Press Releases

Committee for Children Releases New Social-Emotional Learning Material for Educators to Build an Authentic Culture of Equity and Belonging Among Staff and Students

Schools can improve learning outcomes and create more equitable learning communities by building a climate where everyone feels their backgrounds and social identities are valued.

SEATTLE – May 3, 2022, at 7:30 am PT
– After more than two years of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, educators are looking for ways to boost camaraderie with their colleagues and support the increased social-emotional and academic needs of their students.

Global nonprofit organization and leading provider of research-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, Committee for Children, today released a new learning module on equity and belonging as part of its professional development program for K–12 educators and leaders, Second Step® SEL for Adults. The new module seeks to support educators’ social-emotional well-being by creating a welcoming and inclusive school climate where everyone feels that they belong and are appreciated, a key indicator of personal, professional, and academic success.

“I am so motivated by the power of social-emotional learning and the many ways it can be applied to build more effective learning environments,” says Andrea Lovanhill, CEO of Committee for Children. “One way this power can be harnessed is to foster educational and community spaces that support every child and educator—affirming and celebrating their unique strengths and lived experiences. At a time when teachers are burned out and considering leaving the profession, we need to prioritize their well-being and give them simple and effective tools to grow as educators and improve school-community relationships and trust between colleagues. Ultimately, that helps our children thrive and reach their full potential.”

In the new Second Step SEL for Adults module, Equity & Belonging, educators explore how aspects of social identity (such as age, ethnicity, religion or spirituality, education, and socioeconomic situation) influence not only their own sense of belonging but also that of their colleagues and students. Research indicates that teachers who treat students’ identity as an asset, build positive relationships, and combine high expectations with peer and educator support can positively influence students’ learning and attachment to school.1

“Second Step SEL for Adults is a social-emotional learning program designed by educators for educators,” says Polly Stansell, vice president of product at Committee for Children. “We studied the latest research, performed extensive field tests, and listened to educators’ input on areas where they want to grow and have the most impact on their students. That’s how the equity and belonging module came to be. Having positive relationships and feeling that your social identities are considered assets rather than barriers is critical to flourishing for everyone in the school—from the principal to the teacher to the student.”

Second Step SEL for Adults is an ongoing professional learning program designed to help K–12 staff and leaders improve their well-being, strengthen their social-emotional skills, and create positive and supportive learning environments. The modules build on one another and were designed to be completed in a sequence:

  • Building Trust explores why schools need to prioritize cultivating a culture of trust
  • Managing Stress explores the importance of reducing and managing stress in the workplace and classroom
  • Equity & Belonging explores how building students’ and educators’ sense of acceptance and belonging lays the foundation for equity
  • Resilience & Efficacy (coming soon) explores strategies to bolster collective resilience and nurture personal capabilities

For more information about Second Step® SEL for Adults and the new Equity & Belonging module, visit



    1. Cohn-Vargas, B., Kahn, A. C., & Epstein, A. (2021). Identity safe classrooms, grades 6–12: Pathways to belonging and learning. Corwin.

About Committee for Children
Committee for Children is a global nonprofit that has championed the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning, child protection, and bullying prevention for more than 40 years. With a history of action and influence, we’re known as a leader in social-emotional education and a force in advocacy, research, and innovation in the field. We take a comprehensive approach to SEL, promoting social-emotional well-being from birth to early adulthood—supporting not just classrooms but entire communities. As our programs transform the lives of more than 20.5 million children per year, we rise to meet societal challenges to ensure children everywhere can thrive. Visit to learn more.

About Second Step® Programs
Brought to you by Committee for Children, the Second Step® family of programs creates brighter futures for kids everywhere through a holistic approach to social-emotional learning (SEL) that combines classroom-based SEL with offerings for out-of-school time and SEL for adults. Second Step programs are used in 30,000 schools across 70 countries and serve more than 20.5 million children per year. Visit to learn more.

Media Contact:
Jordana Ehling
Public Relations Manager, 206-438-6378