Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child
Health and education affect individuals, society, and the economy and, as such, must work together whenever possible. Schools are a perfect setting for this collaboration. Schools are one of the most efficient systems for reaching children and youth to provide health services and programs, as approximately 95 percent of all U.S. children and youth attend school. At the same time, integrating health services and programs more deeply into the day-to-day life of schools and students represents an untapped tool for raising academic achievement and improving learning.
Learn why we need a collaborative approach to learning and health (PDF).
View a larger image of the WSCC model.
The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model combines and builds on elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach and the whole child framework by
- Responding to the call for greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between education and health to improve each child's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.
- Incorporating the components of a coordinated school health program around the tenets of a whole child approach to education.
- Providing a framework to address the symbiotic relationship between learning and health.
The focus of the WSCC model is an ecological approach that is directed at the whole school, with the school in turn drawing its resources and influences from the whole community and serving to address the needs of the whole child. ASCD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage use of the model as a framework for improving students' learning and health in our nation's schools.
A Collaborative Approach to Learning and Health
For the past decade, ASCD has worked on strengthening the links between learning and health—whether through healthy school communities or the Whole Child Initiative. These two essential sectors must align and work collaboratively if we are to truly support students and their growth and learning. If health and social service providers and schools are serving the same students in the same location and for the same needs, it makes sense to work together.
In 1987, noted school health experts Diane Allensworth and Lloyd Kolbe introduced the coordinated school health model in which school health is illustrated as a necessary foundation for not only healthy students, but also healthy and effective schools. And although this has been a well-established, easily understood model for the past two decades, it unfortunately hasn't had the effect inside education circles as its potential held.
In 2011, ASCD published The Healthy School Communities Model: Aligning Health and Education in the School Setting (PDF) and asked for a paradigm shift in how learning and health are viewed. In 2013, ASCD and the CDC convened leaders from the fields of health, public health, education, and school health to develop the next evolution of school health to ensure that the health of the student, the teacher, and the school are taken seriously by educators and, in particular, by those involved in the school improvement process. The result is the 2014 launch of the WSCC model.