Second Step® Elementary and Second Step® Middle School Digital Program Updates for the 2023–2024 School Year
What happened on June 23, 2023?
Lesson materials and resources in the Second Step Elementary and Second Step Middle School digital programs were updated, along with a full class reset (for more about the class reset, visit Annual Class, Training, and Reporting Reset FAQs—June 2023).
Annual lesson updates coincide with the end of the school year to minimize interference during times when they are actively being taught. Updates that are not lesson-specific also happen throughout the year—for example, to add new supplemental or reinforcement resources to the program. The following summary includes updates made on June 23, updates previously made during the 2022–2023 school year, and updates that are expected this summer and fall for the 2023–2024 school year.
How can I learn more about the new program improvements and updates?
Watch this video featuring Senior Product Manager Miloshi Mehta for a quick overview of the program changes, and this video featuring Product Manager Amanda Page that outlines the new Leader Dashboard and Implementation Guide updates for administrators and leaders.
Updates to the Second Step® Elementary and Second Step® Middle School Digital Programs
- We improved some images to make lessons higher quality, easier to understand, and reflective of more students’ cultures and backgrounds.
New Implementation Guide
- Site administrators will now see the new Implementation Guide on their dashboards when they log in. The Implementation Guide replaced the Principal Toolkit, but all toolkit contents are still available in the guide.
- We improved the organization of implementation resources to be more intuitive and streamlined so leaders can find what they need and take actionable next steps within a few minutes.
- We added new supports to help district and school leaders more efficiently define their Second Step implementation visions and goals, communicate to staff about the programs, and create teacher buy-in.
- We added resources with examples to lighten the load when leaders build their goals and monitoring and evaluation plans.
Updates to the Second Step® Elementary Digital Program
Mae and Mateo video in Grade 1
- Having received frequent requests from educators for more Mae and Mateo videos, we’re pleased to introduce a new two-part Mae and Mateo video in Grade 1 to strengthen the program with more authentic and engaging learning experiences for our younger students.
Learner supports for goal-setting and neuroplasticity
- We revised some Unit 1 and 2 lessons in Grades 4 and 5. More scaffolding and learning support in upper elementary grades will support students encountering content in Unit 1, specifically neuroplasticity in third grade and goal-setting in fourth and fifth grade, and more age-appropriate and relatable examples will be provided for goal-setting in the school year.
- We revised lessons and handouts in Grades 3–Grade 5. The Grade 3, Lesson 1 handout and lesson and updated content in the Unit 1 goal-setting lessons in Grades 4 and 5 will also enhance learner supports for these topics.
- We added morning announcements to help schools incorporate the programs as a day-to-day practice and embrace them as an integral part of the school environment.
Updates to Second Step® Middle School
New unit plans
- We added new unit plans so educators can quickly preview or revisit the purpose, content, and flow of an entire unit. Additionally, unit plans that encompass all grades (for example, Unit 1 for Grades 6–8) will be provided for counselors and staff who teach multiple grades.
- We revised select lessons’ scenarios examples to increase their relevancy to middle school students.
Why are you updating the Second Step® Elementary and Second Step® Middle School digital programs?
Second Step digital programs are held to a high bar of quality and integrity in continuous program improvement. Our digital format allows us to capture more feedback and make updates more frequently than with the physical, print-based programs we offer. The extent of improvements depends on the availability of new research about the topics we cover, client feedback, and our longer-term program improvement plans.
Our five commitments to quality and integrity in continuous improvement include the engagement of in-house research scientists as well as partnership with external grant-funded research on our programs, adherence to an equity framework, engagement with standing advisory groups, and utilization of usage data and user feedback as part of an intentional, ongoing practice. You can learn more about our five commitments in this blog post.
What resources were added prior to this update during the 2022–2023 school year?
As a reminder, during the 2022–2023 school year, program updates included the addition of these resources:
- Learning reinforcement tools: A substantial number of supplemental and reinforcement activities were added to the Second Step Elementary digital program to provide educators more flexibility. The program now includes 82 Brain Builder activities, 36 extension activities, seven songs, and two playlists of 36 Mind Yeti® mindfulness sessions to help with transitions and other needs throughout the day.
