BY the (ET) Staff
Who knew an online portal with access to a mindsets-based social emotional learning program would grow like Jack’s mythical beanstalk?
But grow it did. And people began taking notice, especially district superintendents, curriculum directors, school counselors and parents. And evidently, a researcher for Inc. Magazine, who decided to place this mindsets-based social emotional learning company on their Fastest Growing Companies list.
To be sure, the situation on the ground had a lot to do with the growth. The amount of stress caused by the pandemic was instrumental in driving the need for a mindsets company. But it didn’t start there. In fact, social emotional learning has been needed for much longer. And the key to its growth wasn’t the pandemic, but the technology that made the program so accessible. And the rest is a historical blur.
For any education company anywhere to be included on Inc’s Fastest Growing Companies Llist is a bit unusual and is a validation of many things. In the case of 7 Mindsets, a small social emotional learning company based in the Atlanta Georgia area, it is a validation of a team culture and a business that is meeting the needs of schools and educators in the US and around the world.
According to Scott Shickler, Co-founder and CEO of 7 Mindsets, “When I reflect on that overall growth, I can tell you it didn’t just happen; we felt it every step of the way. Especially last year, when I jokingly told the team, I felt like we skipped a year. It was very expansive growth in 2021, and it kept us on our toes.”
For companies dealing with both the pandemic and the great resignation, it was a particularly challenging time for expansive growth. Yet, during the last five years, 7 Mindsets experienced zero resignations; iIt is a heck of an endorsement for a company that grew from 16 employees to almost 60 during that time. So, what does it say about a company that could skip over the great resignation in favor of a great retention, while constantly stretching themselves to meet the ever-changing needs of education and the world around them?
Primarily, it speaks to the employees that are there.
It says they don’t punch a time clock. It says they have joined the 7 Mindsets company to be part of something with a higher mission and purpose. 7 Mindsets is a for-profit enterprise, but they are first and foremost a company with a strong social mission.
To create this kind of growth, the company kept a 90 percent customer retention rate, which is extraordinary. The products they sell are not mandated. Schools don’t have to buy their products and services. Yet, they have an unheard-of retention rate. And when combined with accelerated growth, it indicates the company is doing an extraordinary job of solving the needs both for their team members and for their schools. And perhaps most difficult, they were able to meet the needs of an environment that’s been constantly in flux.
When a company this size experiences that kind of growth, it is very likely that every member of the team has their DNA stamped on the company’s growth. Every person team member has made an impact, whether it is retaining customers, serving customer needs, or developing new products.
And then Came the Pandemic…
When the pandemic hit, schools closed, and most children were forced to learn at home. All of a sudden, 7 Mindsets had to adapt to find solutions that would simply work no matter what, whether they were virtual, in-person or blended.
They owned an office building, and like many companies, made the decision in 2020 to close it down and keep their employees safe. Out of necessity, they shifted to a virtual work environment. It was a hard call. But it had an upside and is a large part of what allowed for their incredible growth. Rather than limiting their hiring to employees in the greater Atlanta area, they were now free to hire the best candidates anywhere in the world and add them to a virtual work environment. In fact, they have a team that has created over 500 new lessons for students from preschool to 12th grade, and they have never even met each other in-person.
For decades, research has demonstrated that in the job market, social emotional readiness may be more valuable than possessing individual skill sets. Think about skill sets through the lens of preparing a generation of kids for jobs that haven’t been created yet. How can you know what kind of skills to teach? Instead, what is taught is the highest form of social emotional learning. The company refers to this learning as mindset-based social emotional learning. It is designed to help students and the educators who support them to deal with the unknown, with stress in life and with relationships. This type of curriculum and programming is a foundation that allows skill sets to flourish.
The pandemic placed a spotlight on educators and their students, putting them under a kind of duress they had never experienced before. This included uncertainty and the risk of not being safe, of being removed from friendships and physical relationships. There were families who couldn’t see each other. There were people dying, and we had civil unrest. There was a tremendous amount of pain, uncertainty, stress and anxiety.
Starting from An Extensive Study
Back in 2006, the founders launched an extensive meta-analysis study that asked a single question: What allows an individual to attain happiness in life? Over a three-year period, researchers interviewed thousands of individuals, from many walks of life, who discovered happiness and success on their own terms.
The findings were simple, yet evidentrevealing. Happiness and success are not predicated on what individuals know or where they come from; instead, it is grounded in how we think.
With this positive impact in mind, the founders understood the need to create a common language and lexicon that was engaging and accessible. The 7 Mindsets and corresponding 28 Learning objectives became the common language around which the SEL curriculum was developed.
Anchored in Professional Development
The approach is anchored in a professional development and coaching model to promote healthy school cultures and designed to prepare educators and staff to teach the 7 Mindsets while enriching their own well-being.
From best-in-class adult learning and implementation support to the digital curriculum, to the powerful assessment tools, every teacher is equipped to ensure students’ SEL growth by delivering the right content, at the right time.
Immersive professional learning experiences and on-going coaching are interactive and best-in-class. They uplift and reenergize educators so they can confidently model and teach the 7 Mindsets while enriching their own personal well-being.
From PreK through Grade 12, students advance along a continuum that deepens engagement with (and understanding of) the mindsets and SEL competencies. Mindsets are the beliefs and attitudes that dictate our emotions and influence our decisions and actions; they help us connect with others and develop positive self-awareness, self-efficacy, and perseverance.
Only Ten Minutes of Prep Time
TheA digital curriculum is designed to be teacher-led and requiring only 10 minutes of prep time per lesson. Educators deliver 30 easy-to-use lessons by grade per academic year.
- Includes classroom integration ideas, activity files, and lesson plans
- Thousands of additional streaming videos and activities, in a searchable database
- Family newsletters and workshops, staff resources, and so much more
- Accessible And Aligned
- Complete Spanish Curriculum, Authentically Translated
- Centered on Blooms Taxonomy
- Aligned to CASEL SEL Core Competencies
With the number of products and services the company has and the amount of growth they have experienced, it would be easy to say, ‘Enough. There’s no need to innovate anymore.’ But 7 Mindsets doesn’t take that approach.
Historically, they have been a teacher-facilitated offering. But imagine a Netflix for social emotional learning; they have an online platform for which schools and districts pay an annual license fee to access all the content and resources. But with the challenges associated with teacher shortages around the country, and with many teachers coming in virtually to teach rooms full of students, 7 Mindsets has determined it is time to readjust and let technology do what technology does best.
Logistics have become a very big deal in this new world of education. There are different learners with different learning styles and needs, so 7 Mindsets is currently developing new tools that will work in this new world of, ‘maybe you have a teacher in front of you, maybe you don’t, maybe, the whole class is in-person, maybe half are home.’ But one thing is for sure. As technology is used at its highest form to relieve work from the teacher, all efforts are made to keep the teacher front and center, so teacher, student and parent will all benefit from this mindset marvel.
7 Mindsets is committed to ensuring that students, educators, and the entire school community have hope for the future, a firm belief in their potential, and a strong sense of belonging and connection. To see a glimpse of their digital curriculum, click here.