Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

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Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning in PVPUSD

PVPUSD is delivering Second Step lessons in all elementary schools and intermediate schools in grade K-8. Second Step provides instruction in social and emotional learning with units on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and problem solving. Second Step uses four key strategies to reinforce skill development: brain builder games (to build executive function), weekly theme activities, reinforcing activities, and home links. Teachers are encouraged to give children daily opportunities to practice.

Second Step is an evidence-based curriculum.

What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

All of these skills are necessary—both for educators and students—to function well in the classroom, in the community, and in college and careers.

While many teachers instinctively know that social and emotional skills are important, historically schools have been primarily focused on teaching academic content such as reading, math, science, and history, and less intentional about supporting the social and emotional skills that are so important to learning and life success.

There is a growing body of research proving that social and emotional learning (SEL) is fundamental to academic success, and must be woven into the work of every teacher in every classroom and every after school and summer enrichment program, if we truly want to prepare all our students for college and careers.

For more information on the CA Department of Education commitment to SEL, visit:

Why is Social Emotional Learning Important in Schools?

Students are more successful in school and daily life when they:

* Know and can manage themselves

* Understand the perspectives of others and relate effectively with them

* Make sound choices about personal and social decisions

* These social and emotional skills are some of several

short-term student outcomes that SEL pro­grams

promote (Durlak et al., 2011; Farrington et al., 2012;

Sklad et al., 2012).


Other benefits include:

* More positive attitudes toward oneself, others, and tasks including enhanced self-efficacy, confidence, persistence, empathy, connection and commitment to school, and a sense of purpose

* More positive social behaviors and relationships with peers and adults

* Reduced conduct problems and risk-taking behavior

* Decreased emotional distress

* Improved test scores, grades, and attendance


In the long run, greater social and emotional competence can increase the likelihood of high school graduation, readiness for postsecondary education, career success, positive family and work relationships, better mental health, reduced criminal behavior, and engaged citizenship (e.g., Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015).