One of the pillars of the Safer Schools in America initiative that is essential for improving the ability of the student to thrive in school is emotional and behavioral health. For students, a safe school must address emotional and behavioral health; this includes addressing the wellbeing of the student who is bullied, who has inadequate support at home, or whose family dynamic contributes to stress that prevents the student from being able to focus on studies. Studies have shown that students whose emotional and behavioral health are cared for have fewer physical problems, anxiety, and depression as adults. Emotional and behavioral health are also tied to achievement.
SAFE STEPS, a GG4L partner in emotional and behavioral health, is a virtual learning program for the “Essential Qualities” (EQ) which develop the skills necessary for effective communications and decision making.
Read their case study to discover how their program helped one student learn to overcome problems at home and thrive at school.
This program takes less than 20 minutes per week for EQ skills creation which is a supplement to the core curriculum taught by education today. SAFE STEPS is a year program learning new skills and creating new habits.
A family “Outside of School” program establishes a foundation which creates a balance between life and technology. Researchers have confirmed the formula for success combines logic (IQ) with executable skills (EQ). Knowledge alone limits the level of achievement in both personal and professional endeavors.
Daniella a high school sophomore had become isolated from her parents spending her after school hours in her bedroom with the door closed. Always the excellent student, homework and grades were never an issue, although the parents became keenly aware, she was spending increased time on social media. Conversations were becoming mainly one- or two-word responses displaying indifference and irritation frequently unless she was texting. Mom and Dad started seeing a great deal of pushback as she grew into her junior year as creativity and success in music was being demonstrated.
As time went along the chasm of limited discussion grew between Daniella and her parents as a result the levels of stress and anxiety intensified at home. The parents sought to find a way to encourage open communication and bring back the emotional confidence the family previously enjoyed in their lives. Depression was a concern of the parents for their daughter.
Daniella and her parents embraced the weekly SAFE STEPS lessons focused on the pillars of;
Service to Others
Each lesson was comprised of a 3-5-minute video message on a certain topic, this then is followed by a 4 question “Knowledge Check” (multiple check and T/F) requiring 75% correct answers to pass. Conversation questions are suggested for the parents to engage their student in a discussion on how each will put into practice the skills they just learned. This after lesson time became the practice of open communication which is constructive to relationship building.
Within 5 weeks the parents noticed that Daniella was instigating conversations on a regular basis, with a more positive tone and attitude. They believed a change was occurring within their family that is tangible and meaningful as daily challenges were less frustrating.
After 12 lessons (3 months) a follow-up with Daniella to gain her feedback on the effectiveness of the program, she had found a new level of confidence since learning the skills. Daniella stated “she now looks at her friends and peers from a new perspective, an improved understanding of how and what their reaction are in conflict” which she found fascinating.
Conversations within the family continued to expand throughout the year which helped them overcome the stress two life changing events that occur during her senior year. First, the father was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease contracted during his military service years.
Second, weeks later Daniella announced to her parents that she no longer wanted to suppress the feeling of being “Transgender” no longer wanting to be considered female. Dani (new name) and the parents immediately engaged psychotherapy which confirmed the reality of Transgender.
After months of therapy their physician was amazed Dani demonstrated no signs of depression, and the parents (Being devout Catholics) had open supportive conversations which reduced stress in the family. The therapist also commented that Dani was the only patient he had not prescribed antidepressant medication as a transgender. Both Dani and the parents gave credit to the EQ skills they learned for Self Esteem, Emotional Intelligence, and Problem Solving being able overcome these serious challenges.
Are you a school district interested in trying SAFE STEPS or other safe school solutions? The On-Demand Grant enables schools and districts around the world to ASSESS their progress against implementing best practices for school safety, DISCOVER validated EdTech solutions that can save them time and money and make them more effective and efficient, and APPLY for an in-kind grant that allows them to select any vendor’s solution in the Safer Schools catalog of curated EdTech solutions for the use of the school year. Any school or district can be a GG4L member at no cost and apply for the On-Demand Grant. Apply now.