Second Step Author Honored for Lifetime Achievement

October 29, 2009

SEATTLE—Kathy Beland, original author of Committee for Children’s award-winning Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum, received the nationally recognized Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education from the Character Education Partnership (CEP) on October 29.

Beland’s work set the stage for subsequent expanded editions of the Second Step Program for Early Learning through Grade 8, in which Seattle-based Committee for Children included such subjects as bullying, cyber bullying, dating safety, substance abuse prevention, and 21st-century skills. By continuing with Beland’s model of distilling rigorous research into teacher-friendly lessons, Committee for Children has been able to adapt the Second Step Program to address the issues kids currently face. The result is the first and most successful classroom-based social skills curriculum, whose cultural relevance has allowed its use in 26 countries by nine million children.

“This award is such a well-deserved recognition for the important work Kathy has been doing for more than 20 years,” said Joan Cole Duffell, executive director of Committee for Children, who with Beland co-authored a chapter in the book The Educator’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement. “Kathy’s work as a teacher, curriculum developer, writer, and lecturer has always focused on helping young people build the skills to be better students, classmates, family members, and citizens of the world, goals that we hold in common. She is an effective, caring advocate for kids.”

Described by the Character Education Partnership as “one of the true unsung heroes of character education,” Beland has also written and produced 12 award-winning educational videos, including Committee for Children’s Emmy Award-winning Yes You Can Say No, an educational video that teaches children to recognize and report sexual abuse. Subsequent to her work with Committee for Children in creating early editions of the Second Step curriculum, Beland served as program director for CEP and co-chaired the committee that produced CEP’s position paper on performance values. Most recently she co-developed and now promotes School Connect: Optimizing the High School Experience, a social-emotional learning curriculum designed to help high school students prepare for adulthood both personally and professionally.

About CEP and the award: CEP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian coalition of U.S. organizations and individuals dedicated to helping schools develop people of good character for a just and compassionate society. The Sanford N. McDonnell Award is named for McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft’s chairman emeritus and is the CEP’s highest honor in recognition of an individual’s outstanding lifetime achievement in character education.

About Committee for Children and the Second Step Program: The Second Step Program is one of several educational programs developed by Committee for Children, a Seattle-based international nonprofit. The program is used in over 25,000 classrooms in the United States, Canada, and 26 other countries.