For the past three years, Eugene Field has been working on the advancement of student social and emotional skills. The school has created an environment where students can feel comfortable expressing and addressing the way they feel.
In these first few years, the school has adopted a mood meter and RULER. These two things help students identify their emotions and how to deal with them. They are posted and practiced in every classroom.
The mood meter is divided into colors and levels. Green indicates happy, yellow is happy, blue is sad or sleepy, and red suggests mad or upset. The higher up the meter a person is showing indicates stronger feelings toward that mood.
RULER is a technique used to identify and deal with those emotions. Ruler stands for; recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate.
"If we can teach a student to recognize what I'm feeling, understand that I have choices, label that emotion with vocabulary, express it appropriately, then we can teach that kid to regulate what's next," said Principal Angela Graham-Callahan.
This year the focus has been on Meta Moments and taking a pause.
"We are trying to teach our students to find that pause. I believe that we can save lives if we can teach them to pause and think," said Angie. "When you sense something, I need you to pause. I need you to consider what you're thinking about, then let's come up with a plan".
The school is allowing students to stop and seek the help they need to make the right decisions. The students are encouraged to find that person they feel comfortable speaking with. To promote this, Eugene Field provides a multitude of services, including a social services hallway and services from Daysprings Counseling Services.
"We are doing what we need to do so that our students are college and career ready," said Angie. "A piece of that is developing social and emotional skills in our children."
Research shows that students who graduate with higher capacity social-emotional skills land better jobs, do better in college, and function better in society.
Assistant Principal Tammy Shelton has been at Eugene Field for two years and can feel the school's support for students.
"It feels different in the building. There is an acknowledgment and respect for students and their wellbeing," said Tammy. "We don't handle things in a punitive way. Our goal is not to punish. It's to restore the friendship that was broken when conflict arose."
The school is focused on providing students with a quality education and embedding social-emotional skills into that education. They didn't want to make it a curriculum or self-contained skill, because it is involved in every facet of a child's day.
"We are hoping to move to the blueprint, which is where we will begin to work on empathy with students. How did your actions make the other person feel?" said Angela.
Eugene Field is very proud of the progress they have seen in the students and is excited about what the future holds.