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High School Empowers Teens With More Than Academics

High School students gathered this week for their third Circle of the year, a social emotional education program consisting of small-group conversations led by faculty and staff. Circles help students develop meaningful connections with a trusted adult as they discuss topics that are relevant to their daily lives. This year, Circles have been focusing on understanding and managing stress. Students examine the effects of stress on their bodies and identify the stress factors in their lives. They work with tools that help them anticipate and improve responses to stress. 

Our faculty and staff are trained to facilitate sessions and cultivate genuine connections with students. Progress is measured through student surveys that track how well students adjust moods, stay in control and calm when they feel pressure, have a meaningful relationship with at least one adult on campus, and bring their authentic selves to school. 

Dean of Students Ben Thompson-Echevarria, who leads the program, explained, "We know in 2022 that students need more than academic skills to be able to thrive and to pursue their passions. Our Circles program has helped to equip students with many of the social emotional skills (e.g.​,​ the ability to manage stress, make more independent choices, or care for themselves) that will serve them for a lifetime​,​ and, that too often​,​ schools ignore. Perhaps most importantly, it has been beautiful to see our students build those skills in a very Scheck Hillel way, by engaging in deep and meaningful conversations that build connections with caring adults and with one another."