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Canyons School District to expand social-emotional learning program

The Second Step curriculum is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. Photo: YouTube

SANDY — The Canyons School District is planning on expanding the Second Step program, which teaches elementary and middle school students how to deal with any emotional problems they may be experiencing.

Responsive Services Director BJ Weller thinks social media may be stressing kids out.

“We have certainly seen a lot of anxiety, depression, [and] a lot of kids who are not able to self regulate their emotions,” Weller said.

The Second Step program uses classroom lessons to teach kids how to handle social or emotional issues. It also encourages children to be more open with adults about what they’re feeling at any time.

Weller says their campuses who already use the program report lower levels of student stress.

“The byproduct of that is we’ll have less kids who are suicidal, or experiencing acute anxiety or chronic anxiety in the schools. They’ll feel like the whole culture of the school is safe,” Weller said.

Utah requires districts to teach character lessons, and this program fills that requirement.

If the school board approves a plan tonight, Second Step will be rolled out on all campuses within the next three years.