Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Announces Integrated Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum Based on Best-Selling Memoir

A Chance in the World Integrated SEL Curriculum offers engaging program based on gripping, culturally responsive literature by author Steve Pemberton

BOSTON – Sept. 1, 2020 – Learning Company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today introduced A Chance in the World Integrated SEL Curriculum for students in grades 8-12, based upon the powerful memoir of the same name by best-selling author, philanthropist, and speaker Steve Pemberton. This unique, flexible SEL (social emotional learning) curriculum is designed to bring students and educators together around Steve Pemberton’s inspiring story of resilience, which portrays his traumatic experiences in the foster-care system and his quest to uncover the truth about his origins.

Through discussion questions, writing prompts, SEL activities, related readings, and project ideas, students explore Steve’s path to overcoming adversity and consider the power of empathy, understanding and a love of reading on his journey.

“While I initially wrote A Chance in the World for my three children, I soon began to hear messages of hope from the teachers and children it resonated with, who saw themselves in the pages, and I knew we could do more to connect with students,” said Steve Pemberton. “This integrated SEL curriculum from HMH provides a dynamic framework for understanding the themes of empathy and resilience, and inspiring readers to overcome challenges to create a better future.”

Inspired by the creative work of teachers who used A Chance in the World within their schools and communities, this program allows students to address difficult topics in a safe way while providing educators with tools for navigating those discussions, whether in an English Language Arts (ELA) classroom, as an all-school read, or as part of an SEL-focused advisory period. The curriculum centers on and builds resilience and growth mindset, teaching students that the potential to change exists even in the face of difficulty and failure and inspiring them to spread the word about the power of kindness and community action.

“When I first read A Chance in the World and met Steve, I knew there was amazing potential for an in-school program that could address the SEL needs in today’s classroom,” says Jim O’Neill, General Manager of Core Solutions at HMH. “We have been honored to work with Steve to create an engaging curriculum that students can relate to, provides flexibility for educators, and has the potential to bring school communities together. During this back-to-school season when social and emotional learning is on the forefront of educators’ minds, HMH is proud to partner with Steve to help all students overcome challenges in their lives and realize that they too have a chance to realize their fullest potential.”

Teachers attest to the power of Steve’s story to engage students who may normally avoid tackling full-length books as well as its success in helping to break down barriers among students, teachers, and staff. As part of this unique curriculum, students will use charts, graphic organizers, and surveys to examine their own cognitive and behavioral patterns and explore issues and concerns that matter to teenagers.

“Steve Pemberton’s honest and authentic story builds bridges for students whose experiences are rarely seen. Students who have experienced trauma and believe themselves isolated become visible, without embarrassment, to those with a stable and supportive family life. Lessons are learned on both sides,” said Nancy Libbee, English Instructor, Great Oaks Schools. “Students discover their own self-identity and realize how connected we are. They find they have a significant voice in this world.”

Developed in collaboration with the Chance Council (comprised of Steve and a small group of educators focused on making a difference in schools) A Chance in the World Integrated SEL Curriculum is available for purchase on amazon.com or HMHCo.com, or as an add-on to HMH’s industry-leading HMH Into Literature program, which features SEL as a strong recurring theme. Current HMH customers looking to purchase the curriculum – which will be available on HMH’s digital teaching and learning platform, Ed – can learn more here.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a learning company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.

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Katie Marshall

Communications Manager

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt