AHA! facilitators work with students at area high schools and middle schools, delivering its original Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum. SEL is nationally recognized as an essential component in creating positive school cultures in which students feel safe and supported. Research consistently shows that where schools implement quality SEL programs like those offered by AHA!, they see positive impacts on test scores and reductions in suspensions and violent behavior.
AHA! has been credited in bringing a 70% reduction in suspensions at one local high school and a rise in their standardized test scores of 11 points; and in several schools, our work has correlated with a notable reduction in truancy and student-to student-violence.
AHA! in-school serves about 1500 students per year at Carpinteria, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Rincon, and Santa Barbara High Schools and Santa Barbara, La Cumbre, La Colina, and Goleta Valley Junior High. We deliver our services to these students through curricula that focus on emotional management, prejudice reduction, empathy, acceptance/celebration of difference, and compassion. Staff members present in a ratio of no more than 8 students per AHA! facilitator engage students in fun and interactive games that provide opportunities to get to know classmates better in a playful setting; brief, teen-friendly, facilitator-led large group lecture/discussions on subjects including stereotypes, emotional awareness and management, deep listening, asking meaningful questions, relationship repair, and how to be an ally. AHA! staff-facilitated small group discussions on the topics at hand further connect youth across lines of clique, socioeconomic class, and race, knitting classrooms and campuses together to improve climate and reduce ostracism and bullying.