Second Step® Stories

Thousands of schools around the world and more than 26.9 million children benefit from Second Step social-emotional learning (SEL) programs each year. What do they get out of the programs? Students who are ready to learn. Educators with the tools to make a difference. Districts and schools that successfully build a connected community with a shared vocabulary. And yes, improving academics.

Discover their stories.

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Second Step® programs have expanded my strategies for teaching SEL and helped me create an avenue where my students' voices can be heard and they are accepted for who they are.

Nerwin Balilu, Second Step 2023 Educator of the Year

Grades 6–8 Resource Teacher, Arizona

Learn more about the winners of our 2022–2023 Educator of the Year Awards.

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Create Successful Learners

Help students feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. Create a healthy learning environment and teach competencies that support the whole child for a lifetime of learning.

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Before, things in class were more chaotic, but now things are quieter and students are able to walk through situations with each other.

Early Learning Teacher, Western New York

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Empower Educators

Give teachers what they need to make a difference: more time for teaching, tools they can easily embrace, and help with what matters most—improving kids’ lives.

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They’re not even the same kids anymore.

Jeannie Larberg, Comprehensive Guidance Coordinator, Sumner School District, WA

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Provide a Common Language

Unify your school community. Get everyone on the same team, use language that builds relationships and student success, and build a positive school climate.

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Second Step programs put into words the feelings and emotions that kids have and sometimes don’t know how to express.

Andrea Jennings, Graduate Student/Teacher, The Bridge Project, Denver, CO

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Improve Academics

Invest in each child’s potential. Give all students a better shot at success, boost attendance and graduation rates, and improve measures of academic performance.

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More Stories

Murray, UT: A Positive Shift In School Culture With Adult SEL
Baton Rouge, LA: SEL and After-School Music Program Harmonize
Toppenish, WA: PBIS Team Embraces Social-Emotional Learning
Tooele, UT: A District and Community Respond to Trauma
Anaheim, CA: A Cultural Shift Through Social-Emotional Learning
Buncombe County, NC: Linking Social-Emotional Learning to Academic Success
Southeast States: Early Learning Study Shows SEL Improves Academics
Boston, MA: A Focus on Behavioral Health
Everett, WA: Moving from All Students to Each Student
Georgia: State Funds Social-Emotional Learning and Child Protection
Austin, TX: A Bellwether of Districtwide Social-Emotional Learning
Mid Florida: A Head Start on Positive Relationships
Mid Florida: SEL Finds a Home in Head Start Classrooms
Carpentersville, IL: Schoolwide Success with Social-Emotional Learning
Lee County, FL: Community Funding for K-8 Social-Emotional Learning
Seattle, WA: Taproot Theatre Brings Bullying Prevention to Life
Chicago, IL: Walking the Talk with Second Step® Programs
Western NY: Head Start Success with SEL and PEDALS
Western NY: Community Funding for SEL and PEDALS
Toppenish, WA: PBIS Team Embraces Social-Emotional Learning
Lexington, KY: School’s Rank Rises From 5th to 21st Percentile
Lexington, KY: Title I Funding for Social-Emotional Learning
Philadelphia, PA: Seeds of Success With Social-Emotional Learning
Seattle, WA: SEL Brought Back by Popular Demand
Seattle, WA: Real-World Skills for Productive Citizens
Slovakia: Ministry of Education Accredits Second Step® Programs
Pomona, CA: A Positive Change for Head Start Classrooms
Denver, CO: SEL Helps Kids Build Bridge to Better Future
Tukwila, WA: Kids Coaching Adults with SEL
Sumner, WA: Behavioral Turnaround with Social-Emotional Learning
University of Kansas: Eight-Week SEL Intervention Improves Behavior
Washington, DC: Becoming Problem-Solvers with Second Step® Programs
Shawnee Mission, KS: Middle Schoolers Stand Up to Bullying Through Theater
Los Angeles, CA: Referrals Drop Dramatically with Second Step® Programs
Seattle, WA: Title I Funding for Second Step® Programs
Washington, DC: Referrals Drop from 12.3 to 7.1 Percent