The goal of Wyman’s Research and Learning Department is to evaluate impact, continuously improve our work, capture and share learning, and collaborate to design and deliver innovations within our direct services and through our local and national network of partners. Research and Learning also works within Wyman to design, implement, and facilitate quality improvement processes and procedures.
Research and Learning strategies include:
- Measuring outcomes and using the results for quality improvement;
- Designing, developing, and evaluating innovations; and
- Accelerating learning through local and national knowledge exchanges about positive youth development and best practices.
Approach and Theory of Change
Wyman programs are rooted in Wyman’s Framework for Thriving Youth, a carefully crafted theoretical foundation for Wyman’s programming which captures the essential elements of a transformative youth development approach and the ultimate outcomes that we strive for all youth to achieve: educational success, healthy behaviors and relationships, and life and leadership skills.
Our Framework emphasizes building skills, developing a positive sense of self, and making connections to others as key levers to achieving these outcomes. Surrounding this work are caring, responsive, and knowledgeable adults who build relationships with young people to create engaging and empowering environments where youth are supported to achieve positive growth. Our Framework for Thriving Youth is grounded in youth development research and serves as the compass for all of Wyman’s programming.
Program logic models map out each program’s specific components and strategy for change within the context of this larger Framework, and guide our outcomes measurement approach.
Teen Outreach Program Logic Model
Wyman Leaders Program Logic Model
Teen Connection Project Logic Model
Our Framework and programs are foundationally centered on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), which the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Research shows that programs focused on SEL are fundamental to a young person’s success in academics, community, and ultimately, the workforce. Acquisition of key SEL skills is linked in critical elements of the developmental trajectory, such as academic achievement and avoidance of risky behaviors, and is associated with positive outcomes into adulthood (Taylor, et. al, 2017; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015). As a result of these long-term outcomes, programs focused on SEL have been found to deliver a return of $11 for every $1 invested (Belfield, et.al, 2015).