The Whole Child Blog

Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: Should Cellphones Be Allowed at School?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers if they believe students should be allowed to bring and use their cellphones at school.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

ICYMI: Principals Share Advice on Whole Child Podcast

Principals are the key players in developing the climate, culture, and processes in their schools. They are critical to implementing meaningful and lasting school change and in the ongoing school-improvement process. There is also no doubt that the role—or roles—of a principal has changed dramatically in recent years and will likely change even more in upcoming decades.

In a 2013 episode of the Whole Child Podcast, ASCD's Sean Slade and Donna Snyder are joined by Kevin Enerson, principal of Le Sueur-Henderson High School in Minnesota (an ASCD Whole Child Network school), and Jessica Bohn, principal of Gibsonville Elementary School in North Carolina and an ASCD Emerging Leader, to discuss the qualities principals in today's (and tomorrow's) schools need to fulfill their roles as visionary, instructional, influential, and learning leaders.

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Dawn Imada Chan

What Happens When You Believe

I was recently asked if I remember teachers or educators that made a difference in my life and learning and how they inspired me. Yes, for a while I was that "middle" kid. I was your student who came diligently every day to class, completes their work, and if given the choice, would have been perfectly happy blending into the background. I was eager about the world's possibilities (which you wouldn't have known unless you asked), but had little belief in myself that I would be a part of making a difference in it. I was the kid who had mastered the art of not being noticed, but not well enough to fool the untrained eyes of some of my teachers.

You, too, likely have had one of these teachers. The teachers who are passionate about their work and believe in the potential of each child, love their content area, but believe in the importance of making real connections with their students even more. They are the ones that make the most indelible impressions on your heart and their belief in you is what made you think differently about yourself so you could soar.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

History for Its Own Sake, and For All of Our Sakes

Post written by Kerry Dunne and Christopher Martell

Recent national media attention on attempts by school districts to fold history and social studies into broader humanities programs has brought attention to the role of history education in today schools.

This begs the question: Is the study of history and the social studies a critical part of a 21st century education? In the age of a Common Core State Standards curriculum dominated by literacy and numeracy, will it survive as a core school subject? We argue that high-quality teaching and learning in history, geography, economics, and civics matter more than ever for today's American students and for the future of the country.

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Jeffrey Benson

Four Frames for Principals, New and Experienced

I was working with an elementary principal. One of the school's 3rd grade classes had given him a list of responsibilities they assumed formed his job. He showed me the list and chuckled, until he got to an item that he said made him shudder far more than smile: "You fix everything."

That overwhelming mandate contains a big piece of the truth: almost everything that happens in the school is ultimately the responsibility of the principal. What is equally valid is the reality that one person cannot know everything, be everywhere, prevent all problems, and fix everything.

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Klea Scharberg

Free Webinar: Digital Learning Strategies with Mike Fisher

ASCD Summer Boot Camp Webinar SeriesJoin Mike Fisher, author of the ASCD Arias Digital Learning Strategies: How do I assign and assess 21st century work?, for an exciting, free webinar to explore six questions for deciding whether or not to digitize your instructional strategies, processes, or products.

Thursday, July 31, 2014, 3:00 p.m. eastern time
Register now!

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Klea Scharberg

What Advice Do You Have for New Principals?

As the key players in developing the climate, culture, and processes in their schools, principals are critical to implementing meaningful and lasting change in the ongoing school-improvement process. Those who have a clear vision; inspire and engage others in embracing change for improvement; drive, facilitate, and monitor the teaching and learning process; and foster a cohesive culture of learning lead our schools in ensuring that each student—and school staff member—is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

From July 21 through August 1, we'll be sharing advice for new principal leaders—those who are new to the role or new to a school. What advice do you have for new principals? Are you (or have you been) a principal and have a story or experience to share?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

How Do We Build Systems for All Learners?

All the talk of closing the achievement gap in schools obscures a more fundamental issue: do the grades we assign to students truly reflect the extent of their learning? In a new ASCD book, Grading Smarter, Not Harder, Myron Dueck reveals how many of the assessment policies that teachers adopt can actually prove detrimental to student motivation and achievement and shows how we can tailor policies to address what really matters: student understanding of content.

In this video, Dueck tells the story of how he saw the flaws in penalty-driven grading by trying to get his son to brush his teeth.

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Melissa Mellor

Tacoma Public Schools: Measuring the Whole Child

Educators across the nation are working to improve their students' academic achievement, engage families and communities in learning, and maintain safe and healthy learning environments. But in Washington State's Tacoma Public Schools, educators are being held accountable for all of these responsibilities, not just their students' performance on tests. That's because the district is strategically aligning its accountability system with its overall purpose of supporting the whole child.

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Kevin T. Goddard

Motivation Matters

Middle school kids are a different breed. If you aren't motivating them, they are not learning. In fact, they are probably tearing something up if motivation isn't in the picture. During my years as a middle school principal, I figured out that building a school culture with character education, fun, and a sense of belonging was key to improving student achievement.

The year before I arrived at a junior high of 510 students, teachers sent students 5,090 times to the office for disciplinary infractions. Discipline was handled in three different ways: kick the kid out, let the kid sit on the bench outside the office and go to their next class with no consequence, or paddle them. The school board was very adamant that this building culture change.

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