Florence students and teachers immersed in social and emotional learning

FLORENCE, Ala. – As the saying goes, everyone has a story and it makes us who we are. Some students in Florence City Schools have gotten a life lesson this week by learning more about their fellow students and teachers.

Approximately 100 high school students, freshmen through seniors, were welcomed to Challenge Day with high fives and pats on the back. They spent Wednesday immersed in social and emotional learning. Away from math books, students and teachers are learning more about the person sitting next to them.

Pete Key

“Sometimes the subject in the seat is sometimes more important than the subject that you teach. Because when you reach the subject in the seat, you can teach them what you want to teach them,” Pete Key explained.

Key and his wife Sharlene have children in the school system. Both were invited to participate in the middle school event earlier this week. They call Challenge Day an eye-opening experience.

Sharlene Key

“I didn’t realize so many children were hurting, and just to see them hurt and support each other,” said Sharlene Key.

Once students and administrators break-away into small groups they spend time learning each others story.

The program is designed to bring harmony into the hallways. Organizers believe a bond is formed when you better understand what someone is or has dealt with.

“It was one of the more emotional scenes when the students saw the teachers in that light and saw that the teachers have persevered, that they had been through this and that and they still made it,” stated Superintendent Jimmy Shaw.

Jimmy Shaw

Organizers say it’s a way for kids and teachers to learn to come together in the same school and be tolerant of one another.

The Challenge Day program for the Florence City Schools was sponsored by community and private funds. The hope is to have the students and administrators who went through the program to help others around them.