The National University System (NUS), which offers the nation’s fastest-growing PreK-6 social emotional learning (SEL) program—Sanford Harmony—today announced a new partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation), a national nonprofit that empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits. The partnership will focus on building awareness of the integral role social emotional learning plays in a child’s overall health and academic success through the promotion of Sanford Harmony to Healthier Generation’s extensive network of more than 42,000 schools and 3,500 youth-serving organizations. Healthier Generation and NUS, together, will provide much-needed support to teachers and schools while generating nationwide momentum for the importance of SEL in bolstering the physical, emotional, and mental health of young people.
The research-based Sanford Harmony social emotional learning program, which is based on the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, has been recognized as a leader in SEL by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the national organization that evaluates quality SEL programs. Reaching more than two million youth nationwide, Sanford Harmony activities and lessons develop healthy relationships among children that emphasize communication, collaboration, and respecting differences, complementing Healthier Generation’s focus on meeting the health needs of the whole child in all spaces where kids live, learn, and play.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Healthier Generation to expand access to Sanford Harmony’s innovative social emotional learning approaches that have been demonstrated to support student achievement and that are creating a strong foundation for a healthier, more collaborative society,” said National University System Chancellor Dr. Michael R. Cunningham. “Through partnerships like this one, we can have a greater impact on more students and strengthen the communities we serve while honoring Mr. Sanford’s grand vision and generous support.”
Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development report to the nation recently called for greater collaboration among organizations to address students’ social and emotional needs, including aligning efforts in the education sector with health-related areas for whole child health and development. This three-year partnership exemplifies a commitment to the children of this nation. Significantly, through its partnership with Sanford Harmony, Healthier Generation will continue to broaden its focus on children’s health—addressing quality nutrition, adequate physical activity, and positive social-emotional development—and support its vast network of school and out-of-school time staff in helping kids develop the necessary skills to reach their full potential. Healthier Generation will deepen its expertise on social-emotional health topics by launching a market research study to discover how best to communicate the benefits of social emotional learning to school and youth-serving organization leaders.
“Healthier Generation is committed to holistically addressing children’s health needs to ensure every child can thrive at school, at home, and in life,” said Healthier Generation CEO Kathy Higgins. “By partnering with Sanford Harmony and the National University System to expand access to their proven and effective social emotional learning program, we are better equipped to meet school and district leaders, as well as out-of-school time staff, where they are—delivering relevant and essential resources that align with our mission and add an important new dimension of our efforts to empower kids to live healthy lives.”
Based out of the National University System, Sanford Harmony is being offered at no cost to schools and youth-focused nonprofit organizations, such as Best Buddies and LA’s BEST, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Sanford, who last year expanded his financial support of the program through a $100 million donation. The program aligns with and expands on National University System’s educational programs that support teachers. The San Diego-based National University, which is part of the National University System, is home to one of the Top Ten largest schools of education in the country, the Sanford College of Education. Nationwide, Sanford has expanded to the nation’s largest school districts, including Los Angeles Unified School District, Dallas Independent School District, and New York City public schools.