Flexibility for 6th grade class 

Escuela Americana’s Community and Culture impact! 

“We just don’t know what to do anymore, how can we get these kids to respect each other?” asked an overwhelmed 6th grade teacher, as she explained how her students were treating each other using unkind actions and words. This school year, in many classrooms around the world we see students lacking many social emotional skills, and this has caused difficulty creating a positive environment teachers are used to having in their classrooms. In our school, located in the capital of El Salvador, San Salvador, Escuela Americana has seen these challenges and has used the best approach to help. 

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has become a key component for academic success in Escuela Americana since 2019 when it was added in the school’s strategic plan. At this time, Escuela Americana began working on its in-house SEL program, Community and Culture (CC). This program came at the perfect time, when Covid hit El Salvador, the school was designing this program and seeing all of the community's needs. The school had a plan to face the social emotional needs students were going to have when they returned. During the 2021-2022 school year the school began CC with faculty to increase their social emotional understanding and give them the best SEL tools so they can be ready for the hardships ahead. Teachers' high approval of the program and their new understanding of SEL gave the space to begin Community and Culture with all secondary students in the 2022-2023 school year. During this school year the 6th grade class showed a large need for this program. 

One of the reasons Community and Culture is a unique SEL program is because of its flexible and tailored curriculum. Coming into the school year the curriculum was set to help this 6th grade class increase growth mindset skills, emotional vocabulary, and other SEL tools. After receiving the feedback from 6th grade teachers, the program shifted and began to use lessons to increase respect and belonging. 6th grade students began their new SEL lessons with a full day of games and activities to practice and learn new skills on how to communicate and have fun using respectful actions and words. This activity was successful and was followed by small group SEL lessons led by their teachers, where they learned in an experiential manner how respect is given to others, and the marks we leave on people when we use unrespectful words and actions. Once students understood this concept we moved into self respect and how to effectively put boundaries. 

SEL lessons were shifted for an entire month and many of the students' understanding of these SEL tools gave many of them the opportunity to grow and change their behaviors. Students began to feel safe and respected by their peers and teachers appreciated the support and flexibility given by the Community and Culture program. 

Community and Culture at EA has had a dramatic impact on our faculty, staff and students over the past two years! Our adult community works on developing their own SEL skill sets as well as supports the student body with more knowledge, empathy and desire to help their students
grow emotionally. We are very proud of the hard work of our entire faculty and staff as well as our students and this year we have truly experienced the benefits of this amazing program. 

For more information about the Community and Culture Program please visit our website : https://www.amschool.edu.sv/community-culture