December 3, 2018
Thought leaders from school districts, education advocacy groups and youth organizations recently gathered in San Diego for the Sanford Harmony Forum on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to discuss how educators can incorporate social emotional learning approaches to improve school culture, reduce student trauma and address equity in education.
The Nov. 2 event forum featured speakers from around the country who shared developments in practice, policy and research, with breakout sessions for collaborative discussions and sharing of best practices. Welcomed by National University System Chancellor Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, the Sanford Harmony Forum attendees also had the chance to learn more about the history of the PreK-6 research-based Sanford Harmony, which is being made available at no cost to educators and nonprofits, and reaching more than 1.5 million students.
Social emotional learning approaches, as offered by Sanford Harmony through the private, nonprofit National University System, provide a foundation to support student development and growth, and various studies have demonstrated social emotional learning contributes to more positive academic and personal outcomes for children into adulthood. Sanford Harmony forum speakers included a representative from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which evaluates and recognizes high quality social emotional learning programs, and recently designated Sanford Harmony as a SELect program. Some of the topics discussed by invited speakers included:
Addressing a need to advance social emotional learning skills, Sanford Harmony offers strategies, stories, activities, and lessons for encouraging students to strengthen communication and collaboration skills aimed at reducing stereotypes and embracing differences. The National University System – which is home to one of the largest schools of education in the country and includes pre-college programs and higher education institutions – has overseen the program’s national expansion effort since 2014. At the recent Forum, National University System Chancellor Cunningham praised philanthropist T. Denny Sanford for his role as the program’s visionary and his ongoing support, including a recent donation of $100 million to the National University System to expand the program even further.