Maybe you've heard a high school student say, "You're not actually preparing us for life, there are so many things we need to know that we can't get in math class."

That is what Damonte Ranch High School junior, Ariana McConnell said regarding some of her classes. She says that the Social and Emotional Learning program teaching college and employment skills in Washoe County High Schools are practical.

“We got to talk about how to build that rapport with her and making sure that we felt comfortable and the benefits of having a rapport with your teacher instead of it just being I'm going to class,” said McConnell.        

Ben Hayes is the Chief Accountability Officer at the Washoe County School District. His team has developed a way to measure SEL competencies through a student survey.

“What we really wanted to start studying do SEL competencies mitigate that risk and that is what we've been finding they do,” said Hayes.

Here is what they found from a survey taken in 2013-2014: Those with high SEL competencies were 3% likely to be suspended in school. Those with low were surveyed at 8.8% likely. Regarding attendance, those with high SEL competencies missed 8.82 days and those with low SEL competencies missed 9.46 days. And those with high SEL competencies graduated with an 89% graduation rate while those with low SEL competencies were at 73%.

Pine Middle School parent and PTA member, Jelaine Whipple says this program focuses on helping her daughter Brooke prepare for high school and beyond.

"If you learn how to get along better with people and have less inhibition and how to calm yourself you're going to have a happier life and they're going to be able to use that in the work environment,” said Jelaine Whipple.

Local business owner and former president of the Education Alliance of Washoe County, Jim Pfrommer is an advocate of social and emotional learning. As an employer, he says instilling relationship and management skills in students will have an impact on the future of Nevada's work force.

“I think as our economy shifts a lot from what it has been. It's always been a service industry and carrying those skills onto the technical areas that we see with the new economy are just as important if not more so important."