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For more information on how to start WSCC implementation in your school and community, e-mail the ASCD Whole Child Implementation Team.
The underlying purpose of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model is to establish greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between health and education across the school setting to improve each child's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. This means aligning and integrating not just policies, but processes and practices that serve each child.
Start the WSCC implementation process by considering the following key questions:
If your school has an active school improvement or school health team or a school health council, then you are close to being ready. The next step is to ensure that these teams understand the benefits for teaching and learning that come out of a connected, healthy, and supportive school environment. These benefits can be educational, physical, and financial. Taking the time to get yourself and your leadership teams organized could be the most important step you take.
What You Can Do
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Getting the support and buy-in of the school leadership is key, but the next step is to make sure that the school staff is also aware of the rationale and approach. All stakeholders in the school community need to be aware of the model and expected outcomes.
If you already have strong school–community partnerships, your school can build on these relationships and connections. The school is a reflection of its community and should strive to be the hub of activity and learning; engaging with the community creates partnerships, key allies, diverse resources, and a common goal.
Too many initiatives and reworkings of processes fail because sites do not spend the time to ensure they have the capacity to make the change. In these situations, the actions become the responsibility of one person or one part of the school community. The steering committee must identify the allies and recruit the volunteers needed for sustainable change. Try to include community volunteers with expertise in a given area, for example it would be advantageous to engage the support and involvement of a local public health officer, pediatrician, or pediatric nurse practitioner.
Once the steering committee is in place, then it's time to get a better understanding of where your school and community are with regard to the model and the alignment of learning and health. This can most easily be done by a simple needs assessment.
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