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Middle School Counseling

Comprehensive Plan for Grades 6-8


Jessica Perez
Madison Thomsen

Mission of the Counseling Program


The mission of the counseling program is to provide the resources needed for all
students to meet their goals. We rely on data from students, staff, and parents to create
quality programs relating to developing needed academic skills, college and career
exploration, and methods of coping with personal/social situations. We collaborate
with faculty, administration, and parents to help students prepare for high school and
beyond.

Goals of the Counseling Program

All 6th grade students will know the different options available for continuing
their education after high school.
The majority (75%) of 6th grade students will be involved in a club or other
school-based activity.
All 7th and 8th grade students will be able to research future careers and will have
the skills for preparing for job interviews.
All students will have the skills to make friends, resolve conflicts, and reduce
bullying on campus.

LCAP Priorities

Parental Involvement

Pupil Engagement

Efforts for receiving input from parents on making decisions in the school district and the local
school site
Measured using school attendance rates, chronic absenteeism rates, and middle school dropout
rates

School Climate

Measured using data on pupil suspension and expulsion rates, as well as surveys of parents,
students, and teachers on sense of safety and school connectedness

Types of Needs Assessments

Parental Involvement

What type of parent education classes are parents interested in?


What is the best time/day of the week for programming with parents?
How do parents want to receive communication from the counseling department
(email/snail mail)?

CA School Parent Survey (http://csps.wested.org)

Pupil Engagement

Meet with students who are chronically absent/tardy and find out how the school can
help them

School Climate

CA School Climate Survey (For Staff, Administration; http://cscs.wested.org)


CA Healthy Kids Survey (For students; http://chks.wested.org)

Parent/teacher survey on the sense of safety and school connectedness

Types of Data to Disaggregate

Parental Involvement

Pupil Engagement

How many parents have accounts for Parent Portal/Online database


CA School Parent Survey Results
Attendance rates, SARB data
Middle School dropout rates

School Climate

Suspension/Expulsion Rates
CA School Climate Survey Results
CA Healthy Kids Survey Results
PBIS Data on discipline, behavior problems
Parent/teacher survey on the sense of safety and school connectedness

Services for 6th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Welcome to Middle School!


ASCA Standards: Academic C1:3, C2:A:3, C2:A:10, C2:B:1, C2:B:9, C2:B:10

Given in September to all 6th grade students during PE


Whos the Counselor & What They Do
Study Skills
Information on clubs and activities/how to get involved at school
Explain PBIS program, expectations, rewards

Evaluation Measures: Pre/Post Test, PBIS Data, GPA, Amount of students


involved in a club/activity

Services for 6th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Personal/Social Guidance Lesson


ASCA Standards: Personal Social C2:B:1, C2:B:7, C2:C:2, C2:C:9

Given in January to all 6th grade students during PE


Making New Friends
Social Skills
Self-awareness
Recognizing bullying
Coping with stress

Evaluation Measures: Pre/Post Test, PBIS data

Services for 6th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

College Exploration
ASCA Standards: Career C1:4, C2:A:4, C2:A:5, C2:B:4, C2:C:1

Given to all 6th graders in March during English class


Learn about different types of post-secondary education
Community College, UC, CSU, private 4 year, Vocational/Trade School
Certificate Programs, Associates Degree, Bachelors Degree
Talk about difference in income over time for those with just a high school degree vs.
those who have some sort of post-high school training and education
Explore local college websites
Go on field trip to a local college/university

Evaluation Measure: Pre/Post Test

Services for 6th Grade Students


For Some Students: Group Counseling

Based on recommendation from teachers, counselors, and parents


Topics will be based on areas of need

Ex: Group for students who are struggling to adjust to middle school, social skills

For Some Students: Individual Counseling

For students who need more one on one assistance


All students can see the counselor as a drop-in service for academic and personal
concerns

Services for 7th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Setting SMART Goals


ASCA Standards: Academic C2:A:4, C2:A:7, C2:B:5, C2:C:6, C2:C:8

Given to all 7th grade students in October during PE


Importance of setting goals
What are SMART goals?
Set one academic goal for yourself during this trimester
Set one academic goal for yourself this year

Evaluation Measures: Pre/Post test, GPA

Services for 7th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Conflict Resolution
ASCA Standards: Personal/Social C1:3, C2:A:1, C2:A:9, C2:B:7, C2:C:5, C2:C:6

Given to all 7th Grade students in February during PE


Acting out conflict (Standing up)
Practice problem solving (stages of handling conflict)
Coping skills

Evaluation Measures: Pre/Post, Amount of Referrals to the counselor for conflict


resolution, PBIS data

Services for 7th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Career Lesson
ASCA Standards: Career C2:A:1, C2:A:5, C2:A:6, C2:C:3, C2:C:9

