Tagged “Community Engagement”

Stephen Sroka

Tips from the Trenches: Student Services

During the last few months, I have had the chance to talk with several speakers who strongly affected their audiences. I started to think about the remarkable leaders with whom I have worked over the years and how they have made huge differences with their incredible wisdom, insight, and actions. I contacted some of them and asked them to comment on working in education in these difficult times. I asked them to share some take-away messages, so that, if they were speaking, what would they want their audience to remember? Read the other installments in the series: school safety, administration, and teaching.

Students are more than grade-point averages. Often they are faced with many barriers to effective education. Dealing with the whole child, and not just the academic child, can help facilitate learning. Safe and healthy students learn more. Here are some "Tips from the Trenches" about the value of supporting students.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Great Expectations: Transforming Practice Through Common Core Implementation

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We as educators have a unique opportunity to reset the playing field and make the Common Core State Standards work for us. We can implement the standards, align them to a whole child approach to education, and ensure that they both support and enhance each other to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship success. The Common Core standards and a whole child approach are not opposites, and they do not have to be and should not be in opposition. In fact, they're interdependent. So much so, that they require each other to be successful.

Now is the time for us to take control and become empowered in the process. The outcomes will depend on what we decide to do for the Common Core standards within a whole child approach and how we decide to do it. In this episode, host Molly McCloskey and our guests discuss how our schools are working to better and more comprehensively support student learning so that they meet these enhanced expectations. You'll hear from

  • Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids and, recently, director of public engagement and advocacy for the Public Education Network where he covered education reform, parental involvement, and community engagement issues on the Hill and agencies, specializing in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Fege has more than 40 years of public education and child advocacy experience as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and desegregation director. He was the National PTA's director of governmental relations for 17 years and is recognized for his leading work and articles in linking school and community. As a staff person for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he helped draft provisions in the original ESEA legislation and has been involved in every reauthorization of ESEA since that time.
  • Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and guest author this month on the Whole Child Blog. Mertler has been an educator for more than 25 years, beginning his career as a high school science teacher, then pursuing degrees in education assessment, research, and statistics. His interests lie in teacher-led action research, teacher leadership, classroom assessment, data-driven instructional decision making, and school improvement.
  • David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD who leads the development and implementation of ASCD's Legislative Agenda as well as ASCD's efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels. He has 20 years of political experience as a congressional aide and on several political campaigns. Prior to joining ASCD, Griffith was the director of governmental and public affairs for the National Association of State Boards of Education, where he oversaw the organization's advocacy and political activities as well as media relations.

How are you and your professional colleagues critically examining your practice as we enter the era of Common Core implementation?

Stephen Sroka

Tips from the Trenches: School Safety

During the last few months, I have had the chance to talk with several speakers who strongly affected their audiences. I started to think about the remarkable leaders with whom I have worked over the years and how they have made huge differences with their incredible wisdom, insights, and actions. I contacted some of them and asked them to comment on working in education in these difficult times. I asked them to share some take-away messages, things that if they were speaking, they would want their audience to remember. Read the other installments in the series: student services, administration, and teaching.

School safety was a front page story following the tragic shooting deaths of 28 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Students need a safe school to learn. Most of these "Tips from the Trenches" regarding school safety were written before the Connecticut shootings.

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Klea Scharberg

The Time Is Now: Make the Case for Educating the Whole Child

Whether you are a parent, educator, or community member, you can help turn political rhetoric about "investing in the future of our children" into reality. Join ASCD in helping your school, district, and community move from a vision for educating the whole child to sustainable, collaborative action. States and school districts across the country are adopting policies and practices to better educate the whole child, but we can do more.

Updated with critical research and real-world examples of education policies and practices that ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child (PDF) is a free advocacy tool that you can use as you work with policymakers, the media, and other groups. You can also add your local statistics and success stories so that decision makers in your community understand the difference a whole child education can make.

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Klea Scharberg

Support, Optimism, and Hope

No community is immune to the effects of traumatic events. Our ASCD community includes the students, teachers, and residents of Newtown, Conn. This morning we shared posts from our archives that speak to providing safe and connected learning environments. We hope the following resources from ASCD and our Whole Child Partners connect to educators, families, and communities' resilient spirit so that they can tap the resilient spirit in their students.

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Sean Slade

What’s in Our Control: Safer, Connected Environments

Almost no one has been unaffected by the events in Newtown, Conn., last week—especially if they are a teacher or parent or have kids who go to elementary school, as many of us do. It's hard to discuss and even harder to make any kind of sense out of what happened.

