Murray, UT

A Positive Shift In School Culture With Adult SEL

Teacher smiling in front of a bulletin board.
An opposing pair of yellow quotation marks.
It’s helped our teachers connect with their coworkers, administrators, and students, and connect back to themselves and their love of teaching.

Sierra Marsh, School Social Worker, Grant Elementary School

When Grant Elementary School in Murray, Utah, reopened after closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, administrators faced the challenge of strengthening their school community. To support teachers and staff, the school adopted Second Step® SEL for Adults, a professional learning program rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL). Skills developed in the program helped educators connect to their students, their passion for teaching, and each other.

Grant Elementary School


Grant Elementary is a public Kindergarten–Grade 6 school with an enrollment of approximately 375 students. In addition to the school principal, Grant Elementary has 13 classroom teachers, one special education teacher, a speech and language pathologist, and a school social worker.

In 2019, the school adopted Second Step® Elementary. They began with classroom kits, then transitioned to the digital program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once in-person classes resumed, the challenges weren’t over. The pandemic closure impacted the school’s culture and relationships within the community, and students struggled to adjust back to in-person learning. As a result, teachers reported burnout, overwhelming stress, toxicity in school culture, and disconnection from leadership.


Grant Elementary adopted Second Step® SEL for Adults in 2021 to help educators establish trust and build relationships with their students and colleagues. School leaders provided staff with the flexibility to complete the program’s microlearnings based on their schedules, emphasized the value of staff contributions and feedback, and ensured support throughout the program.


After completing the first two program modules, Building Trust and Managing Stress, staff reported a decrease in burnout symptoms and workplace conflicts. They noted an increase in levels of trust among colleagues and students, as well as improved self-awareness and motivation among staff. Educators also reported that developing their own social-emotional competencies helped them model these skills for their students more effectively.

Are you interested in learning more about this story, or about Second Step SEL for Adults?

Read the full interview with Grant Elementary School educator Sierra Marsh.

Check out our blog post on implementing SEL for adults in a way that works for you.

Register for one of our on-demand or live webinars designed to help you make a smart investment in SEL at your school or district.