Whole Child Network of Schools
In May 2012, ASCD selected a group of schools from across the continental United States and Guam to become part of the ASCD Whole Child Network.
The schools are committed to a three-year, comprehensive school improvement process using the tenets of the Whole Child Initiative—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged—and their indicators (PDF) as a sustainable whole child approach to educating their students.
Since the selection of the ASCD Network of Schools, each school has participated in both on-site professional development and virtual capacity building to address the needs identified by their results from ASCD School Improvement Tool.
Currently in their second year of implementation, each school has begun to see outcomes of their action plans and continue to work with the external researcher to collect data for this comprehensive process.
Whole Child Network Schools
Drew-Freeman Middle School (Prince George's County Public Schools) in Suitland, Md.
Principal: LeTrecia Gloster
Mission: At Drew-Freeman Middle School, a quality education is a civil right. We will educate all students by developing critical thinkers, cultivate a safe and orderly environment, and meet the unique needs of our students with excellence and equity.
Drew Freeman Middle School is a public school that serves grades 7–8 with 657 students and 64 staff. During its time in the Whole Child Network, this school restructured each mandate, program, initiative, and system within the school to “connect the dots” and create a common framework based on a foundation of the five whole child tenets. Collaborative teacher planning sessions, a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program, a Response to Intervention Process, a mental health advisory class, and various other programs have all been developed within the framework of a whole child approach. The Whole Child Network team in this school has embraced the Whole Child as a tool to refocus the activities currently being implemented, rather than necessarily creating new programs.
Finegayan Elementary School (Guam Department of Education) in Dededo, Guam
Principal: Evangeline Iglesias
Mission: To enable all students to succeed in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing global society.
Finegayan, pronounced Fin-eh-gah-zan, is a public school serving grades K–5 with 87 staff members and almost 1,000 students. The faculty at this school have become more intentional about carrying out its School Improvement Plan after it has been updated to include tenets and indicators of the whole child. Assessing academic and behavioral data allowed staff to recognize the school’s strengths and weaknesses to incorporate more developmentally appropriate strategies in early elementary grades. Staff conducted a book study using ASCD’s Understanding How Young Children Learn which, in conjunction with a coordinated whole child approach, resulted in increased academic achievement and decreased classroom behavioral challenges. The school’s Professional Development offerings reflect the overall shift toward implementing activities and functions that are cohesive and student-centered. Community partnerships continue to develop and bridge gaps between the school and community.
Fredstrom Elementary School (Lincoln Public Schools) in Lincoln, Neb.
Principal: Vicki Schulenberg
Mission: To provide a safe, caring, and academically rigorous environment where our community–students, staff and families–
- BELIEVE all students will…
- ACHIEVE academic excellence and social growth, in order to…
- SUCCEED in school and in life.
Fredstrom Elementary School is a public school that serves grades K–5, with just about 500 students and 59 staff members. The school has used the whole child approach to educate stakeholders and the community about the whole child philosophy, empower teacher leadership, and bring clarity to the school improvement process. As a result of professional development training to incorporate gaming, humor, and social-emotional wellness into teaching, student engagement has increased in and out of the classroom. Building administration has championed the whole child at the school and district levels by creating an ongoing professional development plan with new strategies for increasing student engagement and strengthening relationships with the broader community. Two new student advisory groups and 15 afterschool clubs have been created, and a total of 20 teachers will have received whole child professional development training by fall 2015. The whole child approach continues to provide the framework for a unified vision of all programs and initiatives, and correlating student achievement with a whole child approach has allowed the school to become increasingly sustainable in its implementation.
Holly Glen Elementary School (Monroe Township Public Schools)in Williamstown, N.J.
Principal: Thomas Myers
Assistant Principal: Kristy Baker
Mission: Building a Bridge to the Future: Holly Glen Elementary School will provide all children with a positive, challenging, and creative learning experience, which empowers them to become responsible and productive citizens. Working together, the children, staff, parents, and community will commit themselves to the development of the whole child. By using diverse strategies, the children will demonstrate
- Critical thinking and creative problem solving,
- Positive self-expression and self-image,
- Exemplary character traits,
- 21st century technology skills, and
- A desire for lifelong learning.
Holly Glen Elementary is a public school serving grades preK–4, with 51 percent of its students receiving free and reduced-price lunch. A pilot breakfast program serving 130 students has resulted in fewer classroom interruptions, fewer office referrals, and fewer nurse visits. This breakfast program proved so successful that it has been adopted as a districtwide initiative and was expanded to include bag lunches on half days. The school also addressed attendance rate challenges by increasing collaboration with families in the school through weekly phone calls and e-mails, implementing a monthly attendance award to students, and encouraging families to synchronize their personal clocks with school clocks. These initiatives to increase family engagement has allowed Holly Glen to become the only school in its district to consistently meet the state’s minimum daily average attendance requirement. The Whole Child Network team at Holly Glen continues to meet regularly to plan new and ongoing efforts to incorporate the whole child approach in school activities and programs.
Le Sueur-Henderson Middle School/High School (LeSueur-Henderson Public Schools–Independent School District #2397) in Le Sueur, Minn.
Principal: Kevin Enerson
Mission: Le Sueur-Henderson High School…where every student's success matters.
Le Sueur-Henderson is a rural public school serving grades 6–12, with more than 550 students and 68 staff. Joining the Whole Child Network has created a philosophical shift within Le Sueur-Henderson, enabling staff to more sustainably support each student. The school has improved efforts to meet students’ health and safety needs through enhanced collaborations with mental health service providers, expanded food service programs, and a new student-teacher advisory program. A teacher peer coaching program, advanced art education opportunities, and improved student-engagement learning activities ensure that the school is engaging, supportive, and challenging for both students and educators.
