Move This World Raises $1 Million in Seed Funding

Move This World is a social emotional learning program that seeks to build safe and supportive learning environments where PreK-12 students and teachers are empowered to express themselves and reach their full potential. To date, the organization has impacted over half a million students across 23 states and Washington D.C.. Today, Move This World announces that it has raised $1 million in seed funding to further accelerate their impact.

Move This World will use the new funding to expand its programs with additional content that teachers and students will use to identify, express and manage their emotions in healthy ways. The funding will also support growing market demand after the company saw tremendous growth throughout 2017. Notable school district partners include Baltimore City, MD; Metro Nashville Public Schools, TN; McComb School District, MS; Washington County School District, UT; as well as a number of charter networks across the country.

“The new funding will help Move This World support a growing list of schools and school districts who are prioritizing social emotional learning in their strategic plans and climate and culture initiatives,” says Founder & CEO, Sara Potler LaHayne.

Leading investors include AT&T, New Media Investment Group, Daniels & King Capital (an affiliate of Prairie Capital), the Tecovas Foundation, the Global Impact Fund, and a number of other angel investors.

“At AT&T, we’re looking for game-changing solutions for real-world education challenges,” said Anne Wintroub, Director of Social Innovation at AT&T. “Move This World’s work to create safe social emotional learning spaces shows that innovation and dedication can change the world. We’re thrilled to welcome them into the 2018 AT&T Aspire Accelerator class.”

The company was set up two years ago as a separate entity from the nonprofit founded in 2010. Over the last 8 years, Move This World responded to feedback from teachers and school leaders by creating a platform based delivery model to effectively scale social emotional learning. Now a “Netflix-style” network of multimedia social and emotional wellbeing exercises for students and teachers, Move This World is easy for schools to implement as a part of their SEL initiatives.

The now two-year old company, founded and led by Fulbright Scholar and World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Sara Potler LaHayne, specializes in helping schools build positive culture through ritualizing a practice of identifying, expressing and managing emotions. Now working with districts across 23 states, Move This World is proven to reduce suspensions, incident reports, chronic absenteeism, and teacher attrition, and improve engagement, morale and organizational health.

Stephen Johnson, McComb School District’s Data Analyst, explains the impact they’ve seen: “The McComb School District has seen a major shift in behavior as a result of Move This World. As part of our Student-Centered Learning approach, we’ve seen scholars taking ownership of their learning as well as their emotional state of being. Schools that have implemented the program have seen decreases in referrals and suspensions throughout the entire school year. We’ve even incorporated the videos into our central office meetings to center emotions before taking care of district business. Move This World has positively impacted our district from kindergarten to Central Office.”

Erma Gibson, a first grade teacher at Otken Elementary School in McComb has noticed changes not only in her students but in herself as a teacher practitioner. “The Move This World curriculum helped me as a Teacher Practitioner to understand how the scholars were feeling that day and to handle how and what to introduce to them on that day. This program truly promotes and teaches the scholars how to respect their peers and teachers, encourages having positive relationships, and helps them look forward to achieving their lifelong goals. Through the videos, I have learned how to foster a supportive learning environment within the Learning Lab, and the scholars’ social and emotions skills have been strengthened.  We love Move This World!”

Move This World’s curriculum aligns to the five core social emotional learning competencies as defined by the Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and is based in theories of positive psychology and creative expression. The American Institute of Research annually reviews Move This World’s social emotional learning curriculum. Move This World is in the middle of a randomized control trial in partnership with the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia to further confirm the efficacy of its programs.

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