Committee for Children Blog

Thinking About Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for High School? Start with the Adults.

teacher and high school student walking in the hallway

If you’re looking for an SEL resource that will directly affect the quality of your students’ high school experiences and academic outcomes, consider starting with Second Step® SEL for Adults. Whether it’s SEL or math, students learn best when new skills are reinforced in multiple ways. Hearing about a skill is different from seeing it in action, especially when it’s demonstrated by adults whom students look up to and respect. Focusing on adult social-emotional skills can cultivate a positive climate at your school right away, strengthen relationships, increase resilience, and improve the well-being of both your high school students and your educators.

High Schoolers Thrive When They Have Positive Relationships with Adults at School

Outside of caregivers in the home, educators spend the most time with students, making them a critical resource for fostering social-emotional skills. Studies show that having a network of strong, well-established developmental relationships with school leaders, teachers, staff, and peers is essential to effective social-emotional learning in adolescents. When educators are socially and emotionally resilient, they are well-equipped to forge strong relationships with students and colleagues, create safe and positive classroom experiences, and handle challenging situations that may arise. By embodying these skills, they actively and positively influence students’ actions, decision-making, agency, and responses to challenging situations.

How Can You Cultivate This Kind of Environment for High School Students?

SEL for adults can support your school community in several ways. First, by introducing a program built for educators, staff will recognize and appreciate that you’re prioritizing their well-being. Second, as staff begin to incorporate practices from the professional learning into their day, relationships and trust will deepen among colleagues and between teachers and students, and managing stress will become more natural. Third, the program contains numerous classroom routines designed to be used with high school students.

By engaging in SEL at the staff level, the well-being of your educators will be nurtured, shifting the school climate. Students are then poised to take the social-emotional skills they’ve observed and experienced firsthand and put them into practice in their relationships with peers, educators, family members, and others. When educators thrive, students thrive.

Take the Next Step

If you’re looking to adopt the Second Step® program for high school students that’s currently under development, Second Step SEL for Adults is the perfect way for you and your school community to get started now to improve well-being, increase resilience, and champion positive outcomes for both students and educators.

Find out more about Second Step SEL for Adults.