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February 1, 2021
Vol. 78
No. 5

Whole Child Spotlight: Creating the Conditions for Continuous Professional Growth

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    Professional Learning
    Whole Child Spotlight: Creating the Conditions for Continuous Professional Growth thumbnail
      Effective professional development in education is based on ongoing growth and the development of agency and empowerment via personalization, local context, and alignment to a common purpose and meaning. In short, making professional learning stick is a mirror of many of the core facets of what works to make learning stick for our students, too.
      The premise of the ASCD Whole Child Network was to create a professional development network of schools that could share, compare, and discuss issues and develop solutions that spur continuous growth among educators. In the year since its launch, the Whole Child Network has become a collaborative of schools globally (now in more than 55 countries) that bring the expertise of diverse educators and leaders together.
      To augment the networking portion of the initiative, ASCD is now rolling out a series of Whole Child Network professional learning packages for schools and districts. These packages integrate the network's logic model of continuous school improvement with ongoing consultancy and personalized guidance. Following the best practices for professional learning, they provide a personalized, consultative approach to professional development in whole child education that strives to make change sustainable in schools and their communities.

      Whole Child Indicators on Professional Development and Sustainability

      • Implementation of a whole child approach to education is a cornerstone of our school improvement plan and is included in our data collection and analysis process.

      • Our professional development plan reflects emphasis on and implementation of a whole child approach to education, is individualized to meet staff needs, and is coordinated with ongoing school improvement efforts.

      • Our school regularly reviews the alignment of our policies and practices to ensure the health, safety, engagement, support, and challenge of our students.

      • Our school uses a balanced approach to formative and summative assessments that provide reliable and developmentally appropriate information about student learning.

      • Our professional evaluation process emphasizes meeting the needs of the whole child and provides opportunities for individualized professional growth.

      • Our school identifies and collaborates with community agencies, service providers, and organizations to meet specific goals for students.

      • Our school implements a proactive approach to identifying students' social, emotional, physical, and academic needs and designs coordinated interventions among all service providers.

      • Our school leaders implement a distributed leadership plan to ensure progress.

      • Our school staff, community-based service providers, families, and other adult stakeholders share research, appropriate data, idea generation, and resources to provide a coordinated, whole child approach for each student.

      • Our school and all our partners consistently assess and monitor our progress on all indicators of student success to ensure progress and make necessary changes in a timely manner.

      Learn more about the Whole Child school indicators and join the Whole Child Network.

      Sean Slade is an education leader, speaker, and author, with nearly three decades of experience in education in the U.S. and globally. He serves as Head of BTS Spark, North America, the social impact arm of BTS focusing on educational leadership development. Prior to BTS Spark, Sean was senior director of global outreach at ASCD, where he launched and grew the ASCD Whole Child Network across 56 countries and led the development of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model (WSCC) with the CDC. His latest book is The Power of the Whole: What is Lost by Focusing on Individual Things. 

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