We know that when students are fully engaged in learning and school, academic achievement, attendance rates, and participation in activities increases. Students need to be motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order, creative-thinking skills and, ultimately, be prepared for their future college, career, and citizenship success.
What does it take for children to be mentally healthy? Being mentally healthy is not just about being free from serious emotional and behavioral difficulties. It's also about being mentally strong and resilient and having the skills and supports to deal with stressful issues when they arise. Today is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, established and promoted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Awareness Day national event seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth.
With so many families facing hardship now, today's "poor kids" don't fit old stereotypes. And taking such actions as they can to make learning and life better for students facing poverty is now a challenge for all teachers. The May 2013 issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership raises awareness of the impact of poverty on children today and what might be done to help close the achievement gap.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer asks whether poverty is predestined. She writes, "The question is whether, in the future, we will be forced to say, 'Poverty should not be destiny, but, unfortunately, statistics say it is.'" After reading her column, do you agree?
All educators want to improve the work they do for students, their families, and the community. Whether it's instruction, school climate, leadership, family engagement, or any of the other issues schools face on a daily basis, all educators need tools to help them improve their actions and methods. A whole child approach sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success.
In today's global economic state, many families and children face reduced circumstances. These "poor kids" don't fit the traditional stereotypes—two-thirds live in families in which at least one adult works, and the percentage of poor students in many rural districts equals that in inner-city districts. In the United States, the economic downturn has dramatically changed the landscape, and districts that were previously vibrant are now dealing with unemployment, underemployment, and more transient families.
Join us throughout May as we share what new—and old—solutions we are using to support learning and ensure that each child, whatever her circumstances, is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
The topic of principal effectiveness and its role in comprehensive, sustainable school improvement has been on our minds as we bring our ASCD Forum discussion to a close. We asked readers of ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, what best defines effective principals. More than a third (34 percent) of readers agree that the most important standard is for principals to have a clear vision and inspire and engage others in developing and realizing it. At a secondary level, about one in six educators felt that one of the following four standards were equally important and most descriptive of an effective principal:
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. Principals 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 are the collaborative leaders our schools need to fully commit to ensuring each student—and school staff member—is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
Join us throughout April as we look at what qualities principals in today's (and tomorrow's) schools need to fulfill their roles as visionary, instructional, influential, and learning leaders.
As demonstrated by the tragic events of not only the last few months in Connecticut, Georgia, and California, but also the last 10 years across the nation, school safety is a complicated issue with no single or simple solution. We have read, listened to, and participated in discussions on how to keep our schools safe and secure. From our homes, faculty rooms, school board meetings, and the halls of Congress, we are all moving from shock to recovery, fear to resiliency.
Last weekend at ASCD's 68th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Chicago, Ill., thousands of educators from around the world shared their stories, made discoveries, laughed and cried, and learned how to enrich themselves and engage their students. Throughout the coming months, we will be sharing lessons and learning from selected sessions on this blog and further connecting with new and old friends on Twitter @wholechildadv and the whole child page on Facebook.
Below is a sampling of Tweets from #ASCD13 highlighting the #wholechild approach to education. Check out ASCD Inservice for more.
Addressing students' needs levels the playing field. Or rather, addressing students' needs is only leveling the playing field. If a child is hungry, then the need can be addressed by providing breakfast, lunch, and assistance as needed. The same applies if the child is unwell. Many schools have made great strides in addressing students' needs, but some schools have gone further. They have taken an issue that was initially a need and used it to enhance and improve what the school offers.
Join us throughout March as we look at schools that have taken a deficit and turned it into an asset. Some schools have used connections formed into and across the community to enhance and build on what they first envisaged. Other schools are forming alliances to improve a specific situation, and have then used those same alliances to improve the entire school. How has your school or community taken a challenge and turned it into a win?