The concept is really quite simple: If a student is feeling insecure, depressed or fearful, or any other emotion that is at the root of concerning behaviors, chances are they aren’t learning at high levels. To the end of helping all students feel a sense of balance, which could improve achievement, Canyons District proposes the implementation of a social-emotional curriculum.
The “Second Step” curriculum, which is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), is being considered for adoption by the Canyons Board of Education. CSD’s Responsive Services Department, created to address the mental-health needs of CSD students, is spearheading the project.
Second Step’s evidence-based lessons would be for students ranging in age from kindergarten to eighth grade, and helps them manage their emotions, solve problems in a positive way, demonstrate empathy, and focus during class.
Some 26,000 schools across the country have implemented the curriculum, which is said to have been the catalyst for culture changes in schools and has helped even the most challenging students make progress.
Colorful streaming lessons, family engagement resources, and staff training are all a part of the proposed curriculum. Canyons parents can review some sample lessons here.
If approved, the curriculum would be rolled out over a period of several years, says BJ Weller, Director CSD’s Responsive Services. Teachers who have used this curriculum have expressed a stronger connection with their students, he said, which in turn has led to more in-depth and meaningful discussions about academic endeavors.
“We need a system where we can speak the same language when it comes to talking to students about problem-solving, building relationship and conflict resolutions, especially as students transition from elementary to middle school,” Weller said. “The lessons in this curriculum are designed specifically for each grade level and support each student at their appropriate developmental levels.”
Questions or comments about the curriculum can be sent to Bjweller@canyonsdistrict.org.