Evangelista’s winning program, “Second Step: Social and Emotional Learning to Drive Student Achievement,” is a social-emotional and cognitive growth curriculum that harnesses the developmental power of empathy, emotion management, friendship skills and problem-solving across grade levels to best prepare students for academic achievement and success beyond the classroom. Walker Jones Education center currently utilizes the Responsive Classroom framework, but will benefit from incorporating a SEL curriculum (social and emotional learning) program to accelerate the pace of the school’s efforts to meet the needs of all of its children. Through Evangelista’s program, 310-500 students will be exposed to the tools they need to be socially and emotionally prepared to exhibit learning desire and motivation. The interactions between the students and teachers will improve, and their success will transcend school boundaries by building these skills so that students act on them with their families and in the community, with limitless impact. Evangelista, who lives in Silver Spring, Md., hopes the students will achieve the wherewithal to exercise autonomy and navigate their world gracefully.