My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Self Enhancement, Inc., Portland, OR, USA
I have had the opportunity to experience the transformative nature of the Self Enhancement, Inc., philosophy over many years from different perspectives. First, as a middle school principal my school was one of the first schools to become involved with SEI in the early years. What was different from the very beginning was an approach that was not about delivering services to "clients," but a clear focus on establishing a personal commitment to individual students coupled with presenting them with a code of beliefs and values that were lived daily by the entire organization. It created a culture of achievement and communicated to students that expectations were high, but personal commitment to their success was steadfast. From the beginning SEI created a unique culture that has continued throughout its organizational life. Later, in my role as a central office administrator, I had the opportunity to witness the role of SEI as community partner and advocate. SEI had established itself as a voice for the needs of the community, especially students, and came from a position of strength by being open about results achieved, sharing services and resources as a community partner and creating a solid, efficient and effective organizational presence that literally changed the neighborhood. In my more recent roles of state level administrator and of university faculty member, I continue to see the role of SEI advocating for change but stepping up to be a part of the solution. In the most recent round of state school reform initiatives, SEI correctly identified the lack of opportunity for communities of color to participate in public input sessions because opportunities for such participation had not been developed by state policy makers. SEI stepped in to, not only, advocate for the opportunity to provide input, but also, to put their facilities and direct support on the line for this opportunity to happen. These efforts provided significant and important changes to new state school governance and accountability measures to require more use of disaggregatred data in school performance measures. SEI has a long, positive record of success with students, serving the community and influencing key policy questions. It is an outstanding organization.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
working as a principal in a school where SEI was active; working with SEI as a district administrator and in working with SEI in policy development activities.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
expand the number of schools and students receiving services, but only in so far as program integrity can be maintained. I would also want to find ways to share more information on effective strategies developed at SEI.
How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?
How much of an impact do you think this organization has?
Will you recommend this organization to others?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What is unique about this organization?
The SEI philosophy is probably the most unique. There is a code of conduct and a believe system that students demonstrate. As a result of this, SEI students demonstrate poise in conversations with others, demonstrate a positive attitude toward themselves and others, express a sense of optimism about the future, demonstrate superior interpersonal skills and a commitment to excellence. This culture of excellence is one of SEI's most unique features.