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Second Step® Middle School

Empowered with Skills for Life

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Effective Learning for Today’s Middle Schoolers

We’ve made it easier for Second Step® Middle School instructors to teach the skills students need to succeed. Based on user feedback and the latest research in adolescent development and social psychology, we’ve updated our web-based program to be even more responsive to the needs of today’s classrooms.

This enhanced social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum includes:

  • A new bullying and harassment unit
  • Relatable scenarios for students
  • Greater differentiation between grade levels
  • Additional interactive activities to keep students engaged and learning
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Best-in-Class Social-Emotional Learning

Second Step Middle School is a first-of-its-kind social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that’s modern, web-based, and responsive to the needs of today’s students and educators. It’s underpinned by the latest research in adolescent brain development and social psychology. The result is a program that doesn’t just help kids do better in school—it helps them do better in life.

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Relevant to Today’s Middle Schooler

We created dynamic, relevant, discussion-based content that offers practical skills for situations both in and out of the classroom. Many lessons feature videos of real kids talking about issues applicable to their daily lives. There’s a wealth of material, so lessons always feel fresh and interesting.

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Culture of Connectedness

Bringing SEL to every classroom is essential to building a connected school culture. By going schoolwide with the Second Step program, every adult in the building gains access to the program’s lessons, resources, and activities, creating a common language across the school. We know that creating a culture of connectedness is fundamentally important, but we also know that it’s a challenge. That’s why we’ve developed resources that make a schoolwide implementation easy for educators.

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Simple and Effective for Teachers

For any SEL program to be successful, first it has to work for teachers and help them meet the daily demands they face. Extensive field research and piloting have resulted in an intuitive interface teachers are quick to embrace. User feedback has led to a program with unprecedented flexibility—it provides a full year’s lessons for three grades and nearly 200 advisory activities, so teachers can expand or adapt it based on the unique situation in their classroom. The program also requires minimal prep time, and because it’s web-based, everything is in one place.

Best-in-Class Social-Emotional Learning

Second Step Middle School is a first-of-its-kind social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that’s modern, web-based, and responsive to the needs of today’s students and educators. It’s underpinned by the latest research in adolescent brain development and social psychology. The result is a program that doesn’t just help kids do better in school—it helps them do better in life.

What’s Included in the Program?

For each grade, the program is fully loaded with a year of weekly Second Step lessons. There’s also program training, nearly 200 advisory activities, and an abundance of additional resources such as lesson plans to extend SEL throughout the day, book lists, and much more. A Principal Toolkit that provides schoolwide implementation resources is also included.

Updated Social-Emotional Learning Lessons

Our teacher-led units now have more interactive, 25-minute lessons and discussion-based activities with distinct grade-level experiences.

25-Minute Lessons | 6–8 Lessons Per Unit

  • Unit
    Mindsets & Goals
    7 lessons per grade

    Students learn how to develop a growth mindset and apply research-based goal-setting strategies to their social and academic lives.

  • Unit
    Recognizing Bullying & Harassment
    6 lessons per grade

    Students learn how to recognize bullying and harassment, stand up safely to bullying, and respond appropriately to harassment.

  • Unit
    Thoughts, Emotions, & Decisions
    6 lessons per grade

    Students learn how to recognize strong emotions and unhelpful thoughts, and they learn to apply strategies for managing their emotions and reducing stress.

  • Unit
    Managing Relationships & Social Conflict
    7 lessons per grade

    Students learn strategies for developing and maintaining healthy relationships, perspective-taking, and dealing with conflict.

Scope & Sequence

View a complete list of our units and weekly lesson topics for Grades 6–8.
Download the Full Scope and Sequence (PDF)
Download the Short Scope and Sequence (PDF)

middle school scope and sequence

Review of Research

We’re constantly learning about the skills and concepts that can make a positive difference at this age, from growth mindset and emotion management to social connectedness. Drawing from the latest research in the field, our program helps students manage strong emotions, make good decisions, and create strong friendships while avoiding or de-escalating conflict.
Download the Review of Research (PDF)

middle school review of research
middle school alignment charts

Alignment Charts

Learn more about how Second Step Middle School complements your current SEL standards, frameworks, and practices.
Academic Alignment (PDF)
ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors (PDF)
CASEL Core SEL Competencies (PDF)
Restorative Practices in Schools (PDF)

advisory activities pdf

Advisory Activities

Educators can create a complete advisory program from the nearly 200 scripted Class Meetings, Class Challenges, and Service-Learning Projects included in the program. These advisory activities can be used with their corresponding weekly lessons to reinforce skills or as stand-alone experiences.

See the Advisory Program Guide (PDF)

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Leadership Team Resources

Administrators can support program success with schoolwide implementation resources and customizable, online presentations that help promote and maintain community buy-in throughout the year.

See the Leadership Team Resources (PDF)

parenteen connect

ParenTeen Connect

Included in the program, both in advisory materials for students and as an at-home family engagement resource, this online experience features candid videos and the guidance of parenting expert Dr. Laura Kastner. Designed by SEL experts, it helps teens and the adults in their lives communicate, connect, and break through on hot-button topics like communication, independence, responsibility, and screen time.

Explore the Site at

What Middle Schoolers Say

Students talk about the challenges they face in middle school and how teachers can help them thrive.

Get Inspired

Attend a Webinar

We offer live and recorded webinars so you can hear from experts about our programs and ask us questions.

See All Webinars

Purchase Options

Schoolwide License

What’s a schoolwide license? It allows access to program lessons, activities, and resources for a nearly unlimited number of your school’s educators and staff so all students can be supported in and out of the classroom. It also comes with a Principal Toolkit so administrators can lead and communicate about the program’s implementation effectively and monitor schoolwide progress over time. It’s an investment in a positive school climate, and it brings the benefits of SEL to every classroom.
Read more about what’s in the Principal Toolkit.

1 year


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3 years

SAVE 20%


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5 years

SAVE 36%


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Individual License

Individual licenses are also available—perfect for trying out the program in a single classroom for one grade (6, 7, or 8) with one user login and the ability to create one class in the online portal. The ability for each user to create multiple classes, all-staff schoolwide access, and the Principal Toolkit are not included with an individual license.

Individual License: Single-Classroom Set-Up for Grade 6, 7, or 8

1 Year


3 Years


5 Years


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Sign Up for a Free Trial

30 Days of Unlimited Access

Get a free 30-day trial of the Second Step® Middle School schoolwide license and invite as many staff as you’d like to try the program. During the free trial, all staff can access training, set up classes, and view and teach lessons for Grades 6–8. Leadership can use the Principal Toolkit to track staff progress. Plus, if you like the program, you can upgrade your free trial to a schoolwide license.

Second Step Middle School will automatically update on August 28, 2020. You’ll need to set up your classes again to use the updated program.

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