What is Social-Emotional Learning?
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is how children and adolescents learn and apply knowledge and skills to develop healthy identities and confidence, set and achieve goals, manage feelings, work and play with others, show empathy, make responsible and caring decisions, and solve problems. Through SEL, students are better able to learn and contribute to a positive school environment. These skills are what build foundational knowledge to support the Profile of an LCPS Graduate and career readiness skills.
Benefits of SEL
What are the benefits of implementing social-emotional learning in schools? Research has found that students participating in evidence-based SEL programs have:
Improved attitudes about self, others, and school
Positive classroom behavior
Academic performance in reading and math (11 percentile-point gain)
Reduced Risks of Failure
Source: Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K. (2011) The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development: 82 (1), 405-432.
What is Second Step SEL?
Adopted by LCPS in 2019, the Second Step® program is a universal, evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum taught by classroom teachers of students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Students learn and practice critical social-emotional and executive functioning skills that support student success in school while preparing them for everyday life. Second Step includes four teacher-led units, each with five to eight interactive lessons. Family communications accompany each Second Step lesson, providing lesson summaries and prompts to reinforce the learning at home.
The following units are covered in the Second Step curriculum:
Elementary (Kindergarten - Grade 5)
Growth Mindset and Goal-Setting
Empathy and Kindness
Middle School (Grade 6-8)
Mindsets and Goals
Recognizing Bullying and Harassment
Thoughts, Emotions, and Decisions
Managing Relationships and Social Conflict
Second Step SEL is implemented in all elementary schools and will be fully implemented in middle schools by the 2023-2024 school year.
Family Curriculum Access
Families have access to viewing all lessons and family engagement materials in the Second Step Elementary and Second Step Middle School curriculums through their own Second Step account. Create your Second Step account by visiting secondstep.org and entering your school access code. For more information about your school's code, please contact your school administration. (Directions: How to Create a Second Step Account)
High School SEL
LCPS has not adopted Second Step or other curriculums to teach SEL in high schools, yet there are many
ways schools are addressing social-emotional learning and mental wellness through school-wide campaigns
and classroom lessons, including: School Counseling Lessons and Advisory Lessons; Sources of Strength
and other student leadership groups; and Positive Experiences in Educational Relationships (PEER).
Visit the Virginia Department of Education information on SEL: VDOE Social-Emotional Learning