Social Emotional Learning at Lincoln Public Schools

Lincoln Public Schools aims to prepare each LPS student to be college, career and civic life ready.

LPS aids students’ development by utilizing research-based Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum across our school district. Our SEL curriculum is an opportunity for us to partner with families using similar language and strategies to help LPS students thrive personally, relationally and academically.

Learning is a collaboration between students, their families and educators. We created this page to help you partner with us in your child’s personal and academic growth.

You can use this information to learn more about Social Emotional Learning at Lincoln Public Schools. 

Teacher speaking with student

What is Social Emotional Learning at LPS?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines Social Emotional Learning as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

LPS utilizes the Second Step curriculum in grades PreKindergarten through seventh to aid our students in developing these skills. Second Step is a holistic approach to building supportive communities for every child with families being at the center.

The Second Step Program is:

  • A classroom-based social-emotional learning program with lessons and reinforcement activities designed to increase children’s school success and decrease problem behaviors.
  • It teaches skills that strengthen children’s ability to learn, have empathy, manage emotions, and solve problems. Having these skills creates a safer, more respectful learning environment that promotes school success for all.
  • The program achieves its goal by promoting social-emotional skills and self-regulation, or self-control. Research shows that children with good social-emotional and self-control skills have a better chance of achieving school and life success.

What grade levels receive SEL instruction?

At LPS, we strive to prepare students for success inside and outside of the classroom. This type of education starts early. Our Social Emotional Learning curriculum is taught in grades PreK-7. 

How is SEL taught at Lincoln Public Schools?

Social-Emotional Learning is integrated into the instructional day as instruction to foster student development. When there is correlation to Health Education, lessons are taught during Health instruction as well

How does SEL impact academic achievement?

As educators, we know as Social Emotional skills improve, so does success in the classroom.

Research shows the following benefits in teaching these essential life skills:

  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) links to academic skills and reduces risk.
  • 23% growth in SEL skills
  • 9% improvement in attitudes about self/others/school
  • 9% progress in pro-social behavior
  • 11% increase in academic math and reading standardized test performance
  • 9% decrease in behavioral problems
  • 10% reduction in emotional distress

Source: Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., and Schellinger, K. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development, 82, 405-4

What are the lesson timelines?

Our educators divide the Second Step program into four units covered each quarter. There are about 20 total lessons and usually five per unit.

Here’s an overview of the lesson plans:


  • Quarter 1: Skills for Learning
  • Quarter 2: Empathy
  • Quarter 3: Emotion Management, Friendship Skills and Problem Solving
  • Quarter 4: Friendship Skills, Problem Solving and Transitioning to Kindergarten

Elementary School

  • First Quarter: Growth Mindset and Goal Setting
    • Bullying Prevention for grades kindergarten through fifth grade
  • Second Quarter: Emotion Management
    • Child Protection for grades pre-kindergarten through first grade
  • Third Quarter: Empathy and Kindness
  • Fourth Quarter: Problem Solving

Middle School

  • Unit 1: Mindset and Goals
  • Unit 2: Recognizing Bullying and Harassment
  • Unit 3: Thoughts, Emotions and Decisions
  • Unit 4: Managing Relationships and Social Conflict



Contact Cara Lucas-Richt, Director of Early Childhood at

Elementary (K – 5th grade)

Contact Lori Hemmett, Supervisor, Counseling and School Social Work at


Contact Matt Avey, LPS Health Curriculum Specialist at