Vernon Elementary School

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Leadership Matters- What is Second Step?

As young students begin school they can become overwhelmed by so many new experiences, especially within the learning environment. Second Step teaches students to self-regulate and provides them social-emotional skills to help in their learning environment and guiding their future success.

In kindergarten through sixth grade, Second Step has lesson topics that are designed to help students understand and manage their emotions, control their reactions, be aware of others’ feelings, and develop problem solving and responsible decision-making skills through the following units:

Empathy & Skills for Learning- This unit addresses empathy and respect, listening with attention, being assertive, respecting similarities and differences, using self-talk, and showing compassion

Emotion Management- This unit helps students in managing anxious feelings, anger, disappointment, hurt feelings, and frustration. Resisting revenge, handling put-downs, and self-talk for calming down.

Problem Solving- Students learn fair ways to play, inviting others to play, taking responsibility, solving classroom problems, and dealing with negative peer pressure.

A component that Second Step provides for me, as a school principal, is the Principal’s Toolkit. The toolkit includes monthly themes that are parallel to the lessons taught in the classroom. The toolkit also has the Talk-It-Over Tool that guides productive and positive conversations with students who are referred to me. It gives me the opportunity to discuss with individual students strategies to help resolve a conflict and how to use Second Step skills to approach similar incidents in the future.

Staff members are familiar with Second Step language and skills and help reinforce elements of the program. Hallway displays also help remind students of the skills.

Research demonstrates the benefits of social and emotional skills. Classrooms function more effectively and student learning increases when students have the skills to focus their attention, manage emotions, navigate relationships, and persist in the face of difficulty. 

We want to remove any barriers that prohibit student learning and Second Step helps in providing the skills necessary for student success.

Principal Terri Chynoweth

Copper Canyon Elementary