Our Stories

Second Step: Schoolwide Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum Launches

September 15, 2016 by Alexis Herschthal (Faculty and Staff)

This school year, JPDS-NC is implementing a school-wide Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, Second Step. In the past, JPDS-NC incorporated character education and SEL content into classrooms through former programs like Middah of the Month and continuing programs like, B’Sod Siach, as well as friendship groups, classroom meetings, and other guidance lessons. We are very pleased that we now have the capacity to provide systematic, explicit teaching and practice of critical social, emotional, and behavioral skills to all of our students on a consistent basis. Our talented Guidance Counselors, Luz Uribe and Ashley Rosenfield, began teaching Second Step (Tza’ad Kadimah) lessons earlier this month and will continue delivering lessons approximately twice a month using puppets, songs, photos, videos, interactive games and discussion, and partner work. Teachers are also present to take part in the learning together with their students and model and reinforce skills and concepts throughout the school day.

Second Step is a comprehensive SEL program created by The Committee for Children that is widely used in school settings across the country and in the D.C. area. Research shows that SEL not only increases children’s social-emotional competence and improves their relationships with others, it also supports student’s readiness to learn and academic success in the classroom. There are four core components to the Second Step curriculum that students will learn and practice at each grade level. The foundational unit is Skills for Learning, which includes tools for self-regulation, active listening, focusing attention, communicating assertively, using self-talk, and following directions. The next major building block is a unit on Empathy that teaches students to recognize and understand their own, as well as others, feelings and to respond with sensitivity and compassion to one another. The third unit explores Emotion Management, especially during challenging situations, and teaches pro-social coping skills to calm down and think clearly, in order to problem-solve. The final unit in the program focuses on positive Friendship Skills and non-judgmental Problem-Solving steps to reach safe and respectful solutions as students navigate increasingly more complex social interactions.

We look forward to continuing to be in touch with families throughout the school year as this meaningful program unfolds and to sharing specific information with you about your child’s classroom lessons, so that you can continue the conversation on important topics and practice skills at home. In the meantime, please visit the Second Step website for more details and don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Luz, or Ashley with any questions.