Given to all 7th grade students during May in English class


Dress for success/Job interview
Career day/career fair
Shadow/interview a professional working in a career student is interested
(presentation)

Evaluation Measure: Pre/Post test

Services for 7th Grade Students


For Some Students: Group Counseling

Based on recommendation from teachers, counselors, and parents


Topics will be based on areas of need

Ex: Group for students who have attendance problems, anger management, stress management

For Some Students: Individual Counseling

For students who need more one on one assistance


All students can see the counselor as a drop-in service for academic and personal
concerns

Services for 8th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Anti-bullying
ASCA Standards: Personal/Social C1:3, C2:A:1, C2:B:1, C2:C:5, C2:C:7

Given to all 8th grade students in October during PE


Responding to bullying (go over schools policy for bullying and what steps to take
when dealing with bullies)
Have students create a video for bullying awareness (bullying in
friendship/relationships)
Student ambassador
Leadership skills
How their actions represent the school

Evaluation Measures: Pre/Post test, PBIS data

Services for 8th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Career Lesson
ASCA Standards: Career C1:4, C2:A:5

Given during January and February to all 8th Grade students during English class
Career Inventory (Assess Yourself)
California Career Zone (Making Money Choices)

Evaluation Measure: Pre/Post test

Services for 8th Grade Students


For all students: Guidance Lessons

Transition to High School


ASCA Standards: Academic C2:A:1, C2:A:8, C2:B:10, C2:C:8

Given to all 8th Grade Students in April during PE


Information on High School Information nights at feeder high school(s)
Explaining Course Recommendations from teachers
Whats a Transcript?
How to calculate GPA

Evaluation Measure: Pre/Post test

Services for 8th Grade Students


For Some Students: Group Counseling

Based on recommendation from teachers, counselors, and parents


Topics will be based on areas of need

Ex: Group for students who have attendance problems, anger management, stress management

For Some Students: Individual Counseling

For students who need more one on one assistance


All students can see the counselor as a drop-in service for academic and personal
concerns

Foster Youth & Academics


Middle School

Maressa McDonald
Evelyn Truong

Foster Youth in CAs Public Schools (2009-2010)


43,140

K-12 students aged 5-17 enrolled (about 1 of every 150 students) in child

welfare supervised by foster care for some amount of time.


Foster youth represent less than 1% of general statewide student population
About 20% of the nations foster youth live in CA
Reasons for removal from family of origin:
neglect (78%)
physical abuse (11%)
sexual abuse (4%)
Barrat, V. X., & Berliner, B. (2013)

Foster Youth Enrollment in CA Public Schools (2009-2010)


CA School District Enrollment of Foster Youth (20092010)

Top 5 CA school districts


enrolling the most foster care
students:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Barrat, V. X., & Berliner, B. (2013)

LAUSD
Fresno USD
San Diego USD
Elk Grove USD (Sacramento)
Long Beach USD

Foster Youth in CA Public Schools (2009-2010)


Demographics
Race/Ethnicity Breakdown

Disability: Approx. 1 in 5 are qualified


with a disability

(State rate = 18%)


2x rate of statewide population

Hispanic = 43%
African American = 26%
White = 23%
Asian/Pacific Islander = 3%

Specific Learning Disability = 39%


Emotional Disturbance = 22%

Gender

Language: 13% designated as ELL


(State = 24%)

Male = 51%
Female = 49%
Barrat, V. X., & Berliner, B. (2013)

(State rate = 4%, 5x higher)


Trauma

GATE: 2% eligible for services


(State = 9%)

CA AB 490 (2003): Educational Rights & Stability for Foster Youth


* Every school district must appoint an educational liaison for foster youth

Educational Equity
Basis for Placement: LRE
School of origin: the child has the right to remain in her school of origin for the duration of the school
year. Transportation funding is an issue though!
Immediate enrollment: When a foster child changes schools, her new school must immediately
enroll her, even if she is missing things that are usually required for enrollment
Preference for mainstream school:
Timely transfer of records
The school the student is transferring to must request the students records from the old school
within 2 business days of the students enrollment. All required records shall be provided to the new
school regardless of any outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys owed to the
school last attended.
Protection for grades: A foster childs grades cannot be lowered due to absences caused by a
change in her placement or her attendance at a court hearing or court- ordered activity.
Partial credits: Schools must award all students credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily
completed at another public school, a juvenile court school, or a non- public, non-sectarian school.

