Tagged “Whole Child Partners”
The students needed me to make a difference, and they couldn't wait another year for me to figure it out. The disciplinary referrals were piling up in the manila folder on my desk. Their pink, yellow, and white triplicate forms were complete and signed by parents and guardians and entered into the school system's data management system. Even though I had already dealt with these behavior documents and events, they still troubled me.
As the assistant principal for 8th grade, they bothered me because the same students' names populated the forms day after day. They had become "frequent flyers" in my office. And even though I was doing my job as it was assigned, I knew I needed to do something different to serve these students. Turning students' lives into ink and paper was simple, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't making a real difference in their daily lives at school and beyond.
What percentage of students is it okay to let feel unsafe at school?
- 0 percent
- 1 percent
- 5 percent
- 10 percent
You, like me, probably answered zero percent. As an educator dedicated to a whole child approach to education, you recognize the value of each and every learner.
What if I told you we have allowed (albeit unintentionally in most cases), if not contributed to, an entire population of students feeling unsafe at school? A population of students you are most likely rooting for as they enter adulthood and pursue equal rights.
We know that students do better in school when they are emotionally and physically healthy. They miss fewer classes, are less likely to engage in risky or antisocial behavior, concentrate more, and achieve higher test scores. Research shows physical education programs not only improve physical fitness, but they can also benefit students by improving skill development, reinforcing self-discipline, supporting academic achievement, reducing stress, strengthening peer relationships, improving self-confidence and self-esteem, and teaching goal setting.
Most of us know the story by now. Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was recently caught making inflammatory racial comments that stoked the cinders of hatred, burning through the NBA and creating a firestorm in the media and the nation.
When I heard about this story, I recoiled and surged with anger. And then, as a middle school teacher and administrator, I looked for the lessons. What could we learn from Mr. Sterling? What could we learn from the team? How could this experience inform middle level education as we reach and teach young adolescents who are creating their tomorrows today?
Post written by Howard Adelman, PhD, and Linda Taylor, PhD, codirectors of whole child partner Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA.
The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model provides another opportunity to get back to policy basics.
A fundamental societal need is to end the marginalization (and ongoing fragmentation) of efforts to transform how schools address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage disconnected students. To this end, our work emphasizes embedding all specific initiatives into a broad school improvement framework that can guide development of a unified and comprehensive system of student and learning supports. Such a framework enables using the growing interest in the "whole" as a catalyst to effectively weave together the full range of existing school-home community resources.
Post written by Lora M. Hodges for Northeast Foundation for Children/Responsive Classroom, a whole child partner organization.
Morale can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. When you walk into a school and everything immediately feels calm, safe, respectful, rich with learning, you know you're standing in a school with high morale.
That's exactly how you'd feel if you were to walk in to one of the many schools in the nation using the research-based Responsive Classroom approach. You'd see and hear teachers showing patience, kindness, and respect toward each other and toward students. You'd observe engaging lessons in classrooms. Throughout the school you'd hear adults using positive language and drawing forth positive behaviors from students. You'd get the clear sense the adults like their jobs and the children want to be at school.
This is positive school culture. This is high morale. And this is indispensable to students' school success.
One of the 16 characteristics of an effective school for students ages 10–15 is that teachers, learners, and building leaders should be using multiple assessments to gauge success. Data is collected to gauge learning and instructional success, but there is one other piece of data that also needs to be assessed, analyzed, and acted upon in the middle level: morale. While sometimes elusive, morale is a critical ingredient in the middle school recipe because it affects every instructional dish that is served to our students. But how do we collect, disaggregate, and then act upon morale? How do we pin down such an enigmatic ingredient?
Whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals has joined with other organizations, including the Association for Middle Level Education, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, and the National Association of Elementary Principals, to declare March the official month to celebrate middle level education. This celebration looks to focus attention on students ages 10–15 and the importance of their academic success and well-being during this stage of their lives.
In acknowledgement of this month's designation, we've compiled a list of whole child examples that highlight schools that are positively affecting middle grades students. Each example highlights a program, focus, or achievement and includes links to more information. Take a look and get inspired for this year's Middle Level Education Month.
Relationships have not only proven to be good for our physical health, but our spiritual and emotional health as well. It is through relationships with other human beings that we grow and evolve, as well as deepen and expand our love and meaning in life. As many of you are aware, today is Valentine's Day. Whether or not you like this holiday, it comes each year to provide time for each of us to reflect on and grow our personal and professional relationships.