NEW YORK, NY, OCTOBER 5, 2016—ExpandED Schools, New York City nonprofit dedicated to closing the learning gap, has received a $1 million, three-year grant from the New York Life Foundation. The funding will help to strengthen social-emotional learning in middle school students attending high-poverty schools. Social-emotional skills include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and growth mindset, to name a few, and they are necessary for success throughout life—be it in the classroom, the workplace or in a family setting. Furthermore, research shows that social-emotional skills are foundational to the development of academic skills.
The grant will support social-emotional learning (SEL) in after-school and expanded learning time programs in eight middle schools, four in New York City (PS 188 The Island School, Queens United Middle School, FDA V Middle School and Village Academy) and four in two other cities to be selected, ultimately reaching 2,000 students. During the course of the grant, ExpandED Schools will support schools and their community partners in implementing evidence-based practices that foster students' social and emotional development.
As one component of the grant, teams of educators from each school-community partnership will receive training in RULER, an evidence-based approach developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence for integrating SEL into schools, and then train the entire school community in this approach. Studies show that SEL programs can have a positive impact on school climate and promote a host of academic, social and emotional benefits for students, including an average 11-percentile point increase on achievement scores. These positive impacts are particularly important for middle school students, as they prepare for the transition to high school.
“In recent years there has been a growing body of research that points to the importance of developing social emotional skills in children and teens and the impact it has on learning and academic achievement," said Marlyn Torres, Senior Program Officer, New York Life Foundation. “ExpandED Schools is a leader in the field of afterschool and expanded learning time programs and will work with schools to help translate the research and theory and put it into practice.”
“We are grateful for the support of the New York Life Foundation and their shared conviction that in order to improve a child's educational outcome, we must look at the whole child,” said Lucy Friedman, President and Founder of ExpandED Schools. “Social-emotional skills have been defined as everything you are judged upon during an employee review. Looking at it in that context, it becomes imperative to do everything we can to foster and cultivate these skills in young people.”
“FDAV's mission is to teach the whole child to excel in high school, college and career, ready with the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. This means more than just academics. Our students do not all come into school with the socio-emotional understanding needed for today's competitive global marketplace. As middle schoolers, they are also learning who they are and deciding who they want to be,” said Dena Zamore, Principal at Frederick Douglass Academy V. “With a strong SEL program, we can support students to define themselves as scholars worthy and able to be lifelong learners and earners with strong interpersonal skills and a desire to be successful.”
This is the third grant The New York Life Foundation has awarded to ExpandED Schools. Past grants have supported the organization's expanded learning time model, which expands the school day and partners schools with community-based organizations in order to provide students with more role models and enriched learning, such as robotics, debate, band and dance.
ABOUT EXPANDED SCHOOLS
ExpandED Schools is a NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to closing the learning gap by increasing access to enriched education experiences. In school, after school and during the summer, ExpandED Schools reimagines learning time, seeking to ensure that all kids have opportunities to discover their talents and develop their full potential. Since its founding in 1998, when it created the nation's first citywide system of K-12 after-school programming, the organization has expanded opportunities for more than 800,000 kids in the belief that all children, from every zip code, deserve opportunities to discover their talents and develop their full potential. To learn more, please visit www.expandedschools.org.
ABOUT THE NEW YORK LIFE FOUNDATION
Inspired by New York Life's tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $220 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.