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Sanford Harmony Program Achieves National SELect Designation from CASEL for it’s Quality Social Emotional Learning Program

The Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation’s top evaluator of SEL evidence-based programs; Sanford Harmony is reaching more than 1 million students through a university network led by the private, nonprofit National University System

LA JOLLA, Calif. –  The Sanford Harmony program, which is reaching more than 1 million PreK-6 students through a university network led by the private, nonprofit National University System, has been recognized as a leader in social emotional learning by the nation’s pre-eminent organization that evaluates such programs, the Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Only a select number of evidence-based programs achieve recognition after undertaking the organization’s rigorous evaluation process, and the achievement affirms the Sanford Harmony program’s dedication to student success.

Sanford Harmony, now included as a SELect program in CASEL’s listing of Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs, offers a comprehensive toolkit of lessons and activities that encourage the development of skills in communication, collaboration, and mutual respect among all children. The program, which addresses CASEL’s five core social emotional learning competencies, aligns with research findings that these approaches support student academic achievement and positive outcomes; It is being offered at no cost to nonprofit organizations and schools – including some of the largest districts in the country – thanks to the generous support of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the visionary of the program.

“We are so very pleased to earn this recognition from CASEL, which affirms the high quality standards of the Sanford Harmony program and provides teachers and educators access to proven social emotional learning approaches that strengthen student development and achievement,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System. “We are particularly grateful and honored to offer this program at no cost to students, teachers and nonprofit schools, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Sanford, one of America’s greatest philanthropists.”

The recognition aligns with a national evaluation of Sanford Harmony, which was conducted independently from the CASEL process, by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and that supports the wide-scale adaptability of the program. Said National University President Dr. David Andrews: “The recognition by CASEL and exploration by other researchers reflects our dedication to ensuring the ongoing advancement Sanford Harmony program and our commitment to the program’s positive impact.”

The initiative is being advanced through a network of universities coordinated through the National University System, including National University that houses one of the Top Ten largest schools of education in the country. University’s Sanford College of Education prepares more teachers for credentials than any other university in the state of California and it is nationwide the third largest conveyer of master’s degrees in education. Universities that have joined the National University System as part of the expansion effort to regions around the country include City University of Seattle, which is also part of the National University System, Long Island University, Touro State College, Bellevue University, Texas A & M International, City University of Seattle, South Dakota State, Nova Southeastern University, East Carolina University, University of South Dakota, and Northwestern College.

Based on Mr. Sanford’s desire to improve relationships among children into adulthood, Sanford Harmony supports positive peer interactions through a comprehensive, research-based toolkit of lessons and activities that includes grade-specific plans, storybooks, and other resources. Online resources are also available in Spanish and through a Sanford Harmony mobile app, Sanford SEL. The program program’s successful expansion has been supported through public and private donations totaling about $70 million, with about $30 million from Mr. Sanford, and $10 million from National University.

The program is available to public, charter and private schools, and it is being expanded to some of the largest school districts in the country, including New York City; Houston; San Antonio; Sacramento, Calif; Clark County, Nevada; Broward County, Florida, and Los Angeles, Calif. The program is also being advanced through organizations such as Magnet Schools of America, Las Vegas After-School All-Stars, LA’s Best After School Enrichment, LA All Stars, Dallas YMCA, and Best Buddies International.

“We have consistently heard from teachers and educators around the country about how pleased they are to see the results of Sanford Harmony in their classrooms,” said Scott Page, Executive Director of the Sanford Education Programs through National University System. “Receiving this recognition from CASEL is an honor, and it demonstrates our commitment to holding the highest standards of excellence in social emotional learning.”

Criteria used by CASEL to review social and emotional learning programs includes demonstrating comprehensive approaches for promoting students’ development across five core social-emotional competencies, with an emphasis on consistency, quality, training/support, and with at least one carefully conducted evaluation that includes a comparison group and that demonstrates a significantly positive impact on student behavioral outcomes.

About the National University System
The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students that includes National University, John F. Kennedy University, City University of Seattle, and the Division of Pre-College Programs. Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century, the network’s complementary universities offer pathways for students to attain professional and terminal degrees through quality and innovative programs delivered in a format that is flexible to the needs of adult learners. The anchor institution, National University, was founded in in 1971 and is among the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California with more than 150,000 alumni. For more information on the National University System: https://www.nusystem.org/

About the Sanford Education Center and Programs
The Sanford Education Center at National University was established in 2014 through the generous support of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to provide innovative programs in the nonprofit and PreK-12 sectors. The Center, in coordination with universities around the country, is leading the national expansion of three initiatives: Sanford Harmony, Sanford Inspire and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy. The Center’s initiatives are supported by National University, which is home to the Sanford College of Education, and the National University System. Learn more: www.nu.edu/SanfordEducationCenter