Habitudes: What’s The Point?

Homeroom at Kennedy has switched from being time to do homework to having structured lessons. Starting at the end of the 21-22 school year social emotional learning, taught during homeroom, has become a requirement for all high school students.

CRCSD gets lesson plans from a youth leadership program called Habitudes. Lessons strive to create leadership habits in teenagers to help them after high school. 

Jessica Luna, the Culture and Climate Transformation Director for the school district, has taken control of the implementation of Habitudes. She is concerned about how the lessons are affecting our students and if Habitudes is the right plan for the district. 

“Oftentimes in education we make the mistake of giving people tools and assuming they know what to do with them,” said Luna. 

Concerns over certain topics being taught have been brought up to district employees. School teachers have also voiced concerns about their comfortability from lack of training in teaching the topics. 

“Maybe if us teachers were given more information on the desired effect of the lessons, maybe we would be able to facilitate the lessons better,” said Kennedy science teacher Nick Hayes.

A recent lesson includes a stop-motion video depicting many characters doing actions like putting their hand on a burning stove, throwing a stroller down a hill and jumping off a building. The lesson was supposed to be on impulsive actions and how to avoid them but this video came off comical and in many classrooms students were distracted rather than engaged.  

Habitudes lessons include a slideshow to follow along with multiple videos. Students and teachers have concerns about the lessons Habitudes are teaching.

“The lessons drag out for so long and never get to the point,” said junior Erica Mitchell. “If you want to teach high school about these topics then have a discussion with them.” 

Habitudes strive to make a lasting impact on students’ lives. But if students can’t understand the point of the lessons, is it helping us?

“I think we could go through this process and find out that Habitudes is what we need,” said Luna. “But, we also might find that there is something else out there that is better or more impactful.”

Luna plans to go through all the lesson plans and collect data to see if Habitudes is making an impact on students.

The requirement of social emotional learning is new in schools. It is often debated if students actually need the training. 

“I see it as a need, yes. Life is really hard and if we don’t have a sense of where we belong or if we don’t feel included it really affects us,” said Luna. “It’s really valuable for everyone to have a strong ability and social emotional learning to be able to identify when you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that.” 

Social emotional training is supposed to help with creating life skills and aiding students in their later lives. Having a plan that works for students can help us navigate through challenges we may face in the future. 

Habitudes doesn’t build the needed connections with students. It is uncertain whether the district will continue to use the current lessons or switch to a new curriculum that could benefit students more. 

“It’s important to me to take a look in the classroom during homeroom and then we can determine what is out there and what is most beneficial,” said Luna.