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Landmark Report: From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope

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    EL Education

"You cannot separate building scholarship from building character." Those were the words of Prishtina Gashi, a seventh grader, on stage for the debut of a landmark report "From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope" by The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (NCSEAD).

The insight at the heart of this report is that social, emotional, and academic development are inextricably linked. Research shows that when schools help students build character and scholarship in concert, student achievement flourishes in class and in life. This concept informs EL Education’s work in hundreds of schools, including Prishtina’s: Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC) in New London, Connecticut, a school in the EL Education network.


There is abundant evidence that when districts and schools explicitly and meaningfully commit to focusing on the students’ comprehensive development as a central part of their academic growth, the academic success and the welfare of students rise powerfully together. A Nation at Hope

“A Nation at Hope” represents the culmination of two years of collaborative effort, drawing on the input of more than 200 scientists, psychologists and researchers, educators, youth and parent groups, and policymakers. The authors recommend research, policy, and practice for holistically addressing social, emotional, and academic development in schools.

Discover “A Nation at Hope” here and take action using the three practice agendas that complete the report:

The commission and its partners unveiled the report during a release event that highlighted the voices of educators, students, community leaders, and scholars. Among them were Prishtina and her teacher Mike Kuczenski who presented their award-winning project “Community Faces,” in which students humanized immigrants and disrupted stereotypes while mastering a variety of rigorous academic skills. This project exemplifies the kind of social emotional and academic development validated in “A Nation at Hope.”

Watch Prishtina earn a standing ovation for her presentation at 1:16:31.

The reports present a small, select set of model schools and districts that exemplify this work, and two of those models are EL Education Schools: King Middle School and Springfield Renaissance School. The video series that accompanies the reports also features a third EL Education school, Codman Academy, in addition to King and Springfield Renaissance. The National Commission’s first case study, published in 2017, focused on Capital City Public Charter School, also an EL network school. The educators in these schools are doing pioneering work by educating the whole child and setting shining examples for schools everywhere.


Students, families, communities, and educators are demanding a more balanced approach to our vision of learning: One that recognizes learning is always social, emotional, and academic, and these strands cannot be teased apart. A Nation at Hope

We are proud to work alongside the Commission and hundreds of others named in the report in a growing movement dedicated to the social, emotional, and academic well-being of children. On the strength of its remarkable consensus, the “A Nation at Hope” report has the power to reshape learning and change lives across America.