Social-Emotional Learning at NTPS

  • At North Thurston Public Schools, our vision is clear: All students empowered and future-ready. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students’ ability to succeed in school, careers, and life. Extensive research shows a positive correlation between the skills taught throughout social emotional learning programs and positive behavior, academic achievement, and healthier life choices.

    Social emotional learning can be hard to understand exactly what it is and what it looks like in the classroom. SEL is:

    • Controlling impulses
    • Communicating clearly and assertively
    • Maintaining cooperative relationships
    • Making responsible decisions
    • Solving problems effectively
    • Recognizing emotions in oneself and others
    • Managing strong emotions
    • Having empathy for others

    Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, NTPS will fully implement Second Step SEL curriculum in grades PreK-5. Every elementary classroom has 20 minutes of SEL Time set in their daily schedule. This time will consist of both SEL lessons and Group Activities that foster community and build strong relationships. SEL Time will be modeled on The Morning Meeting framework. At the secondary level, several of our middle and high schools will be piloting SEL programs including 5 Radical MinutesSecond Step, 7 Mindsets, and Character Strong.

    Children learn SEL in a variety of ways, including the behavior they see modeled by the adults in their lives. But SEL can also be taught explicitly in the classroom, in much the same way math or reading is taught.

    Our district's SEL Curriculum Committee chose Second Step as our core SEL curriculum. Second Step's age-appropriate educational games, activities, and media engage students and set children on a path to lifelong success.

    Second Step SEL has been successfully implemented by over 26,000 schools worldwide. The curriculum is designed to align with WA state SEL competencies as well as our district initiatives.

    Second Step is an evidence-based curriculum and has been endorsed by numerous organizations, including the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and the Department of Education, for the quality of our research, training, and teacher and family support.

    For more information on SEL in our district, you may contact our Student Support Team at (360) 412-4484 or email at