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Second Step

Overview

Second Step is currently the only Character Development Curriculum mandated in grades K-5 in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.  Since it's district-wide adoption in the 2002-03 school year, over 250 teachers have been trained to use the program with fidelity in their classrooms and hundred of classroom kits have been purchased and distributed to every elementary school site. 

The Second Step program is a science-based, research-validated, classroom-based social skills program for preschool through junior high students (4 to 14 years old). It is proven to reduce aggressive behaviors and increases children's social-emotional competence and build character.

Group discussion, modeling, coaching, and practice are used to increase students' social competence, and decision-making, self-regulation, and positive goal setting skills. The program’s lesson content varies by grade level and is organized into three skill-building units covering:

  • Empathy: teaches young people to recognize and identify their own emotions and those of others
  • Impulse control and problem solving: helps young people choose positive goals and evaluate consequences of their behavior in terms of safety, fairness, and impact on others
  • Anger/emotion management: enables young people to manage their emotional reactions so that they can make good decisions about their social responses

Lessons in the Second Step program are based on class discussion and skill practice, and are accompanied by scripted lesson guides. Teachers model the skills and children practice them. Lessons for Preschool through Grade 5 are based on interpersonal situations depicted in 11x17-inch black-and-white photo-lesson cards, videos, and other multi media materials.  All lessons contain recommendations for ways to transfer skills beyond the classroom and practice and reinforce them during regular school activities. To promote transfer of learning, posters listing anger management and problem-solving steps are provided. In addition, the curricula for Preschool through Grade 5 contain a parent education video designed to orient families to the Second Step program.