Ripple Effects, Leader in Social Emotional Learning, Announces New Chief Executive Officer John Ray-Keil

NEW ORLEANS – June 27, 2022 – Today, Ripple Effects, a leader in digital social emotional learning (SEL), mental health and behavior supports, announced the appointment of John Ray-Keil as its new CEO. Ray-Keil succeeds co-founder, Alice Ray, who will become chair of the board.

Prior to joining Ripple Effects in 2019, Ray-Keil served as CFO of BlueFoot Partners, an investment firm. He has more than 20 years of experience growing small companies and optimizing portfolio management. Ray-Keil also served on the boards of numerous local youth and school organizations and is an advocate for advancing scalable solutions in the education market.

“John’s deep experience and success in the financial sector coupled with his commitment to delivering the best digital content to help PreK-12 students receive the social emotional supports they need uniquely position him as the right person to move the company forward,” said Alice Ray, chair of Ripple Effects board of directors.…Read More

Local partnerships can build STEM workforce development in your district

The measurable success of recruiting students into STEM based pathways via a popular high school program known as FlexFactor has led the Department of Defense to recently invest $5 million via its Manufacturing Engineering Education Program (MEEP). This investment will adapt and export the FlexFactor framework to be used nationally by eight Manufacturing USA Innovation Institutes and nonprofit partners focused on emerging technologies.

Developed in San Jose, Calif. by the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Innovation Institute known as NextFlex, FlexFactor is the hallmark of NextFlex’s workforce development portfolio. An awareness building program designed for middle school and high school students, FlexFactor puts students in the shoes of business leaders facing real world opportunities and challenges that flexible hybrid electronics help to solve.

Via an immersive six-week program, students gain a deeper understanding of the advanced manufacturing sector as well as the tools, skills, and judgment required for effective decision making as it relates to developing and bringing a new technology product to market. …Read More

Weaving SEL into curriculum doesn’t have to be hard

As an educator and curriculum content creator, I’m always seeking to develop lessons that offer students opportunities to express complex emotions and share personal experiences. Inspiring self-expression and building a safe communal space begin with authentically exploring social-emotional learning (SEL) content.

Students are always navigating developmentally appropriate mental health and emotional-regulation growth, but today’s students are also coping with the effects of the pandemic. We cannot deprioritize SEL in our school spaces, and the great news is that we’re seeing significant investment and support for SEL. District spending on SEL on SEL programming grew about 45% between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, from $530 million to $765 million. When administrators and teachers were asked in a survey to rank their top priorities before and during the pandemic, improving students’ mental health and promoting students’ social-emotional competence rose to the number 1 and 2 priorities.

Currently, the grander concern for most educators in the classroom is the overwhelming “how.” Despite having a greater budget and public support for SEL, many teachers are unprepared to incorporate SEL into their instruction. Barriers include insufficient planning time, lack of parental consent, or lack of comprehensive SEL training for educators. …Read More