Title

Begin your success: An intervention weaving school counseling and fitness

First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Second Presenter's Institution

Bulloch County School District

Third Presenter's Institution

Statesboro High School

Fourth Presenter's Institution

Statesboro High School

Fifth Presenter's Institution

Statesboro High School

Location

Session 1 (Sloane)

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

This proposal relates closely with the “Health”: Mental and Physical Health strand. Incoming high school freshmen with prior minor behavior and truancy issues, students transferring from an alternative school to traditional high school setting, and students with multiple in-school and out-of-school suspension were identified to participate in this intervention.

Brief Program Description

The presenters will share information on how a high school counseling program worked with a local CrossFit program to improve student behavioral choices, self-concept, attendance, grades, and their sense of belonging and community. The intended audience is school counselors, principals, and activity directors.

Summary

Students with prior minor behavior and truancy issues are at risk of not completing their four years in high school. A rural high school with 1,700 students developed the Begin Your Success program to help these students increase student engagement – “the quality of a student’s connection or involvement with the endeavor of schooling and hence with the people, activities, goals, values, and place that compose it” (Skinner, Kindermann, and Furrer, 2009, 494). The school counselors used the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework. The counseling sessions were conducted in group settings by facilitators from the school counselor team. During the sessions, the participants were asked to identify their own problem behaviors (self-awareness). Through discussions, the participants addressed why he/she has this behavior and what triggers such behaviors. Next, individuals were asked to identify a replacement behavior (self-management) and then developed an action plan for employing the positive replacement behaviors with fidelity. The participants were encouraged to discuss personal feelings, experiences, and expectations with their peers (social awareness and relationship skills). The counselors assisted all the participants with the development of goals and plans for the participants to stick to their replacement behaviors (responsible decision making). At the conclusion of the four weeks, the participants were invited to participate in a six-week functional fitness program. The fitness program was valuable because it enabled participants to engage in ongoing learning opportunities as they were able to apply the acquired SEL skills to a real-life controlled setting. According to Yang and Bear (2018), researchers have found positive outcomes when students can apply social and emotional learning (SEL) skills repetitively and in diverse settings. The functional fitness setting allowed the target group to gain access to an activity that is traditionally inaccessible. Although the functional fitness setting is a niche sport, our goal was to reduce the number of barriers that participants would experience so they could experience a new activity to support the desired behavioral outcome. Additionally, Yang and Bear (2018) highlighted supportive classrooms and school-wide climate can foster positive relationships with teachers and peers.

Evidence

The first year of the Begin Your Success Program impacted 40 students. The program was successful in improving the number of 9th grade office referrals. There was an overall improvement and increased engagement with the students who participated in the functional fitness program on a regular basis. Teachers of students who attended the functional fitness program reported that students were more engaged in class, participated in class, and helped peers. Participants of the program indicated looking forward to attending school and interacting with teachers and administrators.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Christina Gipson is an assistant professor of sport management. Her research area focuses on offering CrossFit to students at risk. She runs a 501(c)(3) and has co-run one year of a CrossFit program for high school students and three years of CrossFit programs for middle school youth placed at risk, three summers of camps open to the public and governmental youth organizations, and one fitness program for the local alternative school.

Dr. Alissa Sasser is a Director of School Improvement for the Bulloch County School District and former Assistant Principal at Statesboro High School.

Mrs. LaQuanda Love is a high school counselor at Statesboro High School. Her main focus is on students who are juniors. Mrs. Love is passionate about helping students successfully complete high school.

Mrs. Krista Edwards is a high school counselor at Statesboro High School. She mainly works with sophomores. She is able to connect with students through her patience and positive outlook on their future aspirations.

Mrs. Cynthia Dean has been a high school teacher for twenty-one years. She has assisted with running one year of a CrossFit program for youth placed at risk in the high school setting. She has an interest in exposing students to opportunities in which they have never had. She has done this through the development of forensic science courses and marine science program.

Dr. Michael Moore is an emeritus professor of literacy education at Georgia Southern University. Along with Dr. Christina Gipson he also runs a 501(c)(3) and has co-run one year of a CrossFit program for high school students and three years of CrossFit programs for middle school youth placed at risk, three summers of camps open to the public and governmental youth organizations, and one fitness program for the local alternative school. Both Dr. Gipson and Dr. Moore are Level I CrossFit Trainers.

Keyword Descriptors

counseling and fitness, functional fitness intervention, CASEL framework

Presentation Year

2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 10:30 AM

End Date

3-9-2020 11:45 AM

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Mar 9th, 10:30 AM Mar 9th, 11:45 AM

Begin your success: An intervention weaving school counseling and fitness

Session 1 (Sloane)

The presenters will share information on how a high school counseling program worked with a local CrossFit program to improve student behavioral choices, self-concept, attendance, grades, and their sense of belonging and community. The intended audience is school counselors, principals, and activity directors.