Empowering Education (EE) was founded in 2009 by Mr. Andreas Wilfong, a 17-year business owner. Mr. Wilfong was inspired to found EE after witnessing firsthand his own son struggle with the social-emotional challenges that face so many adolescents today. As Mr. Wilfong became actively involved in helping his son, he realized most other students were struggling with similar issues. There was a pattern of inadequate social and emotional skills that was not being addressed by schools. When he saw the improvements in his son’s ability to function in a social context after being exposed to a formal SEL program, he felt a personal responsibility to bring these proven and highly successful concepts to the mainstream classroom, making the life-changing benefits available to all students.
As Mr. Wilfong has said frequently, “our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of as many students as possible.” This goal is based on the belief that SEL must be an integral part of education from preschool through high school, considered as essential to education as reading, writing, and arithmetic.
During the past six years, EE has successfully engaged in collaborative partnerships with ten public schools and two charter schools to reach over 8,000 students at all levels of learning. Our own experience and current research overwhelmingly shows the linkages among SEL, student outcomes, and school performance.
Cody Wiggs, the author of the curriculum, is a Master’s level counselor who brings his clinical expertise to the educational world. He has spent the last 6 years on the ground in public schools training teachers, teaching students, and working with administrators and families to find the most effective ways to deliver quality SEL. We have learned a lot from these lessons and our work has evolved from our original elective course to what we believe is a streamlined and effective method for implementing quality SEL school-wide.
Through our partnerships over the years we have learned a simple, but important lesson: every school has unique needs and challenges, thus, any successful SEL program must be tailored to the specific culture and community of each individual school. There is no panacea or silver bullet for SEL; it must start with a sincere commitment from every teacher and administrator and requires ongoing effort and learning from all involved.
Our curriculum provides a starting point, but the real magic happens when we put the lessons in the hands of classroom teachers. By providing a foundation for teachers to build on, they have brought the lessons to life in ways that surpassed our expectations and intuitively link the content back to their academic curriculum and daily routines. It is the responsibility of every educator in the building to facilitate SEL at all times and in every interaction. SEL must be taught, modeled, and built into the school culture. This is hard work. After witnessing the transformations in our partner schools, we assure you it is well worth the effort.
We are here to support you in this work. As your school examines and changes its culture around SEL we will make every effort to be available for the questions and challenges that will inevitably arise. We are dedicated to high-quality SEL implementation to support the social, emotional, and academic growth of every student, teacher, and parent that encounters our curriculum.
Please contact us with any questions, comments, feedback or requests for support: