A Nation at Hope, released in January 2019 by the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, spurred a national conversation about how young people learn. The central idea of the Commission’s work deeply resonated with the experience of families, educators, and community leaders alike: that children learn best when they are treated as whole people with social and emotional, and academic needs.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Commission’s report, America’s Promise Alliance invited thought leaders, including Professor Sprague Martinez, along with Alliance partners and funders for a one-day event, Growing the Whole Child Movement Convening: A Year After A Nation at Hope, to share how their work in research, practice, communications, and policy is furthering a whole child approach and impacting young people’s lives.
Professor Sprague Martinez, sharing her expertise in community and youth-led research and action, hosted the session, Centering Youth and Community Voices. Featuring a moderated youth-only panel, it highlighted the experiences of youth who have been a part of educational environments that infuse social, emotional, and academic development in their day-to-day work. The professor’s focus is to begin to build a bridge between young people’s experiences and policy environment/policy change.
The final report from the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development includes recommendations in research, practice, and policy for helping states and local communities close the gap between what we know about how learning happens and the learning experiences that young people are engaged in every day.