Tagged “School Environments”

Klea Scharberg

Throughout June and July: School Environments

What kind of school environments optimize the way students learn, teachers teach, and communities interact? Schools that take a whole child approach to education are conscious of the intersection between physical space and the cognitive, social, and emotional development of students, rather than focusing on one element in isolation. The learning environments we create—the physical along with school climate—can either help or hinder learning, development, teaching, and collaboration.

Join us throughout June and July as we examine how and why we must create learning environments that facilitate the process of developing students who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. During the summer months, make sure to check out the following:

The Whole Child Podcast

Look for the next episode of the Whole Child Podcast to hear from three exceptional guests who provide insight and ideas for transforming learning environments into places where the whole child thrives.

  • Bob Pearlman shares his extensive experience and expertise working at nearly every level of the school transformation process.
  • Kristin Cuilla, director of new school development for New Tech Network, shares how schools and communities are rethinking teaching and learning to create and transform learning environments where students are highly engaged.
  • Luis Torres, principal of P.S. 55 in the Bronx, N.Y., and a 2011 ASCD Outstanding Young Educator, will share how he has used nearly every part of the learning environment, from the halls and walls to the neighborhood and community partnerships, to revitalize the school, students, family, and community.

The Whole Child Blog

Check out the Whole Child Blog throughout June and July for contributions from experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff who will share free resources, provide examples of school environments, and answer your questions. Be sure to leave your questions, ideas, and stories in the comments.

What Works in School Environments

Visit the What Works section for a one-stop (free!) shop to explore issues that must be transformed if we are to successfully educate the whole child. Our new topic pages are a collection of resources on the topics we address each month. Throughout June and July, we'll add resources to the "School Environments" topic page. Tell us what has worked in your community. E-mail us and share resources, research, and examples.

Social Networking

Connect (if you haven't already) with the Whole Child Initiative on Facebook and Twitter to be part of changing the conversation around school environments with more than 8,000 people from around the globe.

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Focusing on Student Data and Community Involvement Are Keys for Local Schools that are "Beating the Odds"

This article originally appeared in the Michigan ASCD monthly online publication, The Source, in May 2011. Additional schools will be sharing their stories throughout the year.

There are real success stories in Michigan school buildings that are considered by some to have traditional barriers to academic achievement, the Michigan Department of Education reports.

Over 100 schools in Michigan are finding ways to overcome the identifiable risk factors to low student achievement, such as low economic status, race and ethnicity, or proficiency with the English language.

"These are schools that are doing remarkable things to help their students achieve, despite the odds being stacked against them," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. The Michigan Department of Education conducted two separate studies to identify schools that are "beating the odds." One study identified 63 schools that are performing above their predicted levels, based on risk factors. The second study identified 72 schools that perform better than a comparison group of schools with similar demographics.

Of the 135 schools identified, 20 schools including 18 elementary, one middle, and one high school, beat the odds in light of both studies' criteria and were interviewed and profiled for this release. Six additional schools met both criteria, however were not profiled because they are gifted and talented magnet schools. The schools represent districts from across the spectrum of the state, from large urban districts to suburban and remote rural schools.

Michigan ASCD has invited these schools to share their stories with you. In this first installment in the series, read how Deerfield Elementary School in the Novi Community School District has worked to create a school with soul.

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