General Findings : Foster Youth Achievement


Foster youth demonstrate higher rates of:
Absenteeism & tardiness
Disciplinary referrals
Significant below grade level performance
Higher rates of grade retention
Disproportionate rates of special education placement
(George, Van Voorhis, Grant, Casey, & Robinson, 1992; Leiter & Johnson, 1997; Parrish et al., 2001)

Perform significantly lower on standardized achievement tests in math & reading


Demonstrate greater frequency of behavioral problems: aggressive, demanding, immature,
attention-seeking behaviors to withdrawn, anxious, and over-compliant behaviors
(Eckenrode, Laird, Doris, 1993; Sawyer & Dubowitz, 1994)

Higher drop-out rates, lower high school graduation rates


(Shin, 2003)

Mobility = Risk Factor


CA children in foster care attend an average of 9 different schools by the age of 18
(Kelly, 2000)

Mobility affects learning:


Absenteeism: Missing key educational material
Transfer of school records are delayed/missing: how do we best serve child?
Special education evaluation & authorization for services disrupted
Relationships with teachers and peers : loss of continuity may affect student effort
(Zetlin & Weinberg, 2004; Zetlin, Weinberg, & Luderer, 2004)

Trauma = Risk Factor


Most foster youth suffer from trauma which places them at risk for developing
physical, emotional, or behavioral problems that impact learning (Christian, 2003)
Neurological & hormonal impairments: delays in behavior regulation, language
acquisition, motor skills development, basic academic skills (Anda et al., 2005)
Foster care experience further traumatizes: loss of important relationships (Bruskas, 2008)

Best Practices for Foster Youth Achievement


*Very little research of effective interventions for foster youth
Education of foster youth is often over-looked: vulnerable population! (Zetlin, Weinberg, Shea,
2006)

Recommendations & Implementation Strategies


(The California Education Collaborative for Children in Foster Care, 2008;
National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, 2014)

School stability: AB 490 implementation, coordinating systems, relationship-building


Ongoing Assessment
Interventions: MTSS, AVID, tutoring/out of school programs
Supports for students & teachers & parents
Trauma Informed Practices : holistic approach

School Stability

Help to create supportive relationships & a positive


educational experience for development of
resiliency
Require & support caregiver involvement in
education of foster youth
Promote regular school attendance
Appoint and support AB490 staff liaison, full
implementation of mandates--dont delay
enrollment, expedite school records, ensure no
service gaps (Tyre, 2012)
Determine who holds educational rights: court
order in student file
Hold regular case management meetings with
school staff and other agencies involved with child
to discuss childs progress
Develop good relationships with senior supervisory
child welfare staff

Assessment

What school-based services are in place/needed?

At risk for developing mental health


challenges & academic delays
30% of children ages 6 to 11 in the child
welfare system show a need for special
education services based on low scores
from cognitive/behavior measures (Webb et
al., 2007)

Some are inappropriately identified as


SPED due to lack of school services
available
Initial & ongoing needs assessment in
order to design & implement
appropriate interventions
Vaca (2007): Foster parents are
unprepared to negotiate services under
special education and Section 504

Supports for Teachers, Students &


Parents

Interventions

School implementation of RTI


evidence-based interventions
AVID program: middle schoolers
enrolled outperform their classmates
on standardized tests, higher
attendance, have more high school
credits (Watt, Powell, & Mendiola, 2004)
Tutoring & out of school/after school
programs: positive effects on student
achievement

Provide teachers information, training,


and support to meet the needs of foster
youth (Crosby, Day, Baroni, & Somers, 2015)
Teach youth how to advocate for services
Someone at the school level who is
monitoring foster youth progress for
appropriate services & enrollment in
appropriate classes (Zetlin, Weinberg, & Luderer, 2004;
Tyre, 2012)

Provide school mental health services that


are integrated into the classroom that
promote youth development & resiliency
Evaluate use of school discipline policies
with foster youth (e.g. Zero Tolerance
Policies)

Trauma Informed Child Welfare Practice: Elements


Maximize childs sense of safety
Assist child in reducing overwhelming emotions
Work to understand the whole person, not just the problems/concerns. Recognize importance of
building caring and supportive relationships.
Coordinate services with other agencies
Utilize comprehensive assessment of the childs experience and their impact on development &
behavior to guide services
Provide support and guidance to the childs family and caregivers, provide referrals for trauma
specific treatment & interventions

(Child Welfare Committee, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2008)

Counseling Program Specific Action Plan

School-wide guidance curriculum

Grade

Topic

Materials

Start/End

Impact

Class/
Location

Evaluation

Contact

6th

Academic
Strengths

Paper/
pencil

September

All 6th

Social
Studies

Believes they can do well in school


Can name 3 academic strengths
Knows what strengths they have

Teacher
/ SC

7th

Goal setting

Paper/
pencil

September

All 7th

E.L.A.

