Second StepⓇ Elementary

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Program description

Second Step: Elementary Curriculum, offered by the Committee for Children, provides a lesson-based approach to SEL. It includes programming for grades K-5 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness in grades K-4. Programming for prek and middle school are also available from Second Step. Translated materials for Second Step: Elementary Curriculum are available in Spanish.

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      • SEL lessons
      • Positive classroom management
      • SEL generalization
      • Shared agreements
      • Systemic support for SEL
      • Activities and Resources for Home
    • Onsite in-person training
    • Virtual training
    • Offsite training
    • Train the trainer model
    • Administrator support
    • Coaching
    • Technical assistance
    • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
    • Online resource library
    • Self-report tools for monitoring implementation
    • Observational tools
    • Tools for measuring student success

Evidence of effectiveness

Results from several randomized control trials support the effectiveness of the Second Step Elementary program for diverse elementary school students at decreasing problem behaviors and emotional distress, as well as improving positive social behaviors. Second Step Elementary has also demonstrated effectiveness with students at risk for behavioral challenges.
Results from a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted in the 1993-1994 school year (published in 1997) supported the effectiveness of Second Step for elementary students. This evaluation included 588 grade 2 and 3 students enrolled in schools in the US West region (predominantly white). Students who participated in the program had greater reductions in observer-reported physically aggressive behaviors compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 9 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pre-test).

Results from a randomized control trial (RCT) published in 2005 (Frey et al.) supported the effectiveness of Second Step for elementary students. This evaluation included 898 grade 2 and 4 students enrolled in suburban and urban schools in the US West region (predominantly white, Asian American = 18%, Black = 12%). Students who participated in the program demonstrated improvements in teacher-reported social behaviors and student-reported prosocial goals compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 2 years after baseline while controlling for outcome pre-test and relevant covariates).
Results from a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted in the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school year (published in 2005; Schick & Cierpka) supported the effectiveness of Second Step for elementary students. This evaluation included 335 grade 1 and 3 students enrolled in urban and suburban schools in Germany. Students who participated in the program had greater reductions in parent-reported anxious/depressive behaviors compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 9 months).

Results from a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted in the 2012-2013 school year (published in 2015) supported the effectiveness of Second Step for elementary students. This evaluation included 7,300 K through grade 2 students enrolled in rural and urban schools in the US Southwest and West (approximately half of the sample were race/ethnic minority students; 50-78% students eligible for FRPL). Students who participated in the program had greater reductions in teacher-reported emotional problems and hyperactivity, as well as greater improvements in teacher-reported learning skills compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 1 year after baseline while controlling for outcome pre-test). The influence of the Second Step Elementary program was especially strong on reductions in hyperactivity and improvements in learning skills for students with greater pre-existing problem behaviors.

Results from a randomized control trial (RCT) follow up study conducted the next school year (2013-2014; published in 2019) supported the longitudinal effectiveness of Second Step for elementary students. This evaluation included 4,649 K through grade 3 students enrolled in rural and urban schools in the US Southwest and West (50-78% students eligible for FRPL). As demonstrated previously (2015), students who participated in the program had fewer teacher-reported emotional problems and hyperactivity, as well as greater teacher-reported learning skills compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 2 years after baseline while controlling for outcome pre-test).

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  • Evidence shown in grades
    K, 1, 2, 3, 4
    School characteristics
      • Rural
      • Urban
      • Southwest
      • West
      • Non-US location
    Student characteristics
    • Asian / Asian American
    • Black / African American
    • Hispanic / Latinx
    • White
    • Multi-racial / other
    • Low income
    Percentage Low Income
    • Eligible for FRPL: 78%
    • Improved academic performance
    • Reduced emotional distress
    • Improved identity development and agency
    • Reduced problem behaviors
    • Improved school climate
    • Improved school connectedness
    • Improved social behaviors
    • Improved teaching practices
    • Improved other SEL skills and attitiudes

How does Second StepⓇ Elementary support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“The Second Step family of SEL programs help transform schools into supportive and successful learning environments uniquely equipped to help children thrive. ​ It offers a holistic approach to SEL, one that contributes to a more empathetic society by providing families, school-based educators, out-of-school-time professionals, and the larger community.”

Get info and pricing on the provider’s website

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References

  • Accepted by CASEL
  • Frey, K. S., Nolen, S. B., Edstrom, L. V. S., & Hirschstein, M. K. (2005). Effects of a school-based social-emotional competence program: Linking children’s goals, attributions, and behavior. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 171-200.

  • Grossman, D. C., Neckerman, H. J., Koepsell, T. D., Liu, P., Asher, K. N., Beland, K., Rivara, F.P. (1997). Effectiveness of a violence prevention curriculum among children in elementary school: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 277, 1605-1611.

  • Low, S., Cook, C. R., Smolkowski, K., & Buntain-Ricklefs, J. (2015). Promoting social–emotional competence: An evaluation of the elementary version of Second Step. Journal of school Psychology, 53, 463-477.

  • Low, S., Smolkowski, K., Cook, C., & Desfosses, D. (2019). Two-year impact of a universal social-emotional learning curriculum: Group differences from developmentally sensitive trends over time. Developmental Psychology, 55, 415-433.

  • Schick, A., & Cierpka, M. (2005). Faustlos: Evaluation of a curriculum to prevent violence in elementary schools. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 11 157-165.

  • Other references
  • Cooke, M. B., Ford, J., Levine, J., Bourke, C., Newell, L., & Lapidus, G. (2007). The effects of city-wide implementation of “Second Step” on elementary school students’ prosocial and aggressive behaviors. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 93-115.

  • Edwards, D., Hunt, M. H., Meyers, J., Grogg, K. R., & Jarrett, O. (2005). Acceptability and student outcomes of a violence prevention curriculum. Journal of Primary Prevention, 26, 401-418.

  • Holsen, I., Smith, B. H., & Frey, K. S. (2008). Outcomes of the social competence program Second Step in Norwegian Elementary Schools. School Psychology International, 29, 71-88.

  • Holsen, I., Iversen, A. C., & Smith, B. H. (2009). Universal social competence promotion programme in school: Does it work for children with low socio-economic background? Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2, 51-60.

  • Orpinas, P., Parcel, G. S., Mcalister, A., & Frankowski, R. (1995). Violence prevention in middle schools: A pilot evaluation. Journal of Adolescent Health, 17, 360-371.

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