Today we highlight posts from our archives, the ASCD community, and our partner organizations that speak to how we can make our schools and communities safer and more connected. While we cannot immediately change policies that affect our schools and larger communities, we can strengthen our resolve to make sure that we create environments for our kids that are welcoming, supportive, and caring. The immediate reaction is to hunker down; however, as we hear so often, the best next steps are to open doors, re-engage and reconnect.

We hope the following pieces may resonate or help. Standing strong together and reminding ourselves that a connected community is a safer and friendlier community may be the best action we can take right now, and it's something we can have some control over.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Respecting and Reflecting School Culture

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A positive school culture is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement. School culture encompasses the schoolwide ethos and the culture of individual classrooms, high expectations for learning and achievement, a safe and caring environment, shared values and relational trust, a powerful pedagogy and curriculum, high student motivation and engagement, a professional faculty culture, and partnerships with families and the community. It is constantly being shaped through our interactions, individual identities, beliefs, traditions, experiences, and community diversity. Research shows that successful schools with positive, effective school cultures are places that foster teacher learning and motivate students to learn.

Many schools may be in the process of implementing a program or process to support a whole child approach to education. Other schools may be looking at how to sustain what has already been achieved or developed. Fully embedding a whole child approach into the culture so that it becomes an integral part of what we do and who we are as schools and communities is key to ensuring that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for their future college, career, and civic lives.

As Harvard educator Roland Barth once observed, "A school's culture has far more influence on life and learning in the schoolhouse than the state department of education, the superintendent, the school board, or even the principal can ever have."

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, Klea Scharberg, project manager for whole child programs at ASCD, talked with members of the Special Olympics National Youth Activation CommitteeSpecial Olympics Project UNIFY is a whole child partner—about what a safe and positive school culture means to them, student voice and leadership, and why they are committed to being agents of change for their communities and young people across the United States. You'll hear from

  • Daniel Fink, originally from Alaska and currently attending Washington State University;
  • Kelsey Foster, from South Carolina;
  • Heather Glaser, from Wyoming; and
  • Bernice Higa-French, from Hawaii.

How does the culture of your school and community affect the success of your students?

"It's not necessarily that something is different about the school. They don't have different curriculum that they teach—no, it's just that it's more integrated and inclusive. You can walk down the hallway and you're not afraid of talking to anyone because of their race or their background, or anything like that. ... You walk in and there's just a smile on your face—and you don't necessarily know why—and you want to know more about why [the school culture] is that way."

—Daniel Fink

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Growing Healthy Schools

Growing Healthy Schools Week 2012

In addition to National Health Education Week, it is also the first annual Growing Healthy Schools Week in the District of Columbia. Growing Healthy Schools Week is organized by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education Wellness & Nutrition Services in conjunction with the D.C. Farm to School Network at D.C. Greens and the D.C. Schoolyard Greening Committee at the D.C. Environmental Education Consortium.

Growing Healthy Schools Week celebrates school gardens and farm-to-school programs throughout the District. The aim is to encourage and showcase how schools work with community organizations, farms, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging the broader community, increasing environmental literacy, building program capacity, and connecting students to their food. Resources, cafeteria recipes, and curriculum ideas are available online for all schools and communities to use, wherever they are located.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Engaging the Whole Community to Support Positive Bus Behavior

Jessica Bohn

Post submitted by Jessica Bohn, principal at Gibsonville Elementary School in Gibsonville, N.C. She has worked at all levels K–16, including as a university assistant director, assistant principal, district curriculum specialist, and science teacher. Bohn is a member of the ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2012 and is passionate about STEM education and 21st century learning.

If you are an educational leader, you know that promoting positive behavior on the school bus can be a challenge. Students are often tired, restless, and ready for unstructured play at the end of a school day. Last year, I was presented with the data that our buses were the location of the majority of our discipline referrals, and I wondered what I could do about it.

We are a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) school, but translating those practices to the school buses has been challenging. Principals do not often supervise bus drivers or establish bus routes, but they often bear the responsibility for student discipline on school buses. It is also important to acknowledge that the well-being of children as they arrive and depart from school can affect their outlook on the educational environment. I decided that I needed to engage our larger community in the discussion in order to understand the whole child and make a difference.

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Molly McCloskey

Fast, Free, Online: Because You Can’t Wait to Get Better

ASCD School Improvement Tool

All educators want to improve what they do for kids, but they need help doing so. On a daily basis, we’re thinking, planning, and taking steps to improve school climate and culture, provide high-quality curriculum and instruction, be leaders, assess meaningfully, engage our families and communities, support our own professional development, build staff capacity, and more. How do we balance these multiple school improvement priorities in our schools and with one another?

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