As schools and districts plan for a return to school in the fall of 2020, social emotional learning has a critical role to play in helping students cope with the trauma of the past few months and overcome the learning loss that occurred in the spring.  Over the past year,  Tyton Partners has been working on a rigorous study of social emotional learning availability, adoption, implementation, and perception. The following findings are based on a survey of 2,910 teachers, administrators and staff and interviews with dozens of providers in the SEL ecosystem.

While the research was primarily conducted in a pre-COVID world, we believe that “Finding Your Place: The Current State of K-12 Social Emotional Learning,” surfaces meaningful insights relevant to the moment. Notably, we found that while nearly all respondents report doing some form of SEL, those that report implementing an “integrated model” report the highest level of perceived progress.

Other key findings include:

  • Widespread adoption of social emotional learning is correlated with improved perceptions of progress towards an ideal environment in both schools and districts across seven different educational goals, including mental health and educational equity
  • The SEL supplier ecosystem is relatively immature, but notwithstanding near-term challenges from COVID-19, it is showing signs of evolution in a positive direction as indicated by signals including high market fragmentation and an emerging fundraising and investment environment
  • COVID-19 may serve as an inflection point to accelerate the adoption of SEL as schools focus on helping students overcome learning loss and cope with trauma; presuming that financial pressures are not so great as to de-prioritize SEL spending

As an advisory firm focused on the dynamics  of the education ecosystem, we work to study how the market evolves and support leaders as they make strategic decisions of impact and consequence.  We welcome you to reach out should you have any questions or wish to discuss how the current social emotional learning landscape creates opportunities for your organization. Please contact us here.

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