Street Cred is an interactive, activity based character education program specifically developed for high-risk teenagers and is designed to improve personal ethics,teach problem solving, build awareness of effective life skills, promote positive study skills, and support students in their daily decision making. Street Cred offers students an opportunity to take a look at their own lives in a safe and collaborative environment, to reflect on their individual behavior, and to discuss the implications of their behavior. The focus of instruction is to create safe, caring, well managed and participatory learning environments for all students.
In order to teach this .5 credit elective course effectively, teachers must be competent, considerate, and respect cultural and ethnic diversity. Five of the Social Emotional Learning Standards (SEL) are utilized in Street Cred:
1. Self-awareness: recognizing and identifying emotions
2. Self-management: managing responses to emotions
3. Social Awareness: developing positive relationships
4. Relationship Skills: establishing positive relationships
5. Responsible Decision Making: making positive and ethical decisions about behavior.
The principles presented in Street Cred have been adopted from the book, “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West” by James P. Owen. Mr. Owens presents ten ethics to make up the Code of the West. This code is:
Live each day with courage.
> Take pride in your work.
> Always finish what you start.
> Do what has to be done.
> Be tough, but fair.
> When you make a promise, keep it.
> Ride for the brand.
> Talk less and say more.
> Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
> Know where to draw the line.
In addition to the Code of the West, other “codes” are introduced throughout the course. For example, The 10 Commandments, Don Miguel’s The Four Agreements, Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and the Golden Rule are presented to assist students in building a foundation for their personal
future success. In the final weeks of the course, each student develops his or her own code to live by, thus equipping them a powerful tool to overcome obstacles and shape their future. In general, Street Cred is a curriculum, in which students develop critical thinking, problem solving skills, and create a personal code inwhich to live by each day.