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Social/Emotional Student Support

What is PBSES?


PBSES is an acronym for Positive Behavior and Social Emotional Support. This acronym is a combination of PBIS (Positive Behavior and Intervention Support) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). Research has found student outcomes improve in overall mental health and reductions in externalizing behaviors compared to only PBIS or only SEL conditions (Cook, 2013).

PBSES is not a curriculum, but a process of planning and problem solving that includes direct teaching of social behaviors just like academics are taught. Most importantly, it establishes ongoing behavior support that can be used by ALL students, staff, volunteers, caregivers, and community members.


The goal is to shift from a reactive and aversive approach of managing problem behavior to one that is preventative and positive. We work toward this by supporting all students, since every child entering school needs behavior support. Giving priority to empirically validated procedures and systems that have demonstrated effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance. We emphasize prevention in establishing and maintaining safe and supportive school climates. We work toward building a school environment where team building problem solving skills are expected, taught, and reinforced. The empirically validated procedures that we are forwarding are PBIS, SEL, Positive Relationships, and Proactive Classroom Management Strategies.

Our focus is on creating school environments that are positive and predictable, where students feel safe, have better academic performance, higher test results, and make better behavior choices. The PBSES framework which includes multi-tiered systems of support, evidence based practice, universal screening practices, progress monitoring, fidelity of implementation, data based decision making and problem-solving process is used for a guide to good practice and the lens that the student support coaches will take when approaching interventions for the school. Read more about PBSES on the Issaquah School District website.

About Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning is 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. SEL programming is based on the understanding that the best learning emerges in the context of supportive relationships that make learning challenging, engaging, and meaningful. Learn More about what Social Emotional Learning is.

What is Second Step?

Success in school is not just about reading and math. It is also about knowing how to learn and how to get along with others. Second Step is a social emotional learning curriculum that focuses on four key areas of social emotional learning.

The Second Step program teaches skills in the following four areas:

  1. Skills for Learning: Students gain skills to help themselves learn, including how to focus their attention, listen carefully, and be assertive when asking for help with schoolwork.
  2. Empathy: Students learn to identify and understand their own and others’ feelings. Students also learn how to take another’s perspective and how to show compassion.
  3. Emotion Management: Students learn specific skills for calming down when experiencing strong feelings, such as anxiety or anger.
  4. Problem Solving: Students learn a process for solving problems with others in a positive way.

Through this curriculum students learn ways to identify their own emotions and the emotions of others. Students gain skills in emotional regulation, problem solving, and perspective taking.

Learn more about Second Step.

Family Resources:

Please contact your child's counselor for additional information.

  • ParentTeen Connect – “Full of real voices and expert advice, this research-based resource is a must for parents and teens.”
  • Parent Tool Kit – This one-step resource for parents includes every aspect of your children’s development, health, academics, and relationships. Includes preschool through after high school, in both English and Spanish.
  • Casel – Ideas, websites, blogs, books, and newsletters for families on the topic of social emotional learning (SEL)
  • SEL for Caregivers – Short video from CASEL for caregivers wanting to learn more
  • Books for Caregivers – CASEL created list of books to support caregivers

PBSES at Home

  • Establish, teach, and model clear expectations in collaboration with family
  • Post expectations for all to see
  • Reward when child(ren) meets expectations – can be verbal or tangible
  • Preview when expectations will change (i.e. new environment)
  • Establish families meetings
  • Visually post expectations
  • Learn More about PBSES resources to use at home.