In addition to improving students' academic performance, research shows that supportive schools also help prevent a host of negative consequences, including isolation, violent behavior, dropping out of school, and suicide. Central to a supportive school are teachers, administrators, and other caring adults who take a personal interest in each student and in the success of each student.
School and communities committed to educating the whole child connect students with caring adults throughout a student's school career through a variety of positive relationships. These relationships reinforce academic achievement and social, civic, ethical, and emotional development.
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 supported indicators (PDF).
From the Whole Child Blog
Teachers know that engaging and inspiring students initially requires building positive relationships and creating relevant learning experiences. Students who are motivated and see meaning in what they learn progress faster and at high levels, even when they start with knowledge or skill gaps. In fact, focusing on motivation and meaning can be an underutilized tool for the classroom.
On the last episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we talked with author Richard Curwin and ASCD Emerging Leaders Ashanti Foster and John Hines about the building blocks of motivation—hope, meaning, and challenge. In this episode, host Sean Slade, director of ASCD's Whole Child Programs, speaks one-on-one with Baruti Kafele—veteran educator and nationally renowned speaker on the topic of motivating low-performing students—about how knowing your students, intentionally creating a positive school climate and culture, and making learning relevant sets the stage for students to be motivated to succeed.
As a middle and high school principal, Kafele led the transformation of four different schools, including Newark Tech High School, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to being recognized as one of the best high schools in the United States. He is the author of Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life and Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success, and has received more than 100 educational, professional, and community awards.
Listen to the episode below or download:
What are you doing to change your students' attitudes so that every day they walk into the classroom, they are fired up and ready to excel?
Whole Child Examples
Anansi Charter School’s mission is to provide a nurturing and supportive environment where children of all races, creeds, religions, and special needs develop a love of learning and acquire a strong foundation on which to build a lifetime of knowledge.