Searcy School District has spent the last few years placing great emphasis on social/emotional learning which is defined as” the process which children understand and manage emotions , set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. “We use the Capturing Kids Hearts program in grades K-8, and we have adopted a new program at Searcy High School for all ninth grade students called Tessera by ACT.
Searcy School District has served as a prototype for social/emotional learning in the state of Arkansas, and in fact, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education invited our very own Kim Sitzmann, SEL program head at SHS, to participate in a video explaining how we are implementing these programs across our district. According to Sitzmann, the program is geared toward helping positive thoughts and behaviors shine through even when negative feelings may be trying to hold students down. Sitzmann remarks, “I believe as educators, we have to be the first to truly believe in what we are teaching. When we are able to do that, it becomes a domino effect.” Some of the topics the Tessera curriculum includes are Grit, Teamwork, Resilience, Curiosity, and Leadership.
Along with the social/emotional learning, students are practicing ACT test-taking techniques and study skills. We offer this course to freshmen because we want to introduce them to high school in the most positive light. We know that change can be difficult, and the Tessera class allows for our ninth grade students to make a connection with a small group of students and a teacher who will be a constant throughout the school year.
For more information on our social/emotional learning curriculum, contact Searcy High School or access act.org. In closing, Searcy School District truly believes “Our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you.”—author unknown.