Magazine article District Administration

Schools Are Reducing Bullying and Improving Academics with Social-Emotional Learning: The Second Step Program Empowers Schools to Create Positive Classroom Climates Where Students Thrive

Magazine article District Administration

Schools Are Reducing Bullying and Improving Academics with Social-Emotional Learning: The Second Step Program Empowers Schools to Create Positive Classroom Climates Where Students Thrive

Article excerpt

Recent media attention to bullying has thrust it into the forefront of educators', parents', and legislators' minds. In fact, every state but one has adopted anti-bullying legislation. By now, many school districts have developed and put into place policies and procedures that outline actions to take against bullying. These policies are necessary in setting the groundwork for promoting a safe, positive climate for students. However, schools also acknowledge that more needs to be done to bring about change in students' behaviors. The question is what can be done when educators are called on to do so much already. One solution is to implement a research-based social-emotional learning program that incorporates bullying prevention.

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Research-based curricula that teach social-emotional learning (SEL) help create physically and emotionally safe school environments where children can thrive socially and academically. According to a meta-analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, SEL programs improve students' attitudes and behavior and can increase academic performance by 11 percentile points. SEL programs also teach skills that can help your students resist bullying and build an overall positive climate within the school.

One of the most widely used SEL programs in the U.S. is Committee for Children's Second Step program. It includes easy-to-teach classroom lessons for early learning through eighth grade designed to enhance students' academic and social-emotional competence by building skills for learning, and empathy, emotion-management, social problem-solving, and self-regulation skills. Embedded within the units are topics such as friendship building and how to be assertive, which are also key skills in bullying prevention.

Because experiences during the early school years lay the foundation for ongoing peer relationships and can include a pattern of being bullied, Committee for Children has taken the innovative step of creating a Bullying Prevention Unit. …

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