ASCD conducted its second Whole Child Virtual Conference in May. This free conference showcases schools, authors, and research about implementing a whole child approach for a worldwide audience. View and share archived session recordings, presenter handouts, and related resources at www.ascd.org/wcvirtualconference.
Gain further insight into what successful school sites are doing and simple steps your school can take to help implement, sustain, and build a culture of meeting the needs of the whole child through these presentations:
Post submitted by whole child blogger Caroline Newton, a sophomore at Temple University. Newton is studying journalism and writes for Jump: The Philly Music Project magazine.
"How can we prepare our learners for the future? How can our learners cultivate global competence?" Heidi Hayes Jacobs of Curriculum21 asked in her ASCD Annual Conference session. The topic of the hour? Connecting the classroom and the school to the global world.
Hello, my name is Lily Zhang. I am our LEO Club’s outgoing president, and my friend Angela Fu will start her term as president next year. We are going to tell you a little bit about what makes Byrne Creek, and in particular the LEO club at Byrne, special.
First of all, we love being students at Byrne Creek! Everyone in our school feels welcomed and included. Byrne Creek is a small school with approximately 1,250 students. Even though Byrne Creek is small, our programs are well-developed and encompassing. The many diverse programs include Dance Company (in which Angela takes part), Theatre Company, Choir (Lily is a member), Jazz Bands, Leadership, and many IDS (Independent Directed Studies) courses, where students can design their own courses to take. Our school also offers Electronics, Metalwork, Ceramics, Photography, and Sculpture. Our Work Experience program encourages students to experience working in different environments and decide which future career they might be interested in. We believe our school is well-rounded; not only do we have amazing academic courses taught to us by exceptional teachers who make it fun to learn advanced placement material, but we also have many clubs that capture every student's interests, such as the LEO Club.
There's a massive Viking longhouse under construction in Winthrop, Mass., and its youngest architects are only 14 years old. Each afternoon—after school—students in the town of Winthrop expand their math skills as they draw plans and measure wood, social studies skills in recreating Viking food and clothing, computer skills as they plot the museum's layout, and language and leadership skills as they make Viking culture come alive for visitors.
Across the country, high-quality after-school programs are helping accelerate student achievement. And, because the programs are community-driven and tap into local expertise, resources and talent, no two programs are exactly alike. In Winthrop, for example, Viking scholars are treated to visits by area architects and engineers. At other after-school programs, participants are just as likely to have music executives or computer programmers as their guides and colleagues.
Post submitted by Laida Falsetto and Mirella Gargiulo
Byrne Creek Secondary School has been and continues to be creative and flexible in designing varying programs to meet the needs of our current population. Over 60 percent of our student population does not speak English as their first language. As a result, we have worked innovatively to develop programs and activities that pave a way for individual success and celebrate diversity. But what is success? What makes someone successful? How do you know if you or your students have achieved success? These questions help guide our program development and are the building blocks that we use to create our classroom community each year.
Students as learners are also students as people, with hopes, fears, and needs. That's why it's so important to build adult-student relationships that support and encourage each student's academic and personal growth. The frequency and perceived worth of interaction (PDF) with faculty, staff, and other students is one of the strongest predictors not only of student persistence but also of student learning.
Byrne Creek Secondary is a school with H.E.A.R.T. that has always been caring and focused on the well-being of its students and their families.
Before the school opened its doors seven years ago, the administrative team knew that it was important to have a simple and easily remembered set of guiding principles for the students and staff. As a new secondary school with grades 8–12, students came to Byrne Creek from three other secondary schools and had to forge new relationships that ultimately, in conjunction with the staff, parents, and community partners, were going to be pivotal in the development of the school's culture and sense of community.
Byrne Creek Secondary School opened its doors to students for the first time in September 2005. The school was planned and built to solve an overcrowding problem in the south part of Burnaby. Planning and opening any new school has challenges; Byrne Creek was faced with additional problems. The community had the highest number of refugee students in the metro area of Vancouver, with the majority of refugees from Afghanistan and Africa. Many were functionally illiterate in their own language and had faced hardships such as famine, war, and other atrocities in their own countries. Two inner city elementary schools in the Byrne Creek neighborhood had been trying to support these families and were very helpful in making recommendations. In addition, the neighborhood is a low income and working class income socioeconomic community. The issues being faced by the elementary schools foreshadowed the challenges that the new Byrne Creek Secondary would face.
In her career as an educator, Debra Hill has worked at just about every level of education, from classroom teacher to superintendent to university professor.
She discovered her calling during her sophomore year at Northwestern University, when she designed cultural activities for young children. "I spent a summer with 25 5- to 7-year-olds—and 1 assistant—and decided, 'This is fun!'" Hill says.
Preparing our students for their future college, career, and citizenship success is our common purpose and responsibility. Essential to student success is access to personalized learning and support from qualified, caring adults. Students as learners are also students as people with social-emotional, physical, and mental health needs.
Supportive education communities are places where school staff, community-based service providers, families, and other adult stakeholders work together to identify and address students' needs and provide a coordinated, whole child approach to their education. Join us throughout April as we examine building and sustaining communities in which each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.