- Spanish-language support: With updates to Spanish-language materials and additional languages, both programs can be fully taught in Spanish or English.
- Translated materials for families: Translated Home Links were added to better communicate with families who speak Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Korean, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
- Resources for educators teaching in multiple classrooms and across grades: Planning tools were added to the Second Step Elementary and Second Step Middle School digital programs to help with time management and scheduling, review of unit plans across grades, logging of reflections, and partnering with classroom teachers.
- Training resources: A scavenger hunt was added to build staff familiarity with Second Step resources, and a training certificate was added for instructors who complete program training.
- Progress reporting improvements: For staff who have Second Step administrator roles, lesson progress reporting was updated to provide quicker access to data, and resources were added to help use the data in a way that improves fidelity and beneficial outcomes.
More detailed information about these 2022–2023 resource updates is included in the programs when you select Program Supports, then Program Updates.
What additional back-to-school updates will happen after June 24?
- Site admins will be able to download a single report that shows lesson progress for all their schools.
- We’re adding an administrator experience webinar.
- Beginning this summer, Second Step clients will access implementation webinars in the same way they access other program resources: by logging in with their usual credentials. Implementation webinars will no longer be publicly accessible.
How will these program updates affect teachers?
When teachers first log in after June 23, they may wish to give themselves some additional time to:
- Set up new classes
- Review updated training and support materials
- Review the lessons
Teachers familiar with the elementary program may notice:
- Better success when working through goal-setting with their students, as the new approach is more intuitive, engaging, and relevant
- Improved lesson engagement in Grade 1 with media additions including a Mae and Mateo video, and an enhanced learning experience throughout all grades with high-quality, context-specific images
- Access to both the English and Spanish versions of the curriculum at the same time
Teachers familiar with the middle school program may notice:
- Notifications pointing them to the new unit plans
- The Principal Toolkit will no longer appear within the elementary or middle school digital programs; administrators will now have access from their new Leader Dashboard
- Materials that are more relatable to students from a developmental standpoint, leading to improved engagement and impact
- High-quality and context-specific images throughout to provide an improved and more engaging teaching and learning experience
- Ability to access the English- and Spanish-language versions of the curriculum at the same time
Resources are included to help educators prepare to teach the programs. Before teaching a new unit, we recommend educators watch the Quick Start Guide video and read the unit plan. Before teaching a lesson, we recommend educators read the Lesson Plan and Prep & Extend, preview the lesson presentations and watch any videos, and print out copies of any Student Handouts or prepare them for online distribution.
The lessons are designed to draw on students’ life experiences while helping them understand new concepts and develop new skills. Teaching the full lesson will set students up to meet that lesson’s learning objective. Educators can and should make adaptations to lessons to best suit their students’ needs, as long as these adaptations align with the lesson objective and preserve the overall intention of the lesson.
How will these program updates affect Second Step® administrators?
- Implementation resources that are easier to find, more helpful, and easier to use will give administrators and leaders more tools and capacity to support the programs’ success.
- When administrators log in, notifications will give them guidance and suggestion, such as, “Watch this new tutorial . . .”
- With more progress reporting views and guidance, it will be easier for administrators and leaders to use progress data to improve program implementation.
- Administrators will have a new experience within the dashboard, including role-specific pages and navigation, while still being able to switch over to My Programs easily if needed. They will have the option to view our new admin experience tutorial video or click around in the site to find what they need or be prompted to schedule a call with us or sign up for an administrator webinar.
- Administrators will be able to monitor onboarding via a new snapshot feature that helps highlight user registration status (who’s invited, who’s logged in, who’s created a class or taught a K–8 lesson or completed a Second Step® SEL for Adults microlearning), which then links to an in-depth user management page.
- Administrators will now only need to roster staff at a site once regardless of how many Second Step programs are assigned to that site. This allows school and district leaders to easily distinguish which licenses are assigned to a site, manage which staff members are using Second Step programs, and monitor each school’s learning progress.
- Admins can now easily monitor if their staff are logging in and using their Second Step programs on the user management page. The new Last Logged In column lets administrators know how recently their staff logged in to access their Second Step programs.