Benicia Unified School District

The Second Step Program is a small group focusing on social and emotional educational. Small groups of 2-4 selected students grades Kindergarten through Fifth meet weekly for 40 minutes during school hours. The groups are composed of similar-aged children and are carefully selected to optimize each child’s success and comfort level. During this time, the specially trained Second Step guidance assistant facilitates the group in practicing social skills with their peers. As they practice, they are supported by material from the research-based Second Step Curriculum, which is also available to teachers to implement in all K-3 classrooms and in many Benicia preschools.

The core of these lessons teach vital skills children need to succeed in both the academic and social environments, including social problem solving, emotional management, and empathy. Small groups also utilize a variety of games, role-playing, sharing time, and positive reinforcement to encourage group unity and supplement Second Step learning. Our goal is to create a safe atmosphere for each student to practice their skills and learn.

Who is referred?

The Second Step Small Group program is for children who may be experiencing difficulties with making/keeping friends, peer conflict, feeling uncomfortable at school, excessive shyness or withdrawal, impulse control issues, difficulty managing emotions, and coping with changes at home. Students participating will have the ability to participate in a group setting, which requires cooperation, willingness, and some level of focus.

This program is based on a prevention model in that it seeks to serve students who demonstrate mild to moderate adjustment challenges in hopes that early difficulties will be addressed before they become potentially more significant later on. Students may be referred to Second Step Small Group by anyone in the community (including family), but are primarily referred by their teachers. In fact, the Second Step facilitator meets with all teachers at the beginning of each school year and maintains consistent communication throughout the year.

About the Second Step Guidance Assistant

The Second Step Guidance Assistant is a specifically trained and supervised adult who demonstrates personal maturity as well as experience with and the innate ability to relate well to children. Our Guidance Assistant has been in their role for more than seven years. They facilitate the small groups at each grade level at all four elementary sites! Our Second Step Guidance Assistant truly loves the groups of students and has an amazing talent for seeing individual needs and growth within the group setting. They participate in bi-monthly group trainings with the coordinator.

To learn more about the research in support of Second Step, please visit: Second Step Research