Social-Emotional Learning Leads to Stronger Adults
Visitation School students participate in a talking circle as part of social-emotional learning programming. 
In recent years, educators have recognized that student success incorporates more than academic achievement. The value of integrating evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) has never been clearer, especially during the past two years. While Big Shoulders Fund schools have been fully open since fall 2020, aiding enrollment growth, many students struggle with motivation and engagement due to the pandemic.

Big Shoulders Fund has received crucial support from the Cigna Foundation to expand SEL in five schools serving low-income students. The National Commission on Social and Emotional Development finds that, although all students benefit, SEL disproportionately helps children from low-income communities, many experiencing insecure access to housing, food, health care, and safety.
Big Shoulders Fund Plus Schools Thrive
Through Challenges
Enrollment at Big Shoulders Fund Plus School Augustus Tolton Academy grew 32%.
Although recent headlines bemoan declining student enrollment in Chicago and Illinois, the 30 Big Shoulders Fund Plus schools are defying that trend with significant growth. The 10-year, $70 million initiative aims to increase the long-term sustainability of these highest-need schools, with Big Shoulders Fund staff working closely with principals toward specific academic, enrollment, fundraising, and finance goals. In the program’s second year, enrollment at Plus schools has grown 8% with Pre-K enrollment increasing 28%. Twenty-seven schools have grown, one is flat (100%), and the remaining two are at 99% and 96%.
Read the winter issue of Shoulder to Shoulder to learn more about these and other initiatives made possible by generous supporters and believers in our mission, like you. 
Read Shoulder to Shoulder Today!
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