Illinois’ Decatur Public Schools Selects 7 Mindsets for Districtwide Implementation

7 Mindsets

Decatur Public Schools in Decatur, Ill., has selected 7 Mindsets, the leader in online social emotional learning (SEL) solutions, to support the emotional wellbeing of its students and teachers. Starting with the 2021-22 academic year, the 7 Mindsets curriculum will be used throughout the district’s 11 elementary schools, middle school, and two high schools.

The district made its decision after a two-year pilot of three programs. 7 Mindsets was initially implemented in a select number of Decatur’s elementary schools for that pilot project. Users provided feedback on their experience to a student services panel, and administrators conducted a districtwide survey. “From those two, it was decided overwhelmingly that 7 Mindsets would be the program for the district,” said Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Jeff Dase.

According to Dase, even teachers who had not used 7 Mindsets in their schools voted for the program. “I guess they were hearing about it from their colleagues,” he said. “So, the majority selected to either stay with 7 Mindsets or move to 7 Mindsets.”

The 7 Mindsets program is a proven, research-based SEL solution that helps districts and schools sustain positive school cultures rooted in relationships. What sets 7 Mindsets apart from other K-12 SEL programs is that it nurtures the mindsets of educators first, and then students, empowering each member of the school community to live a life of purpose, passion, and meaning. The 7 Mindsets program includes a comprehensive web-based curriculum, professional development, and ongoing coaching designed to nurture the social emotional health of teachers and provide the training needed for everyone to succeed. The curriculum can be configured to work with any school schedule for both on-site and virtual learning.

“We strongly feel that their minds have to be right before they even get to the academic part,” Dase said in reference to Decatur’s approximately 8,700 students. “So, our philosophy is that if we address that social emotional aspect, they’ll be more prepared to engage in the teaching and learning.”

Dase also expressed appreciation for the comprehensiveness of the program. “It’s not only geared toward students but teachers as well,” he said. “Staff has been doing activities within the 7 Mindsets program, and it has helped out with their social emotional development.” He also praised 7 Mindsets’ customer service. “The people that we have worked with have been just overwhelmingly positive and always ready to accommodate us,” he said.

“One of the reasons that Decatur gave for selecting us was our program structure,” said 7 Mindsets President Lupita Knittel. “By providing a common language of SEL beliefs, our program produces the consistency and structure to unite and inspire the entire school community. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to help both students and educators in Decatur alleviate the mental strain from experiencing the pandemic, readjusting to school routines and having to address any learning gaps that occurred.”

For more information go to and follow 7 Mindsets on Twitter @7Mindsets.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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