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    All classrooms from grades PreK - 8 will be implementing the Second Step Social Emotional Learning program in order to provide students with additional skills for social and academic success.  If you have questions about this program please contact Michele McCortney at 262-8888 ext. 1180 


    The Second Step program for grades K-5 is a universal, classroom-based program designed to increase students’ school success and decrease problem behaviors by promoting social-emotional competence and self-regulation.  It teaches skills that strengthen students’ ability to learn, have empathy, manage emotions, and solve problems.  The program targets key risk and protective factors linked to a range of problem behaviors.  Equipping students with Second Step skills creates a safer, more respectful learning environment that promotes school success for all. 

    The Second Step middle school program (grades 6-8) is a universal program designed to promote skills and attitudes that increase students’ social and school success and prevent violence, bullying, and substance abuse.  As a program for all students, it provides a foundation for creating a safe, respectful learning environment.  [The grade 6 program is referred to as Stepping Up, the grade 7 program is referred to as Stepping In, and the grade 8 program is referred to as Stepping Ahead.  Although all fall under the umbrella of Second Step].


    Units and Themes

     Grades PreK-5

     1.      Skills for Learning

    The Second Step program promotes the development of self-regulation skills and improved participation in learning through its focus on skills for learning.  Focusing attention, listening, using self-talk, and being assertive are skills for learning introduced and practiced in separate units at grades K-3, and integrated across all units at grades 4 and 5.


     2.      Empathy

    The Second Step program helps students develop the ability to have empathy for others.  This ability provides the foundation for helpful and socially responsible behavior and the development of skills for coping with peer challenges.  Empathy is an important aspect of social-emotional competence and is related to academic success.  Students with high levels of empathy are skilled at identifyng emotions in themselves and others, labeling these emotions, and considering situations for others’ perspectives.  These students also tend to be less aggressive, better liked, and more socially skilled, and to have higher academic achievement than students with lower levels of empathy.  These skills help students to manage their own strong emotions and solve interpersonal problems peacefully.

    3.       Emotion Management

    Teaching students to recognize strong emotions and use strategies to calm down has been shown to be effective in increasing their ability to cope and decreasing the likelihood of aggressive or other problem behaviors.  Effective emotion management is related to decreased levels of aggression and substance abuse and increased levels of social-emotional competence.  The Second Step program teaches students proactive strategies that help prevent strong emotions from escalating into negative behaviors.

    4.      Problem Solving

    Many different interpersonal problems can adversely affect children’s success in school.  The Second Step program builds on students’ ability to handle peer conflicts effectively.  Based on research on effective patterns of things, student are taught first to calm down, then to follow four Problem Solving Steps:  S – say the problem, T – think of solutions, E – explore consequences, and P – pick the best solution.  Students who know how to respond to common problem situations help create a safer, more respectful school climate where more students can learn and succeed.

     Grades 6-8

    1.      Empathy and Communication

    Having a higher level of empathy is linked to having more friends and higher academic achievement, less aggressive behavior and bullying, and being more helpful to peers.  Empathy also provides a foundation for social and communication skills, which increase school connectedness by improving students’ relationships with teachers and serve as protective factors against a range of problem behaviors.  Research shows empathy skills can be successfully taught to adolescents using a social skills curriculum.  



    2.       Bullying Prevention

    The bullying-prevention unit uses these effective strategies to change students’ bullying-related attitudes, norms, and behaviors:


    • Increasing students’ ability to identify bullying
    • Increasing empathy for bullied students
    • Increasing awareness of the importance and responsibility of bystanders
    • Increasing positive bystander skills and behaviors


    Throughout the units, the program also helps to reduce bullying by improving social skills, increasing friendships and positive peer relations, and increasing assertiveness skills.


    3.       Emotion Management

    Emotion management enables youth to stay in control, especially in stressful situations.  Coping skills help them meet challenges by using proactive strategies rather than acting on impulse.  Emotion management and coping skills can be taught, and the skills addressed in the program include self-calming techniques, such as deep breathing and positive self-talk.


    •  Grade 6 – Emotion Management
    • Grade 7/8 – Coping



    4.       Problem Solving

    The Second Step Action Steps are taught across all grade levels of the program [S – say the problem, T – think of solutions, E – explore consequences, and P – pick the best solution].  Teaching students interpersonal problem-solving skills can reduce and prevent problem behaviors.  Because peer pressure peaks in early adolescence, this is a good time to teach decision-making skills as well.


    • Grade 6 – Problem Solving
    • Grade 7 – Decision Making
    • Grade 8 – Goal Setting


    5.      Substance Abuse Prevention

    The Second Step substance abuse lessons focus on changing norms and attitudes through providing accurate information and building on the social and personal skills addressed in previous lessons.  These skills include the ability to recognize and resist problematic choices.  The primary goal is to reduce early initiation.  Substance abuse prevention is also addressed throughout the program by teaching skills and concepts that address important risk and protective factors.