Success Stories

Chicago video image
Chicago Public Schools
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is giving students the skills they need to succeed.
Austin students learn social-emotional “survival” skills
Austin ISD
Supporting a large and diverse student body by teaching social-emotional skills.

Turnarounds in Tukwila

Cascade View Elementary School in Tukwila, WA

When Anne Marie Littleton, a social worker at Cascade View Elementary School in Tukwila, WA, first started teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) to her students, she saw widespread positive effects. Ms. Littleton especially saw an increase in her students’ coping skills: “I notice that my students now have access to more coping tools when dealing with strong emotions. I hear them coaching each others about what to do if they are angry  …Read more

180-Degree Turns in Washington State

Sumner, WA, School District

“They’re not even the same kids anymore.” That’s what Sumner (WA) School District’s Comprehensive Guidance Coordinator, Jeannie Larberg, says of a group of third-graders after just a few weeks of social-emotional learning (SEL) in the form of the Second Step program. Some of these third-graders had limited SEL skills—and that was putting it mildly. “These kids had difficulty even sitting in a chair,”  …Read more

Kansas Project LAUNCH

University of Kansas School of Education

Project LAUNCH, which is part of the University of Kansas School of Education, evaluated the Second Step curriculum in an intensive summer program. The summer program, which served 106 children from ages 3 to 16, was an eight-week intensive psychosocial intervention, during which the children were taught the Second Step program. The children who participated in the study all had a diagnosis of social-emotional disturbance …Read more

Ready for Kindergarten in New York State

Western New York State

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation know young children need to be ready for kindergarten not just academically, but socially and emotionally ready, too. So they partnered to co-fund the Positive Emotional Development and Learning Skills (PEDALS) project to find a way to help prepare children for this important step in their lives …Read more

Winning Moments in Washington, DC

Arts and Technology Academy Washington, DC

Social-Emotional Learning Specialist Sarah Hensler and her colleagues at Washington, DC’s Arts and Technology Academy were heartbroken to learn their charter would not be renewed. Hensler was especially disappointed, because a Second Step kit had just been purchased for every classroom, and she envisioned the program “becoming a self-sustaining part of our positive school culture.” But rather than allowing the news of the …Read more

Middle Schoolers Use Drama to Take Down Bullying

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Shawnee Mission School District has brought together drama, social–emotional learning, and middle schoolers to create a perfect recipe for preventing bullying in their elementary schools. The Kansas school district uses the Second Step program district-wide, and the district leadership wanted “an intentional opportunity for middle school students to educate our elementary students in bullying …Read more

Using Title I to Fund Social-Emotional Learning

Mary Todd Elementary | Lexington, KY

Principal Kari Kirchner and her school, Mary Todd Elementary, are not new to the Second Step program. “We had used it previously because we like the intentionality of the lessons,” Kirchner says. “They give the students clear examples and behaviors and are very user-friendly for the teachers.”
So when Kirchner found out that a fourth edition of the Second Step program was to be released, she knew it would be a great addition  …Read more

Dramatic Change in School Culture

Florence Griffith-Joyner Elementary | Los Angeles, CA

Principal John Sayers and Assistant Principal Nieves Rascón both came to Florence Griffith-Joyner Elementary in the fall of 2004. The school “is right in the middle of Watts” and across the street from Jordan Downs, the third largest public housing project in Los Angeles. About 90 percent of Griffith-Joyner’s 1,100 students live in the projects, and most of the students’ families face extreme economic hardship. “For them to survive  …Read more

Title I Funding for Second Step Kits

Highland Park Elementary | Seattle, WA

When asked how he found the funds to buy Second Step kits for his school, Highland Park Elementary Principal Ben Ostrom laughs, “We had a need, and I looked at what money we could use to fill it.” But in order to get Title I funds, Ostrom had to present his case in a very specific way. “Title I requires a needs assessment and has to be connected with professional development,” he explains  …Read more

Fewer Office Referrals in Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia Charter Schools | Washington, D.C.

"We have schools that are really starting to see some significant changes in regard to implementing with fidelity the Second Step program and incorporating other supports for students. Using all those things in conjunction…has helped to lower referrals to the student support teams, and therefore kids are doing better socially and emotionally," says Anise Walker, director of training and prevention education  …Read more

New Middle School Program More Relevant to Students

St. Francis of Assisi School | Burien, WA

Monica Stein used the original Second Step program for middle school when she taught seventh grade in the past. This year and last, she’s been piloting the recent Second Step middle school program with her seventh-grade class. When asked how the new one compares, Stein responds: “Compared to the old program, there’s no comparison. It’s more up to date, more relevant to students  …Read more


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