Hear more from Peter Kraft and other innovative analysts, thought leaders, and educators at the 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), January 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. Learn more here.
As the CEO of Evolution Labs, Peter Kraft aims to change the way students engage with school and conversely, the way schools engage students. He and his team offer an array of content spanning a plethora of topics in learner-driven digital interfaces.
Their material, designed for adolescents, parents, and educators, gives schools and universities the opportunity to provide more in-depth education on critical matters that don’t always get adequate coverage due to limited time or resources. These include enrollment and retention tools for colleges & universities, student-athlete success programs for intercollegiate athletics, and K-12 character development programs encompassing social & emotional learning (SEL).
Peter explains that schools will traditionally look at retention and student success tools as they relate to more cognitive indicators. But the reality is that academic performance is only a small indicator of a student’s likelihood to succeed and persist.
Propelled to address this misunderstanding, Peter has been working with the Gates Millennium Scholars, part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to provide scholarships to underprivileged youth.
“Nine out of ten reasons why students are leaving are not academic-based,” Peter notes. “They are social. They are emotional. They are character development-based.” His company’s offerings address these social emotional skills through targeted curriculum.
CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning has 2017 meta-analysis research that shows significant gains in academic success tied to those academic institutions that are actively integrating SEL or social and emotional learning into their culture. They advocate for reducing the stresses that students are under and providing support for students to accomplish their goals t. Using test-taking as an example, Peter explains, “If students have less anxiety when they're going into a testing environment,they're going to perform better on a test.”
For college and career readiness and workforce development, corporate America and potential employers around the world want students with the tech and academic skills, but also desire soft skills. It’s important for future employees to understand the way their emotions impact their interaction with colleagues, clients, and the management hierarchy. Managing problems or challenges on a day-to-day basis is a prerequisite in any future profession.
Peter notes that social skills and emotional health have been taken for granted for many generations. As with other life skills, they take time and practice. “It’s like anything - a skill, sport, learning a math formula -- you have to study,” he says. “You have to do it. You have to do it repeatedly. It's really the same thing with character education and social and emotional learning. You have to support the strategies that you want students to use in those different situations.”
“I think, now and in the future, you're going to see high academic performance only from kids who are well adjusted, who are capable of balancing and managing and maneuvering the pressures that it really takes in order to be a high academic performer,” Peter concludes. “They can't actually accomplish the high academic performance without having first mastered the social and emotional wellness.”
Watch an additional interview with Peter Kraft: Creating Safe Digital Spaces for Learners to Explore Social-Emotional Topics
About Peter Kraft CEO and Co-Founder of Evolution Labs
Peter Kraft is presently the CEO and Co-Founder of Evolution Labs. Prior to Evolution Labs, Peter worked for Lehman Brothers (circa 1990, on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center). In 1993, Peter founded CMG (publisher of Link Magazine, the number-one college magazine in the country with more than three million readers). It was here he met Tracy Howe, where together, Peter serving as President & Publisher and Tracy as VP Sales & Marketing, the two of them built CMG into powerhouse marketing brand for clients targeting the elusive youth and college market.
In 1997, Peter and Tracy worked together to facilitate the sale of CMG to College Television Network (custom news network in partnership with CNN). In 1999 Kraft and Howe played integral roles on the transition team when CTN was acquired by Viacom, effectively converting College Television Network to MTVu.
In 2000, Kraft and Howe co-founded GoalQuest. The company provided custom recruitment, enrollment and retention programs for colleges and universities around the country. During his seven year tenure at GoalQuest as Co-Founder & President, Peter delivered more than 1,000 programs for more than 500 clients, ranging from University of Alabama to University of Missouri to Loyola Marymount to American University. In 2007, Kraft and Howe facilitated the sale of GoalQuest to private equity firm Halyard Educational Partners.
From 2009 to 2013, Peter founded two more companies focusing on fan engagement and student athlete success for Intercollegiate Athletic Departments. Clients include The Ohio State University, Temple University, Wake Forest and many others.
Follow Peter Kraft on Twitter
Note: Peter Kraft will be presenting at the 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), January 23-26 in Orlando, Florida.
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