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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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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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Roxanne Dove

Education Support Professionals: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student

Jean G. Fay has no typical workday. Whether it's working one-on-one with a child with special needs, helping out in the cafeteria at lunchtime, sewing costumes for the school musical, or leading 40 2nd graders in the Crocker Farm Elementary hip-hop crew, she does it all! Jean is also known at Crocker Farm for her homemade cookies. Her kindergartners love to munch on them while they listen to her read "Junie B. Jones" stories. She wants to bring her love of reading to them every day, whether it's reading Simon James' "Baby Brains" books or poems by Emily Dickinson or T.S. Eliot.

Over the last 15 years, she has taught children to read, write, and do basic math; comforted children who were feeling sad; encouraged students in their social interaction; and helped them with all of their first steps in education. She has been there for them just as they begin learning to be learners and mastering the skills that they will need to be successful in life. On Thursday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays, she heads to her second job, at JCPenney at the local mall. Working at JCPenney has meant more than just paying the bills, though. She has used it as a way to help students and their families. Using her employee discount and the Massachusetts Child grant program, Jean has been able to buy clothes and school supplies for her students. When the father of one of her students passed away and the mother was struggling financially, Jean was able to use the Massachusetts Child program to purchase clothes for the children for their dad's funeral. Jean continues to be connected to this family today.

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Walter McKenzie

MI21: Multiple Intelligences and Preparing Children for the 21st Century

Society is quickly shifting, and so with it shifts the dialog about meaningfully learning and contributing. What used to pass for preparation to participate in a democratic society with a free market economy no longer holds true. Public schools currently reflect the 1900s more than the 2000s, even as education bureaucracy has clamped down and locked in on traditional, measurable standards and assessments. Instead of opening things up to the marketplace of ideas, public schools have opened themselves up to the assessment and technology marketplace, investing in solutions to document and justify the last century's ideals.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Reflect or Refract: Top 3 Tips for the Reflective Educator

Post written by Barry Saide and Jasper Fox, Sr.

The dictionary definition of reflection states that reflection is light bouncing off a flat plane and returning back at the same angle. This allows us to see an image clearly, like when looking in a mirror. Reflection is an almost perfect representation. If the light bends prior to it returning, it's called refraction. What was once a perfect view becomes hazy, the representation distorted.

When applying these terms to education, how often do we reflect vs. refract?

Reflecting on our own pedagogy and practice takes a confident mindset. We need to be secure with ourselves in order to be open to honest feedback from others, admit mistakes made during delivery of instruction, and self-identify possible solutions for why things didn't go as planned. Reflectors do not blame students for their inattentiveness or behavioral issues. They identify ways to maintain consistent engagement and involvement throughout the learning process. If many students do not get the correct answer, the default response of a reflective teacher is not to state: "I don't know why they didn't get it—I taught it!" Instead, the reflective teacher reviews their approach to teaching the concept, and will try a new approach the next day. Reflectors know not all students understand content delivered the first time because reflective teachers are lifelong students, and may not have grasped content presented to them at some point, too.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Take Action: Tell Your Representative to Support the Whole Child!

ASCD Educator AdvocatesU.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) just introduced federal resolution H.Res.658 (PDF), which supports a whole child approach to education. It's a crucial first step in getting federal lawmakers to develop policies and make decisions that more effectively promote students' long-term learning, development, and success. Now, we need your help in letting your lawmaker know about the resolution and why it's important. Please take five minutes to ask your representative to cosponsor the resolution.

The resolution states that the U.S. House of Representatives

  • recognizes the benefit of ensuring students are challenged, supported, healthy, safe, and engaged;
  • encourages parents, educators, and community members to support a whole child approach to education for each student; and
  • encourages the federal government to identify opportunities among federal agencies to coordinate the education, health, and social service sectors serving our nation's youth.

We thank you in advance for asking your lawmaker to cosponsor the resolution. Take Action!

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