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2nd Step program widely used in Nebraska

(KLZA)-- Following the Monday night Falls City School Board meeting there has been much discussion about the “2nd Step” program that was a topic brought forward during the “Audiences” portion of the meeting.

Following a number of comments from audience members the District 56 School Board voted to to suspend the 2nd Step curriculum, and allow the District Curriculum Director time to research other curriculum options.

The “2nd Step” program was used at Falls City Middle School for the first time during the current school year. It has been part of the curriculum in Pre-K - 5th grade for several years in Falls City.

Sandy Morrissey, Prevention Director with Region V Systems, says the program is widely utilized in Nebraska and other states. Morrissey told MSCNews the program was initiated through the Lincoln Public School System and it was highly successful. The program was modeled after a Texas program that was mandated to be used in all schools.

Once the program was successful in the Lincoln Public Schools, Region V began to work with rural schools on the Social, Emotional Learning. The program is used for Pre-K through 8th grade.

Morrissey says the goals of the “2nd Step” program is to work with kids K-8th grade and pre-school in regards to some emotional regulation, to help them feel they have some self-regulation over some of their feelings and are able to deal with conflict resolution and help with problem solving without getting overly emotional. It also helps with bullying kids deal with.

She says the program has a number of benefits in school and outside of school, including staying on track with academics, not worrying so much about friends and stress reduction. With younger children it helps with basic coping skills as they emotionally develop.

Speakers from the audience Monday night suggested “2nd Step” was dealing with topics including transgender, homosexuality and racism. Morrissey feels there has been some misinterpretation of the program. She said she has never seen in the curriculum, or heard of a school district talk about transgender or sexuality issues within social, emotional learning. The program could include information on accepting individuals for who they are and respecting one another.

Morrissey said she has been contacted about the program and that she is visiting with representatives of “2nd Step” to get a better understanding of the program.

The “2nd Step” program as utilized by District 56 is not a class for which students receive a grade and no homework is given.

The program is seen as a way to help teach kids how to better resolve conflict and help understand those that are different from you.

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