Join a Free Network of Schools with One Goal in Common

Transform your school through the proven ASCD Whole Child approach

For too long, we have committed to time structures, coursework, instructional methods, and assessments to define student success. A strong foundation in reading, writing, math, and other core subjects is still as important as ever, yet these subjects alone are too narrow and leave our students ill-prepared for their future.

The ASCD Whole Child approach redefines what a successful learner is and how we measure success—by connecting learning with mind, heart, body, and spirit. A child who enters school healthy and feels safe is ready to learn. A student who feels connected to school is more likely to stay in school. A young person who has access to challenging and engaging academic programs is better prepared for further education, work, and life. These components must work together, not in isolation. That is the goal of a whole child approach to education.

You can take this vision for educating the whole child to action in your school. By joining the ASCD Whole Child Network (WCN), you will join a global network of schools focused on the same goals; engaged in the same processes; and with whose educators you can discuss issues, share insights, and exchange support.

Schools that join this free network receive access to the following:

  • ASCD School Improvement Tool—ASCD's online needs assessment tool based on a the ASCD Whole Child approach to education.
  • WCN School Improvement Tool Report—A report specifically designed for WCN schools that details school results down to the indicator level, highlighting key areas where the school is doing well and other areas that need additional supports.
  • WCN Guide—A dedicated guide that walks WCN schools through the results and helps with planning the school’s professional development activities.
  • Action Planner—Designed for use in conjunction with the WCN Guide, the Action Planner allows schools to outline their yearly professional development and activities focused on a problem of practice.
  • WCN Continuum of Benchmarks—This continuum of 150 benchmarks is aligned to each Whole Child Tenet and Indicator spread across three levels from beginning through mastery.

In addition, schools can purchase a range of aligned ASCD resources and services including:

  • Access to ASCD Activate, ASCD's digital professional learning library.
  • Networking experiences through our WCN online portal and through ASCD's conferences, where you can share best practices.
  • Certification as a Whole Child Implementer School, Ambassador School, or School of Distinction.

Visit the FAQ page for more information about network benefits.

The ASCD Whole Child approach is an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children.

The ASCD Whole Child Network launches November 8, 2019, at the ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership at National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

Feedback from Our Pilot Program

  • The most valuable realization was that a whole child approach to education is about a school's philosophy, not a particular school program. Each decision we make about school policy or programs should be done with the whole child in mind, and that policies or programs that don't are off-target for the work of our school building."
    —Stacy Carpenter, School Counselor
  • The ASCD Whole Child approach provided a framework in which to organize, focus the work, change the culture, and begin the process of turning around the school. By considering the tenets and indicators from the whole child framework, we were able make intentional decisions for the benefit of our students and teachers."
    —Angela Hamilton, Assistant Principal
  • The whole child is about all achievement, not some achievement, and about the needs of the child in the present as they prepare for life in the future."
    —Andy Hargreaves, Professor Emeritus, Lynch School of Education at Boston College
  • There has been a noticeable difference in the school climate and culture after going through the whole child process. The expectations of the faculty are higher; the students feel safe in their environment; and there are multiple opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to participate in healthier activities and eating healthier meals. It allowed us as a faculty and staff to organize and identify the strengths and weaknesses in our current programs."
    —Mark Toole, Teacher