Challenged

To succeed in college, other postsecondary education, and the workplace, students need higher-level thinking, communications, and problem-solving skills as well as knowledge of the world and its people. These are all products of a curriculum that challenges students to work harder as they investigate a wide range of real-world subjects. What's more, our high school graduates who pursue college must be adequately prepared, yet too many are taking remedial courses, which raises deep concerns about the value of their high school diplomas.

Students engage in a broad spectrum of activities in and out of the classroom. Districts and communities committed to educating the whole child work together to prepare young people for success in higher education,  employment, and civic life by providing meaningful learning experiences and opportunities to demonstrate achievement.

Ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged requires us to continually ask questions and examine evidence related to implementation. ASCD's indicators of a whole child approach provide a guide for continual school and community improvement and serve as a definition of what a whole child approach to education truly requires. Download the set of challenged indicators (PDF).

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From the Whole Child Blog

Teaching Students, Not Subjects

Magnolia Elementary serves 497 students from grades preK–five in suburban Baltimore, Md. The school is classified as Title I and 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. A staff of three administrators, three school counselors, 44 teachers, and 10 support personnel ensure a well-rounded learning environment is established for each child.

The school is committed to improving the physical and social-emotional health of each student. Since many of the students' home neighborhoods are not considered safe for outside play, the school has reworked its master schedule to allow for increased physical education periods and additional free play time connected to lunch periods. Magnolia Elementary also conducts movement sessions via its after-school intervention program.

The school has a mental health cohort that meets six times per year to evaluate the support the school is providing to teachers, staff, and students. As a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (or PBIS, as it's often known) school, Magnolia Elementary believes in emphasizing positive behaviors and teaching character. To build a greater sense of school community, the school has created five "houses" on campus, and each house aligns with a specific character trait: responsibility, respect, cooperation, encouragement, and perseverance.

For this tremendous dedication and its many accomplishments, Magnolia Elementary is the 2015 winner of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, you’ll hear from Principal Patricia Mason, Assistant Principal Stacey McCord, Title 1 Teacher Specialist Tara Sample, and teachers Kimberly Wheeler and Lauren Donnelly.

Listen to the episode below or download here.

How are you creating a culture and climate of support and success in your school? How do you know that you're succeeding?

Magnolia Elementary School is the sixth recipient of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Listen to previous award-winning schools as they share their stories and explain how they ensure that each child in their community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged:

 

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Whole Child Examples

Community Example

The Number One Rule: Be: Kind

Lusher Charter School is one of the most sought-after public schools in the city of New Orleans. 

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Get Your Results Now

Designed for use in schools and districts around the world, the free ASCD School Improvement Tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment. Based on your unique results, the tool points you to professional development resources that can help immediately address school-wide challenges.

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About ASCD

ASCD is the global leader in developing and delivering innovative programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner. Comprising 125,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, professors, and advocates from more than 138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 56 affiliate organizations. To learn more about how ASCD supports educators as they learn, teach, and lead, visit www.ascd.org.