The purpose of this project has been to outline a system of specific guidelines for implementing intervention strategies for students deemed as having a high risk of dropping out of school. The intervention strategy designed is to be carried out by a Student Success Team (SST) made up of the persons most able to influence students’ ability and willingness to engage in and master their studies. The project details the roles of these parents, caregivers, teachers, and counselors, and provides detailed steps in preparing and completing an action plan aimed at placing academically straying students back on track.The plan is based on the theory of many researchers, teachers, and educational administrators who have found counseling to be the most effective method of reducing the likelihood of students to drop out of school (Beesley, 2004; Volpe, 1998). This places counselors in a very important role, and the student success team’s COST plan directly applies this knowledge in facilitating and enhancing the counseling roles of teachers, parents, and administrators alike. Using such methods and competencies as set forth by the American Association for Counseling and Development and the American School Counselors Association, this project developed a systematic plan that details the responsibilities of all parties at every step of the intervention process.
The intervention begins with the request for support from the Student Success Team, and facilitates requests made from any and all adult persons who have the ability to pinpoint evidence of instability in a student’s life, academic or otherwise. Confidentiality is at the forefront of this intervention, as it involves the research and use of delicate personal information about the particular students. Confidentiality is also necessary because the intervention plan requires personal contact with the student by some or all the professionals involved in each student’s case. This step leads to the meeting of the Coordination of Services Team (COST).
The manual gives detailed instructions on how to conduct this meeting, beginning with the proper identification of the student, the presentation of relevant data concerning the perceived problems of the student, and the proper recording of the data revealed during the meeting. Next comes the step in which the student is referred for a comprehensive SST meeting, in which parents, caregivers, teachers, administrators, counselors, and the student discuss matters pertaining to the recovery of that student. The project details how all these parties must be properly notified and brought together in order to facilitate the best possible effect of the meeting.The next step is the SST meeting itself, and this project demonstrates how materials should be provided and made accessible to all parties involved. It also demonstrates how discussions are to take place and the proper methods of treating and counseling the students, parents, and all other parties directly connected with the student. Pertinent documents being provided to teachers facilitate the crucial follow-up meetings (SFUSD, 2001), for which the manual also provides a detailed guide.As the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ends upon the completion of high school, many of the programs that support learning disabled students also end upon graduation (ExpectMore, 2005). Because of this, more support is usually needed at the tertiary level for student who struggle with academics.
EvaluationThe effectiveness of this project may be evaluated through such methods as administering to students questionnaires that query their views on such topics as the availability of help and counseling at the school. The questionnaire should also address how the students feel about their ability to cope with the academic and social rigors of the school environment and how this compares to their abilities to cope before the intervention strategy.Other possible methods of evaluation include follow-up interviews with parents and caregivers requesting information on how the strategies learned during the SST meetings empowered them to better help the students in question. Further measures of the SST’s effectiveness are teacher evaluations of the students’ performance after the intervention in comparison with performance before the intervention. Such measures of performance will include student interest level, class participation, project and assignment completion, class grades, as well as standardized test scores.
Other important measures will include attendance records as well as the drop out rates within the class. These methods will aid in ascertaining whether the goals of the program have been accomplished (Householder & Boser, 1991). RecommendationsOne of the foremost recommendations for extension of this project would be an actual implementation of the plans and methods outlined in the project’s introduction (Chapter 4). A pilot study would serve to work out feasibility of the methods assumed by the project and will highlight any necessary amendments that could make the project a more effective tool for improving students’ chances of finishing school.
The information gained from the various evaluation strategies might also be assessed and included in any future revisions of the project as a means of widening its overall breadth, scope, and effectiveness.Certain early childhood interventions that involve the students as well as the parents, much in the SST fashion, could be implemented. Students will be monitored at that level, and those who seem to struggle singled out and their parents contacted.
Parents could be trained to facilitate their children’s education—especially in methods that increase students’ contact with literacy/numeracy materials, showing the parents good strategies for integrating learning with daily life. These programs can then be continued throughout the first twelve years of these children’s academic life.