Friendswood and Houston News
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New FISD Initiative
Through an initiative started this school year, Friendswood ISD educators are aiming to help students develop as people who can manage emotions, set goals and make good decisions.
“For so long school we were so focused on academics, but now we’ve turned toward trying to make more of an impact in kids' lives and targeting the whole child, which includes their emotional needs,” said Diane Myers, who serves as the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary curriculum and instruction.District officials joined with parents and community residents last spring to form a committee aiming to look beyond a traditional, academics-only approach. That effort led to a focus on addressing students’ social and emotional needs. Although the district’s campuses each have their own programs, Myers said SEL activities’ themes first revolve around get-to-know-you activities where kids share their favorite family traditions or best-loved movies. Activities then focus on developing social-emotional learning competencies, including self-discipline, time management, good decision-making, self-awareness, relationship skills and social awareness. Recently, students at Friendswood Junior High met in one of their 20-minute, twice-weekly, small-group SEL sessions called Mustang Impact. In these groups, students participate with kids who aren't in many of their classes, in an effort to get students to know people who may not be in their immediate orbit. As part of the SEL initiative, teachers received training about how to foster an emotionally healthy environment for their students including a “culture of kindness”.