Martinsville High School (Martinsville City Public Schools) in Martinsville, Va.
Principal: Angie Weinerth
Mission: "Where Learning Has No Limits and Academic Excellence Is Measured One Child at a Time"
Martinsville High School 91 staff members and 665 students, with 75 percent of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch. Upon joining the Whole Child Network of Schools, Martinsville recognized opportunities for improvement in each of the five whole child tenets. The school first set goals to improve the health programs and activities for students and faculty and has now transitioned to incorporating the whole child philosophy into the school’s mission and vision statements and schoolwide activities. Whole Child Tenet Teams led by teacher leaders continue to spearhead the school’s progress by collaborating with educators throughout the school; integrating the whole child tenets in staff meetings; and strengthening relationships with the community, students, and families.
Odyssey Community School (Santa Clara County Office of Education) in San Martin, Calif.
Principal: Jeremy Nichols
Mission: Our students will learn in a personalized environment that fosters human dignity and promotes academic, social, emotional, and personal success.
Odyssey Community School is an alternative school that serves grades 9–12. The population is small, with only 43 students and a staff of 11. This school has created a student breakfast program, incorporated healthier school lunch options, and hosted community outreach dinners. A focus of the whole child approach in this school has been to increase staff voice and student engagement; as a result of such efforts, staff have initiated conversations and provided input to revise school intake processes, classrooms embrace project-based learning, and students receive awards to recognize their individual progress. Despite significant staffing adjustments, the school administration has been able to continue work toward a whole child approach because it prioritized sustainability when incorporating changes into the school’s climate and culture.
PS 9, The Teunis G. Bergen Elementary School (New York City Department of Education) in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Principal: Sandra D’Avilar
Mission: Our mission is to teach our students how to maximize their potential. Our strength comes from engaging parents and the local community in the education of our children. Challenging minds. Building character. Creating community.
PS 9 is a public community elementary school serving grades K–5, with 594 students and 72 staff members. Upon joining the Whole Child Network of Schools, PS 9 first aimed to improve student health and safety during recess by initiating a partnership with Playworks to train staff in conflict resolution and safe and healthy play. The school then provided training to both educators and families using a strengths-based model to support students’ social and emotional development. In the third year of implementation, PS 9 continued to improve the health and wellness of the whole school community by introducing new nutrition and wellness programs. Behavioral challenges, discipline problems, and rates of childhood obesity in the school have all decreased. Staff and families understand the connection between healthy bodies and healthy minds as the entire school embraces the whole child approach, which has created a common language within the school community.
Urban Community School (Diocese of Cleveland) in Cleveland, Ohio
Principal: Pam Delly
Mission: Urban Community School provides primarily low-income children from Cleveland's near west side with an individualized, innovative, and challenging education. Founded and sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, UCS is an ecumenical school in the Catholic tradition.
Urban Community is an independent faith-based school serving grades preK–8, with approximately 500 students and 42 staff members. This school has linked lesson planning to each of the whole child tenets and has incorporated technology to reduce teacher stress and increase opportunities for staff collaboration. Faculty have been trained on strategies of emotionally intelligent learning and, as a result, have incorporated humor as a tool to increase staff and student engagement. Teachers have learned how to establish learning targets with their students so that they meet the educational needs of diverse learners, and students are held accountable for their learning.
**Albert Harris Elementary School (Martinsville City Public Schools) in Martinsville, Va. (INACTIVE)
Principal: Felicia Preston
Mission: "Learning Together, Reaching and Teaching, Every Child, Every Day, Every Way"
Albert Harris Elementary is a public K–5 school with just over 500 students and 100 staff members. The school hosted its first Fall Festival in November 2012 and is looking forward to working more closely with parent, clergy, and community volunteers.
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During the 2012 summer institute held at ASCD, teams of administrators and teachers from participating schools gathered to formulate strategies and learn tactics for implementing the whole child approach to education in their schools. Elements of those plans include needs assessments; customized face-to-face trainings; and the deployment of tools, products, and services that address the various needs identified by the assessment.
Additionally, participating schools will
- Complete a comprehensive, schoolwide pre- and post-assessment based on the tenets and indicators.
- Engage a planning, decision-making, and implementation team that is representative of the whole school.
- Conduct an objective comprehensive data review of assessment results facilitated by ASCD.
- Adopt and implement a planning process.
- Form collaborative, working partnerships with community-based organizations.
- Participate in ongoing professional development with the school team and community.
- Assess student and staff engagement in the school community.
- Participate in an evaluation of the process directed by ASCD.
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To support the implementation of a whole child approach, participating schools received
- A $10,000 grant for the 2012–13 school year, and $5,000 for the 2013–2014 school year. Continued participation in the network will be contingent on the school's demonstrated progress.
- One full day of on-site training facilitated in partnership with ASCD staff to introduce the whole child approach within the school community during the first year.
Participating schools continue to receive individualized support from ASCD in developing a plan to implement a whole child approach to education in their schools, including a needs assessment. The implementation will be customized using both face-to-face training and virtual and print services, tools, and products that address the various needs identified by the assessment, such as instructional program improvements, job-embedded professional development, student support, health and safety, and teacher/leader effectiveness.
As a result of this support and training, schools are able to
- Make the instructional and student support changes necessary to support school improvement efforts.
- Build a culture of success in school and develop opportunities to expose students to college and career options and guidance.
- Create opportunities for teachers and other staff to learn about, practice, implement, and evaluate research-based strategies that address identified problems and are aligned to school goals.
- Establish practices to develop the conditions for learning within a positive school culture and climate.
Other benefits for participating schools include