Committee for Children Blog

Family Engagement Resources for Building Stronger Communications at Your School

Parent's evening with teacher

Educators and families are long-standing partners in nurturing children’s social-emotional well-being. Communities have always shared common goals in supporting the development of healthy, happy children. Today, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we see the impact that authentic relationships can have on our collective well-being and resilience. It has never felt more essential for educators and families to develop and strengthen communication systems that foster shared understanding and appreciation of school initiatives.

Family engagement is an integral part of Second Step® social-emotional learning (SEL) programs. Each program contains a variety of resources and communications to help you connect with families, share social-emotional learning goals, and provide insight into how parents can support and reinforce social-emotional skills and concepts at home.

This article highlights what is available in the Second Step® Elementary and Second Step® Middle School digital programs and explains where to find all the information you need to keep families informed and involved.

Back-to-School Resources: Start the Year with a Shared Understanding

We know the beginning of the school year is an important time to connect with families and build a shared understanding of your schoolwide initiatives. The Second Step Elementary and Second Step Middle School digital programs contain a variety of resources that will help you build bridges with parents and caregivers early in the year. 

Family Open House Presentation
Introduce your students’ families to Second Step programs with the Family Open House Presentation. This downloadable PowerPoint creates a shared understanding of the importance of SEL and provides an overview of the Second Step programs’ four unit themes. This presentation includes scripted facilitator notes for presenters and is fully customizable so you can add information specific to your school or district. As written, this presentation takes approximately 10–15 minutes. 

Family Open House Flyer
Use the “What Is Second Step® Elementary?” and “What Is Second Step® Middle School?” Family Open House Flyers as companions to your presentation. These flyers can be shared with parents and capture important information about Second Step programs and the benefits of SEL. 

Program Overview Family Letter 
Teachers can also provide families with an overview of Second Step programs by sending home the Program Overview Family Letter. This letter introduces families to what students will be learning and invites their collaboration over the school year.  

Where can I find Family Open House materials and the Program Overview Family Letter?
From the Dashboard, you can find these resources by navigating to the Engage Families page and selecting the All Grades: Introducing the Programarticle.

Ongoing Resources: Continue the Year with Partnership

Strong family partnerships are fostered with consistent, meaningful communication. The Second Step Elementary and Second Step Middle School digital programs contain resources that can help you keep families involved throughout the year.

Home Links Only available for the Second Step Elementary digital program.
Share these one-page overviews at the start of each unit to help families reinforce the social-emotional skills their children are learning and support skill practice at home.

Weekly Lesson Family Communications 
Share these weekly communications with parents to help them stay informed and connected to how they can build on their children’s social-emotional learning outside of school. These messages include a weekly lesson summary along with a discussion prompt or activity for families. 

Where can I find Home Links and weekly communications?
From the Dashboard, you can find these resources organized by grade on the Engage Families page.

A Public-Access Webpage for Families

In addition to the family resources found within these Second Step programs, you can also encourage families and other interested community members to visit the Second Step® Programs: Information for Families page at any time to learn more. 

On that information page, families can explore:

  • The benefits of SEL and why it matters for all students
  • More about the Second Step family of programs, including:
    • Scope and Sequence documents, which include lesson titles and objectives for all grades in each program (Grades K–8)
    • Sample lessons from each grade (Grades K–8)
    • Research behind the programs

Multilingual Family Communications  

All our programs for students now have family communications available in both English and Spanish. These resources include the Family Open House Presentation, the Family Open House Flyer, the Program Overview Family Letter, and weekly communications.