Nearly 1,000 6th grade students from each elementary school in the Westside Union School District (WUSD) participated in a 6th Grade Master Leader field trip.
Every 4th, 5th and 6th grade student in WUSD receive All It Takes curriculum that experientially teaches emotional intelligence skills through their physical education classes. Year three (6th grade) students participate in a field trip that further up-levels their SEL skill set and solidifies their responsibility to leave a positive lasting legacy at their school as a committed Master Leader.
The Master Leader field trip is an epic adventure of workshops, team building activities, and a high ropes course that further develops their skills in cooperation, support, acceptance, accountability and more. Every element of the day students are challenged to go two steps beyond what they believe they can do, whether that be climbing up the ladder at the start of the ropes course, going up to the highest point, backing off so someone else can lead, or making a powerful apology to one who deserves it. AIT’s ‘two steps’ further is a simple guideline for going the distance to accomplish that which is challenging but not impossible. Creating results that build extraordinary relationships, develop healthy self esteem and prove their potential is much larger than they previously believed.
A highlight for many school staff is our apology workshop where we teach students the importance of moving on from smaller mistakes and how to apologize meaningfully for the bigger ones. This workshop teaches what a meaningful apology sounds like, feels like, and creates, while fostering forgiveness of both self and others. Without prompting, students apologize to other students and their teachers in real time and then share that they feel, ‘relieved,’ ‘free,’ and ‘happy’ afterwards.
A major part of each Master Leader day is our closing small group process where students share about what they experienced and learned followed by making commitments for creating positive change back at school.
Following are a few excerpts from student commitment cards written at the end of their day:
“I NOTICE at my school that people think the aides are mean but they do not realize that the aides treat us like that because some students do not treat them with respect. I CHOOSE to respect the aides and my ACTIONS to do that will be to talk to some of the students about how they treat the aides and to apologize to the aides.”
“I NOTICE at my school there is trash all over our campus and it makes me feel disappointed. I CHOOSE to have a clean school which would make me feel respect. To create a clean school my ACTIONS will be to pick up trash when I see it and ask my friends to do the same.”
“I NOTICED that students are bullying others. When I see this I feel sad, mad, and disappointed. Instead I CHOOSE to feel happy, supported, and respected by going to a school where students are kind and respect others. To create a kind school my ACTION will be to give a compliment to someone new every day.”
This Rancho Vista Elementary School student sums up overall student feedback:
It has been absolutely amazing to work with these incredible students and witness them embrace their most powerful, unique, intelligent, and kind selves. Thank you WUSD for sharing their bright and powerful students with us, they are fortunate to be a part of your school communities.
If you would like to learn more about this program or how to get AIT’s tools at your school, contact us at AIT@allittakes.org