New Year 2019: A Letter From Our Founder


Written by Founder and CEO, Sara Potler LaHayne

To my Move This World Friends, Family and Partners:

Wow – looking back at 2018, it’s hard to believe so many things happened in just one year. Personally and professionally, it was a year of tremendous challenges and transitions. My family and I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and my office made the same move a few weeks later. We joined an AT&T Accelerator program and opened, and subsequently subscribed, our Series A funding. Our team grew to include new perspectives from former classroom teachers. We more than doubled our content library (for the second year in a row), responding to student and teacher feedback, further differentiating exercises by grade band, and elevating video production quality. Personally, I started to figure out how to be both a mom and a person in the world, able to lead the work and organization that are important to me while still finding time to sing Sadelle the change the diaper song (coming soon to Spotify), and make my dance class once she goes to bed.

It was also a year of political violence and upheaval. School shootings were once again at the forefront of our discussion about education. We saw more funding for school safety than ever, but still aren’t prioritizing the social and emotional wellbeing of students, teachers, and administrators at the level and urgency we need to be.

At Move This World, we are not deterred. We see the challenges in schools every day, and we know that we are on the right track and making a big impact. As more districts prioritize social emotional learning in their schools, we are ready to provide them with the most dynamic evidence-backed, digital K-12 SEL solution on the market.

Heading into 2019, we are fully grounded in the value of creative expression and mental, emotional and social wellness. We stay committed to our close relationships with school partners, leaning on them for their expertise and feedback in order to continue to improve our resources and tools to best support teachers and their students.. We will once again DOUBLE our video content for next school year, as well as elevate the quality and ease of use. We’ll be working closely with teachers and school leaders to roll out updates more frequently, first by releasing new videos by early March – which have been in high demand from both teachers and students. As we continue to settle in to our brand new office, we look forward to growing our team to meet the increasing demand for tools to strengthen mental, social and emotional wellbeing. Currently working across 25 states (plus Washington D.C.), we have our sights set on constantly expanding our impact to states and districts prioritizing and championing this work.

As we begin another calendar year, we set new intentions. What do we want 2019 to look like, or feel like? What do we want to accomplish? What do we want to avoid?

This year I plan to continue to commit to being fully present in whatever I am doing, whether it’s a conversation with a team member, coloring with my daughter, or facilitating professional development with superintendents. The world is increasingly frenetic, and it’s up to me to calm my mind so I can show up fully wherever I am. I also intend to commit more time to visiting, listening, and sharing with our school partners. 2018 was full of big priorities- raising our seed round (and then our Series A), overhauling our curriculum and platform, navigating being a new mom. But it’s seeing our program in action that inspires and energizes me. Hearing new ideas from teachers, administrators, and students- yes, it was an eighth grade girl who cornered me in the bathroom in the Bronx and gave me curriculum feedback that shaped the entire feel of our middle and high school content– is what fuels me. The creative inspiration is felt by the entire MTW team and is what drives us to deliver better programming each day that we come to work.

Based on conversations with districts and partners in 2018, we know that SEL is going to be a big priority for schools in 2019. We enter this year with renewed energy and excitement about helping more schools bring their mental, social, and emotional wellbeing to new heights in 2019.

Sara Potler LaHayne


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