Study Shows Students Significantly Improved Academic and Behavioral Performance Using Outreach Concern's Counseling Model

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LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Outreach Concern, a non-profit Southern California school-based counseling agency, today released results of its three-year Student Performance Accountability Study, revealing that 76 percent of students demonstrated a measurable increase in academic performance and 79 percent of students improved their behavior after working with counselors using the organization's Behavior Performance Management (BPM) model.

Started in 2009 to determine the effectiveness of the agency's counseling intervention program, the study examined how the BPM model was utilized over a three-year period among 2,767 students in 75 Southern California public and private elementary, middle and high schools who were referred to Outreach Concern for academic, behavioral and social/emotional issues negatively impacting their performance.

"Today's student brings an emotional backpack full of issues, experiences and expectations to the classroom that impact attitude, behavior and performance," said Dr. Rick Capaldi, co-founder of Outreach Concern who developed the BPM model. "It's the lack of performance that gives rise to feelings of inadequacy and negative personal identity core constructs not the other way around. Our intervention model empowers counselors to engage significant stakeholders in a student's life, including parents and teachers, redirecting a child's behavior toward successful outcomes using action plans linked to measurable results."

The study also found that 43 percent of students who improved academic performance during the 2009/2010 school year increased their grade point averages (GPAs) by at least one point or more. Additionally, 15 percent of students who improved academic performance during the 2010/2011 school year increased their GPAs by at least one point as well. The findings also showed that 72 percent of students surveyed during 2011 and 2012 who were referred for emotional issues, demonstrated an improvement in attitude toward self, school and other peer influences. The 2011/2012 study also revealed that 138 students improved attendance, increasing their productivity and reducing absenteeism.

BPM as a National Model

As recent incidents of school violence intensify the debate on gun control, including last December's tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., President Barack Obama and scores of elected officials including the National Association of School Psychologists have suggested mental health awareness as a solution for addressing the safety, security and emotional health of children across the nation.

"Violent behavior is only one aspect of a child's emotional continuum," added Dr. Capaldi. "Our intervention model incorporates counselors, teachers and parents in a partnership, as both observers and directors of a child emotional temperature, which includes, but is not limited to recognizing red flag-type behaviors, while providing the necessary tools to direct and increase academic, behavioral and social/emotional performance in students."

According to Dr. Capaldi, the BPM model recognizes that more than 90 percent of students referred for counseling in schools are non-voluntary, so traditional, more participative and nondirective counseling models are often less effective. The result is improved performance among students who showed a variety of academic, behavioral, social and emotional issues when the BPM model is incorporated into a school's counseling program.

"Mental health can no longer be a standalone issue in schools that teachers, administrators and parents shy away from," continued Dr. Capaldi. "The educational community's responsibility is to recognize and influence mental health development in students as an integral part of the educational process. This process begins in early childhood, from elementary education and must be an integral available service through high school."

About the Accountability Study

Since 2009, Outreach Concern has tracked the effectiveness of its BPM counseling intervention model. Results suggest the model has demonstrated significant success in supporting academic and behavioral performance with students who demonstrate a variety of academic, behavioral and social/emotional issues, and when incorporated, has the potential to positively impact student success. Data from the accountability studies were compiled from teacher reports, student report cards and student GPAs.

About Outreach Concern

Founded in 1994, Outreach Concern is a low-cost, non-profit school-based counseling agency that offers an array of intervention and support services to students and their families in private and public schools in Southern California. The agency has helped more than 500,000 students and their families deal with academic, behavioral, social and emotional issues that impact student performance, both in and outside the classroom. In addition to its results-driven counseling program, Outreach Concern provides schools with access to a highly comprehensive pupil personnel program that incorporates an emergency response team, a multi-county referral network, a 24-hour school safety crisis hotline and a variety of prevention programs that positively impact student performance.

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CONTACT: Media Contacts: PondelWilkinson George Medici | Ron Neal | (310) 279-5980

Source: Outreach Concern