ASCD's third annual Whole Child Virtual Conference, entitled "Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture," will run May 6–10, 2013. The free and exclusively online event—which attracted more than 900 participants last year—offers educators around the globe 24 sessions to support their work to implement and sustain a whole child approach to education.
From Monday, May 6, through Friday, May 10, daily general sessions will be presented live between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. eastern time. The full agenda and registration information is available at www.ascd.org/wcvirtualconference.
ASCD is honored to present Milwaukie High School, located in Milwaukie, Ore., with the 2013 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. This special award recognizes schools that move beyond a vision for educating the whole child to actions that result in learners who are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond formal schooling.
Post submitted by Andy Hargreaves and Pasi Sahlberg
We are entering an age of post-standardization in education. It may not look, smell, or feel like it, but the augurs of the new age have already arrived and are advancing with increasing speed. [This] "Fourth Way" pushes beyond standardization, data-driven decision making, and target-obsessed distractions to forge an equal and interactive partnership among the people, the profession, and their government.
—Andy Hargreaves, The Fourth Way, 2009
Educational systems across the globe are under pressure to change. Many countries are focusing attention on additional accountability, school choice and competition, short-term outcomes, and data-driven decision making (what have been called the "second" and "third" ways). Many high-performing countries and systems, however, are reexamining their structures and policies to move toward greater collective professional autonomy from bureaucratic control, stronger active involvement of local communities, and diversified teaching to respond to today's widely varying populations of learners. This "fourth" way of educational reform heralds the next stage for educational improvement—a movement which reverts educational authority back from centralized bureaucracies to educators and communities, diversifies skills and content taught to suit each community and context, and is driven by the inspiring and also basic belief that there are skills and aptitudes that are just as critical as content knowledge.
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?
Four years ago on the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States, we titled our Whole Child Newsletter "Someday Happens," reflecting a T-shirt I saw at the ceremonies that day. Today, independent of political views, I'm wondering when someday will happen for the millions of kids promised a "free and appropriate public education." Although that phrase was first introduced in reference to children with disabilities, it applies too often to kids from all walks of life in all parts of the United States.
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?
My sense is that most educators view the Common Core State Standards as another inconvenience, yet another requirement to meet in our classrooms. However, I would argue that the standards present us with an incredibly unique set of opportunities if we choose to embrace them as a collective opportunity. Knowing that we may have to restructure what we do and how we do it, we have the opportunity to truly reexamine our practice and adjust it accordingly to better meet the academic needs of our students. Additionally, and perhaps more crucially, we don't necessarily need to limit our focus on our students' academic needs.
In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life. These are the top 10 posts you read in 2012.
Educators have a unique opportunity to reset the playing field and make the Common Core State Standards work for them. We can implement the standards, align them to a whole child approach to education, and ensure that both support and enhance each other. The Common Core standards and a whole child approach are not opposites, and they do not and should not have to be in opposition.
Join us throughout December and January as we investigate how the standards integrate and align within a whole child approach and how a strong framework can support a well-rounded education that prepares students for college, career, and citizenship success. Overall, we will highlight how now is the time for educators to take control and become empowered in the process. The outcomes will depend on what you decide to do for the Common Core standards within a whole child approach and how you decide to do it.
We measure what we value. This is true in how we spend our time, where we focus our efforts, and how we evaluate our teachers. Believing that educators must embrace the whole child—we must be sure that a child is healthy, safe, supported, engaged, and challenged—then how should that affect our approach to teacher evaluation? Don't misunderstand me: academic skills are terribly important, and teachers, principals, and schools are judged on how children perform on multiple-choice tests. We can mourn that (and I do), but it is a reality. But it can't be the whole reality. As we prepare students to succeed in the real world, not just to do better on their tests next year than they did this year, we must bring a whole child approach to how we view our students.