DODEA grant helps train EPISD Student Ambassadors
(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- Sept. 13, 2019) — Students new to the District, especially those from military families, will get a warm and exciting welcome thanks to the training EPISD Student Ambassadors received this week during a fun-filled training.
The Department of Defense Education Activity-funded training brought students from several schools to the Region 19 Education Service Center to learn Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) techniques that will help them better serve any new and current classmates at their campuses.
The elementary, middle and high schools that participated in the training have a high concentration of military students.
“This kickoff event is really to help the Student Ambassadors know how to welcome kids,” said Jennifer DeGraaf, a staff administrator in Student & Family Empowerment. “With our military families, they are facing challenges that a lot of people don't really understand.”
A big part of the training were ice breakers and topics related to peer relationships and SEL, which has been a big focus on EPISD. The teams of Student Ambassadors are made up of both military and civilian students.
“As we are transitioning into a districtwide focus on Social & Emotional Learning, we want our kids to be by our side,” DeGraaf said. “Ultimately, as adults, we can master SEL, but we also need for our kids to be well aware of the SEL competencies so that they can in turn go and be contagious for SEL and be contagious for positivity.”
Student Ambassadors have many roles on campus. They generally greet the new students and help them navigate the new school. Milam Elementary fifth-grader Jordin Hawk is a veteran ambassador and knows the importance of her role.
“I like helping people especially the new students,” she said. “They are confused when they come in and they don’t have friends immediately. It’s hard for kids who move a lot to make friends. We’re here to help them.”
Photos by Leonel Monroy