Evaluation of Second Step Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

About the Program

Second Step is a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) program implemented in select SDP schools.  Short-term SEL program goals include (1) promoting students’ self-awareness, social awareness, relationship, and responsible decision-making skills and (2) improving students’ attitudes and beliefs about themselves, others, and school. These goals, in turn, provide a foundation for better adjustment and academic performance, as reflected in more positive social behaviors and peer relationships, fewer conduct problems, less emotional distress, and improved grades and test scores.

SEL programs are part of SDP’s tiered approach to supporting positive behaviors called Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS), which is led by the Office of School Climate and Safety (OSCS). The PBIS framework has three tiers: universal, targeted, and intensive. The first tier, universal, requires that schools develop and teach norms and expectations around behavior. SDP considers SEL programs to be Tier 1 strategies. Twenty schools implemented Second Step in 2018-19, with another 20 schools planning implementation in 2019-20.

About the Evaluation

ORE’s 2018-19 research brief examined the following research questions:

  1. Do teachers report implementing Second Step with fidelity?
  2. Do teachers feel adequately trained, prepared, and supported to implement Second Step?
  3. What benefits and challenges have teachers experienced with Second Step?
  4. What additional supports do teachers feel they need to implement Second Step successfully?

An evaluation of schools currently implementing Second Step is planned for 2019-20.

For More Information

Contact Kelly Linker, Research Specialist: klinker@philasd.org.