematics Assessment scores for all students and meet the state target of 51% by 2019.
Intervention Delivered via the School Counseling Core Curriculum
The section describes a time management intervention for the Abraham Lincoln School. The intention is to assist students to manage their study time efficiently for improved academic outcomes in literacy and math. The appropriate grade levels for this intervention are 4 to 8. The lesson topic is time management strategies. The program integrates mindsets and behaviors, i.e., “knowledge, skills, and attitudes” necessary for learners to attain “academic success, college or career readiness, and social/emotional development” into the math curriculum (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2016, p. 3). The focus areas include study time, goal planning, extra-curricular activities, chores, etc. The duration of the intervention is 45 minutes.
The delivery of this lesson will involve class discussions. Students will be organized into groups based on shared interests and capabilities to accommodate learners of differing ability levels. Each team will consider the amount of time spent sleeping, eating, playing, learning, and moving between school and home. The students will be required to prioritize these activities and give their input on appropriate weekly schedules or plans. They will also discuss programs that cause anxiety. Towards the end of the lesson, each student will complete a time management worksheet.
The goal selected for the evidence-based intervention is increasing the number of students meeting Literacy Assessment and Mathematics Assessment expectations to 51% by 2019. The reason for choosing this primary target is to address the equity gaps in Abraham Lincoln School related to the unsafe school environment and disadvantaged students. From the school’s report card, the percentages of females and underprivileged students meeting expectations are low, at 33% and 44%, respectively (NSPR, 2017). This goal prioritizes populations of inequity to improve school-wide outcomes.
The proposed evidence-based intervention is called ‘improving literacy and math scores in grade 4’. The selection of this program was informed by student equity gaps identified in the report card, i.e., a disparity of 3% and 19% in the number of female and disadvantaged students who met expectations, respectively (NSPR, 2017). The data used were the 2016-17 Literacy Assessment scores for grade 4. The intervention targets include addressing the equity gaps and increasing the number of students meeting expectations to 51% by 2019.
The student-identified needs include unsafe school environment and poverty. The program will address these issues through classroom lessons on personal safety, crisis management, and coping skills. Further, teachers and students will receive materials on these topics to address barriers to academic success and ensure a more holistic education. The program will also include advocacy for equitable opportunities for all students irrespective of gender or socioeconomic background to “develop positive feelings about each student’s unique abilities” (Zyromski & Mariani, 2016, p. 49). The outcomes of the intervention will be evaluated based on achievement data for 2018-19. Additionally, self-reported learning outcomes will also be used as indicators of academic improvement. The intervention results will be shared with different stakeholders.
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American School Counselor Association [ASCA]. (2016). ASCA national model implementation guide: Foundation, management and accountability (1st ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCA.
Hatch, T. (2013). The use of data in school counseling: Hatching results for students, programs, and the profession (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
NJ School Performance Report [NSPR]. (2017). Abraham Lincoln school number 14, 2016- 2017: Grade span KF-08. Web.
Wilkerson, K., Perusse, R., & Hughes, A. (2013). Comprehensive school counseling programs and student achievement outcomes: A comparative analysis of RAMP versus non-RAMP schools. Professional School Counseling, 16(3), 172-184. Web.
Zyromski, B., & Mariani, M. A. (2016). Facilitating evidence-based, data-driven school counseling: A manual for practice (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.