MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — After the McAllen ISD superintendent read Daniel Goleman’s book on Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) years ago, he has now recently added a required course on EQ.

“Coming across the work of Daniel Goleman years ago I thought, ‘Man, this is brilliant,'” commented Dr. J. A. Gonzalez, the Superintendent for McAllen ISD. “It’s necessary as we move through life, but even more so in the midst of a world pandemic and coming out of it.”

Since the fall of 2016, the concept of EQ was implemented into every McAllen ISD school, Pre-K and up.

For Nikki Rowe High School, the EQ curriculum started in August 2021, according to one of the school’s EQ Specialists, Wanda Perez.

Dr. Gonzalez added EQ courses are mandatory credits for students because, “We want them to go on and be successful individuals regardless of what they choose to do in life whether it’s a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, architect, joining the military or starting a business but we want our students to do it at a world-class level.”

The end goal for all students is to have them accomplish their dreams.

McAllen ISD came to the conclusion before implementing this course that in order for students to achieve their dreams, preparing academically wasn’t enough.

The curriculum is not only built into their own individual classes but they are also applied to other subjects such as Texas History.

The course material focuses on Goleman’s five domains: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

These courses equip students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for school life and beyond. While these courses are not required by the state for graduation, McAllen ISD felt raising students’ EQ is “crucial and decided to provide it to all students in the district.”

Ms. Arevalo an EQ and Transition teacher for Nikki Rowe High School said the school implements EQ lessons every Wednesday. She tries to make her lessons geared more towards her students’ specific situations.

Ms. Arevalo takes the lessons built for her and turns them into quizzes, crossword puzzles, and competitions to get her students more engaged.

Alexia Serda, a sophomore at Nikki Rowe High School commented she has learned how to develop her emotions and understands how to interact more with others because of this new curriculum. She has also learned to maintain more eye contact when with her friends.

Michael Banda, another sophomore at Nikki Rowe High School added he has become more aware of his emotions while also trying to motivate his friend group to be “better.”