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October 30 - November 1, 2015
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Conference on Educational Leadership

Conference on Educational Leadership

Connect with the top leaders, develop your leadership skills, and leave empowered with new ideas to put into practice in your school or district

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Whole Child Network of Schools

Whole Child Network

E-mail us your questions about the Whole Child Network.

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 of Schools members at the 2014 ASCD Annual Conference & Exhibit Show


Whole Child Network Schools

Drew-Freeman Middle School

Drew-Freeman Middle School (Prince George's County Public Schools) in Suitland, Md.
Principal: Marla Dean
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.

First-year outcomes: Drew-Freeman Middle School is a public school that serves grades 7–8 with 657 students and 64 staff. The staff and parents are continuing to build connections and partnerships with the community. The WCN school team has used the whole child approach as a framework to align all of its mandated programs and initiatives to "connect the dots." The school has had success with raising awareness, which was the result of a staff activity in which they placed all school initiatives under one umbrella to use a common language. The newly made connections are informing new personnel decisions; new hires need to be open to the whole child belief system and philosophy. Their focus on engagement has added an opportunity for students to participate in the weekly instructional rounds with observations and providing feedback to their teachers.


Finegayan Elementary School (Guam Department of Education) in Dededo, Guam
Principal: Reinelle Ranan
Assistant Principal: John Wesolowski
Mission: To enable all students to succeed in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing global society.

First-year outcomes: Finegayan, pronounced Fin-eh-gah-zan, is a public school serving K–5 with 87 staff members and almost 1,000 students. Finegayan addressed academic and behavioral concerns, which resulted in minimizing discipline problems. The data also showed a need for a more engaging, whole child-centered approach in their primary grades. Conducting a book study using ASCD's Understanding How Young Children Learn  addressed this concern, resulting in an increase on their 1st grade total math scale score from 2011–2012 to 2012–2013. Staff are currently working on anticipatory sets and reflective debriefs of lessons within their professional learning community. They also have a focus on the healthy tenet and recently held a health fair for the school community, led by the school nurse, that was supported by more than 20 community and health partners.


Fredstrom Elementary School

Fredstrom Elementary School (Lincoln Public Schools) in Lincoln, Neb.
Principal: Vicki Schulenberg
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.

First-year outcomes: Fredstrom Elementary is a public school that serves K–5, with just about 500 students and 59 staff members. They have been focused on collaborating, teaming, planning, and communication. Staff felt empowered as committees became more effective and students have been given a voice. They have created an advisory committee for clubs and activities for the school. Fredstrom is making progress with cooperative learning and is looking to start a book study of ASCD's Classroom Instruction that Works and Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. The school staff are implementing project-based learning as part of their focus on engagement. They have also had professional development this spring with Krista Rundell (2012 ASCD emerging leader) to learn strategies for engagement in the classroom and how to link the students' interest in gaming.


Holly Glen Elementary School

Holly Glen Elementary School (Monroe Township Public Schools)in Williamstown, N.J.
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.

First-year outcomes: Holly Glen Elementary is a public school for preK–4. This year the WCN school team has expanded and has formed schoolwide committees so that building staff can provide input and sustain the plans for implementation. Using professional development and flipped staff meetings and  focusing on healthy and sustainability strategies has resulted in a mind-set shift of knowledge, understanding, and philosophy among staff. Holly Glen has been working to ensure all staff know about the whole child and have even begun sharing with their bus drivers. This spring the WCN school team will have an opportunity to present the whole child approach to their district board of directors.


LeSueur-Henderson High School/Middle School

Le Sueur-Henderson Middle School/High School (LeSueur-Henderson Public Schools–Independent School District #2397) in Le Sueur, Minn.
Kevin Enerson
Le Sueur-Henderson High School…where every student's success matters.

First-year outcomes: LeSueur-Henderson is a public school serving grades 6–12, with more than 550 students and 68 staff. The principal and staff have gone through an overall shift in their school philosophy. They have created a breakfast program; staff share personal biographies with students; and now students park in the front parking lot for better safety. LeSueur-Henderson has had several community partners, such as the local hospital and community pharmacy, reach out to them to offer services. Most recently, the school has partnered with the local mental health service to provide counseling services on-site for students.


Martinsville High School

Martinsville High School (Martinsville City Public Schools) in Martinsville, Va.
Angie Weinerth
Assistant Principal: Benjie Baliles
Mission: "Where Learning Has No Limits and Academic Excellence Is Measured One Child at a Time"

First-year outcomes: Martinsville High School has 91 staff members and 665 students who are excited about the opportunities that are becoming available to them because of their connection with ASCD. A school team member now sits on the superintendent's advisory committee, and the school has created a mission and vision statement. One of their first partnerships was with Walgreen's Pharmacy. What began as vouchers for student medical needs and pedometers for the staff has resulted in internships for their students. They consider themselves a "work in progress" and are currently working to implement project-based learning and increasing 21st century learning skills and opportunities for students.


Odyssey Community School

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.

First-year outcomes: 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. They have implemented a student breakfast program every Wednesday, and monthly community dinners that are cooked by the school leader. The school lunch program offers more salads and fruits, and students planted a school garden and researched composting. There has been more staff and student engagement and voice, and as a result of staff voice, a conversation began around critical issues that ultimately led to a change of the intake process. They changed their master schedule to offer electives first period so that if students are late, they are not missing their core classes—a direct result of staff and student empowerment within their whole child approach. Their small campus now looks and feels like a totally different school, and their classrooms are moving toward more student engagement by embracing project-based learning strategies. Their awards and achievement nights allow teachers to recognize students for their individual progress, and every student receives an award. This year, staff has created a plan to add a health education curriculum to their school schedule.


PS 9, The Teunis G. Bergen Elementary School

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.

First-year outcomes: PS 9 is a public community school serving K–5, with 594 students and 72 staff members. The staff hosted an event for parents in November where the staff did role play about the whole child tenets (students and parents interacted and understood information). PS 9 also offers a parenting skills course, which has increased to more than 20 participants. They have aligned all their school initiatives and are cross-walking everything into an overall whole child approach for a "framework and a common thread" for PS 9. They have implemented playground strategies via Playworks and have also started connecting the whole child approach with Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching. They are using relationship strategies from Nurtured Heart and pulling all pieces together with the tenets, indicators, and school components as they move toward their required Common Core content application. They are excited to report that this year, they have had zero suspensions issued by the superintendent for the first year ever, which is a measurable difference that is directly correlated to their first-year implementation work.


Urban Community School

Urban Community School (Diocese of Cleveland) in Cleveland, Ohio
Pam Delly
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.

First-year outcomes: Urban Community is a charter school serving preK–8, with 452 students and 42 staff members. Its overall strategy encompasses differentiation and personalization for each student. As a result of implementing a whole child approach, the staff now has a voice. This led the school to take actions such as synchronizing all school clocks, shifting the schedule with staff input, and equipping each staff member with an iPad tablet to enable cohesion and connections in planning with Ohio requirements, the Common Core State Standards, and an intentional link back during lesson planning to the whole child approach's tenets and indicators. There has been a noticeable decrease in the amount of paper (and stress) used in their building and an increase in collaboration with each other. The school is also in final preparations for the opening of their new wing this fall 2014, which will house grades 6–8.



**Albert Harris Elementary School (Martinsville City Public Schools) in Martinsville, Va. (INACTIVE)

Principal: Felicia Preston
"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