Committee for Children Blog

It’s Here! The Amazing Principal Toolkit

second step, principal toolkit, K-5, SEL, back to school, back to school basics

Throughout the many years, I supported Second Step® as a disctrictwide trainer, I could often predict how successful implementation would be in any given school based on one key piece of information: principal involvement. If the principal was actively involved in supporting implementation in a school, Second Step implementation would typically be sustained one, two, and three years later. If the principal was not involved or was supportive in a more passive or cursory way, implementation was rarely maintained. Instead, such schools would have kits collecting dust on shelves while only a small handful of teachers continued to implement the lessons over time. This experience is one reason why I am thrilled to have a copy of the new Second Step Principal Toolkit (K–5).

This toolkit contains everything needed to ensure all staff are trained and regularly supported to successfully implement the Second Step program in your school. It includes many ready-made resources such as meeting agendas, activities, and handouts for staff orientation, monthly staff kick-off meetings, and weekly staff meetings. There are materials for weekly morning announcements and assemblies and skill reinforcement ideas for staff and students, such as Second Step Recognition Tickets. It includes a Talk-It-Over Tool, which is an office referral conversation guide with scripts and mini-posters that reinforce the social-emotional skills and positive behaviors taught in the Second Step program. Many materials are organized according to monthly themes and weekly skills, so although different grades emphasize different lessons, everyone is working on similar themes over time.

Online resources extend beyond what is in the paper binder. They include a white paper on principal leadership, overview videos, academic alignments, and alignments to standards, RTI/PBIS, and programs such as Restorative Practices.

Principals and assistant principals, if you are already implementing or even considering the possibility of implementing the Second Step program, I encourage you to take a look at this new Principal Toolkit. You are key decision makers whose vision influences systems changes and resource allocation, and your leadership is a critical factor that contributes to sustainable, schoolwide program implementation. Your active support helps to ensure that students learn and use valuable social skills to recognize and manage emotions, maintain positive relationships, set and achieve positive goals, and make good decisions. By infusing social-emotional learning throughout your school culture you are ultimately helping to provide a better foundation for academic performance and for preventing or reducing risky behaviors, making your school a safer place. Now that is something to get excited about!