Believes planning can lead to achieving


goals
Can develop SMART goals and planning
steps
Knows what a SMART goal is

Teacher
/ SC

8th

Study skills and


self-management
strategies

OctoberDecember

All 8th

Math

Believes more time is needed for big


projects
Can budget time for long-term projects

Teacher
/ SC

Counseling Program Specific Action Plan

Group therapy for six sessions, ideally before middle school (Smith, Leve,
Chamberlain, 2011)

Student sessions address setting personal goals, relationships with adults and peers, decisionmaking, problem-solving, support system

Foster parent sessions address establishing and maintaining stability, preparing girls for the start of
middle school, preventing early adjustment problems

Decrease in internalizing and externalizing behaviors

References
Anda, R., Felitti, V., Bremmer, J., Walker, J., Whitfield, C., Perry, B., Dube, S., & Giles, W. (2005). The enduring effects of abuse and related
adverse experiences in childhood: A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry
and Clinical Neuroscience, 256(3), 174-186.
Barrat, V. X., & Berliner, B. (2013). The Invisible Achievement Gap, Part 1: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in Californias
Public Schools. San Francisco: West Ed.
Bruskas, D. (2008). Children in foster care: A vulnerable population at risk. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Nursing, 21(2), 70-77.
Child Welfare Committee, National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2008). Child welfare trauma training toolkit: Comprehensive guide
(2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.
Christian, S. (2003). Educating children in foster care. National Conference of State Legislatures-A Collaborative Project on Children and
Family Issues. Washington, D. C. : National Conference of State Legislatures.
Crosby, S. D., Day, A. G., Baroni, B. A., & Somers, C. L. (2015). School Staff Perspectives on the Challenges and Solutions to Working with
Court-Involved Students. Journal of School Health, 85(6), 347-354.
Eckenrode, J., Laird, M., & Doris, J. (1993). School performance and disciplinary problems among abused and neglected children.
Developmental Psychology, (29)1, 53-62.
George, R., Voorhis, J., Grant, S., Casey, K., & Robinson, M. (1992). Special education experiences of foster children: An empirical study. Child
Welfare, 71, 419-437.

References
Kelly, K. (2000). The education crisis for children in the California Juvenile Court System. Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 27,
757-773.
Leiter, J., & Johnson, M. C. (1997). Child maltreatment and school performance declines: An event history analysis. American Educational
Research Journal, 34(3), 563-589.
National Working Group on Foster Care and Education. (January 2014). Fostering success in education: National factsheet on the
educational outcomes of children in foster care [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from http://www.fc2success.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/05/National-Fact-Sheet-on-the-Educational-Outcomes-of-Children-in-Foster-Care-Jan-2014.pdf
Parrish, T., Dubois, J., Delano, C., Dixon, D., Webster, D., Berrick, J. D., et al. (2001, January 25). Education of foster group home children:
Whose responsibility is it? Study of the educational placement of children residing in group homes. Palo Alto, CA: American
Institutes for Research.
Sawyer, R. J., & Dubowitz, H. (1994). School performance of children in kinship care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 18, 587-597.
Shin, S. H. (2003). Building evidence to promote educational competence of youth in foster care. Child Welfare, 82(5), 615-632.
Smith, D. K., Leve, L. D., & Chamberlain, P. (2011). Preventing internalizing and externalizing problems in girls in foster care as they enter
middle school: Impact of an intervention. Prevention Science, 12(3), 269-277 269p.

References
The California Education Collaborative for Children in Foster Care. (2008). Ready to succeed: Changing systems to give Californias foster
children the opportunities they deserve to be ready for and succeed in school (full report). San Francisco: Center for the Future of
Teaching and Learning at WestEd.
Vacca, James S. (2006). Foster children need to learn how to read. Relational Child & Youth Care Practice, 19, 4.
Vacca, James S. (2007). No child left behind...except the foster child. Relational Child & Youth Care Practice, 20, 1.
Watt, K. M., Powell, C. A., & Mendiola, I. D. (2004). Implications of one comprehensive school reform model for secondary school students
underrepresented in higher education. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 9(3), 241-259.
Zetlin, A. G, & Weinberg, L. A. (2004). Understanding the plight of foster youth and improving their educational outcomes. Child Abuse &
Neglect, 28, 917-923.
Zetlin, A. G., Weinberg, L. A., & Luderer, J. (2004). Problems and solutions to improving education services for children in foster care.
Preventing School Failure, 45(1), 1-7.
Zetlin, A. G., Weinberg, L. A., & Shea, N. M. (2006). Improving educational prospects for youth in foster care: The education liaison model.
Intervention in School & Clinic, 41(5), 267-272.