Social & Emotional Structure:Middle School Girls Group Intervention Prospect Hill Academy Somerville, Massachusetts <br />By: Kimberly J. Snodgrass <br />
Site: Prospect Hill Academy (PHA)<br />K-12 public charter school, 3 campuses in Boston, MA<br />Mission: “Prospect Hill Academy Charter School will prepare each student for success in college, inspire a lifelong love of learning, and foster responsible citizenship.”<br />Serves ~920 students, over 30 MA cities and towns. The Middle School (chosen site) serves approximately 290 students in grades five through eight<br />Demographics: <br />49% Black<br />25% Latino<br />16% Caucasian<br /> 5% Asian <br />5% Other<br />
Identified Need<br />The researcher and Ms. Powers observed that the girls were collectively in need of positive role models and support services to influence positive behavior and citizenship. <br />Observed behaviors have included: <br />Acting out in class<br />Saying mean statements to their female peers (e.g., “you are fat” or “you are ugly”)<br />Bullying/Teasing<br />These behaviors have not been observed frequently, but have manifested enough to cause concern for redirection. <br />After discussing the need for mentorship, structure, and innovation for these young girls, the proposal is to create: A girls group on campus, during Out-of-School-Time (OST) <br />
Literature Review <br />Problem: Hargreaves (2002) argues that young female adolescents are at a high risk for having low self-esteem, poor body image, and poor self-efficacy as they make their transition in and out of middle school. <br />Background: Group counseling is intended to mitigate these issues in young girls and has been proven to be effective, in general (Sanders, 2007). <br />Strategy: Ferguson (2007) suggests the collaboration between school staff and parents provides students with multiple protective factors (i.e. parent involvement, tutoring, counseling, mentoring, peer social groups, and more), which predicts academic success.<br />Consider the Social and Emotional Learning framework to achieve positive youth development in a school-based program (O’Brien & Weissberg, 2004). The SEL framework integrates the needs of both the children and the school by focusing on the school’s mission inside preventative programs that focus on morals, well-being, family life, self-control, problem solving, coping, and character. <br />
Programs Active and Available Today<br />Girl 2 Girl (G2G) Program 4 At-Risk Middle School Girls, located in San Francisco, CA. <br />Peer Elegance, located in Kensington, MD at Newport Mill Middle School. <br />Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) partners middle school girls with undergraduate University of Virginia students as “sisters”<br />
Intervention: Girls Group<br />Participants: 7-10 female students, 5th through 8th grade. <br />Mission:“To empower and encourage young teens to be critical and thoughtful thinkers, and to act as peer leaders in their daily lives.”<br />Vision: Eight-week curriculum-based, 1.5 hour sessions and journal writing for the participants to enhance their critical thinking and literacy skills focused on social and emotional support strategies. <br />Process: Opening greeting with handshake and smile, group discussion of topic, interactive activity, and closing writing component for each session. Note: The writing component is choice-based for individual flexibility. <br />
Weekly Session Topics<br />Introductions of Group, Self-Esteem Discussion<br />Handling Emotions: Stress, Bullying, Teasing, and Anger <br />Peer Pressures and Where I Fit in School<br />Relationships with Parents<br />How to be a Good Friend<br />Being Yourself, and Knowing your Values<br />Treating Others with Respect <br />Celebration of Accomplishments: How to Stay Positive Even When You May See Negative. <br />Format: 1.5 hours per session, for 8 weeks<br />
Implications and Reflection <br />Implication: Time and Evaluation: The researcher suggests there to be follow-up interviews of the incoming class’ participants of next year to really assess their identified need at PHA (i.e. bullying, or including males into this group).<br />Since the researcher only has information from the beginning of 2010, it was difficult to make generalizations within the school climate and student body. However, Ms. Powers’ rapport and length with the students provided the missing links for the majority of this intervention’s proposed ideas. <br />This project was influenced by Laura Powers and Tawanna Watts, both of which made this project exciting and able to move forward for PHA’s Middle School.<br />
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