Tagged “School Improvement”

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

School Improvement Success: School Leaders Discuss the ASCD Whole Child Approach

ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. At the heart of our work is our commitment to the whole child.

The ASCD Whole Child approach is a pathway to sustainable school improvement—that is, by creating a culture and climate where students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, schools will increase student engagement, increase attendance, reduce disciplinary referrals, increase academic credits earned, and increase graduation rates. The approach pulls together current school initiatives for greater support and strengthens school and classroom strategies to meet the needs of each student.

In 2012, ASCD selected 10 schools from a nationwide pool of 142 applicants to participate in the Whole Child Network, a three-year research effort to evaluate implementation of ASCD's Whole Child approach. The Whole Child Network provided organization and support for member schools implementing ASCD's Whole Child practices with their students, staff, and communities.

On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, host Donna Snyder, ASCD's manager of Whole Child Implementation, and guests explore the approach's process, implementation, and outcomes.

Listen to the episode below or download here.

Panelists

  • Jeremy Nichols, former principal, Odyssey Community School, San Martin, Calif. (current principal, Hilmar High School, Hilmar, Calif.)
  • John Wesolowski, former assistant principal, Finegayan Elementary School, Dededo, Guam (current assistant principal, Capt. H.B. Price Elementary School, Agana, Guam)
  • Pamela Delly, principal, Urban Community School, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Sandra D'Avilar, principal, Teunis G. Bergen School, P.S. 9, New York, N.Y.

"The many accomplishments that our school community has gained from being a part of the Whole Child Network of schools was truly a testament of how focused and determined our entire school has been. The fabric of collaboration and commitment has been laid and we are ready to sustain the great work we've started." —Sandra D'Avilar

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Teaching Students, Not Subjects

Magnolia Elementary serves 497 students from grades preK–five in suburban Baltimore, Md. The school is classified as Title I and 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. A staff of three administrators, three school counselors, 44 teachers, and 10 support personnel ensure a well-rounded learning environment is established for each child.

The school is committed to improving the physical and social-emotional health of each student. Since many of the students' home neighborhoods are not considered safe for outside play, the school has reworked its master schedule to allow for increased physical education periods and additional free play time connected to lunch periods. Magnolia Elementary also conducts movement sessions via its after-school intervention program.

The school has a mental health cohort that meets six times per year to evaluate the support the school is providing to teachers, staff, and students. As a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (or PBIS, as it's often known) school, Magnolia Elementary believes in emphasizing positive behaviors and teaching character. To build a greater sense of school community, the school has created five "houses" on campus, and each house aligns with a specific character trait: responsibility, respect, cooperation, encouragement, and perseverance.

For this tremendous dedication and its many accomplishments, Magnolia Elementary is the 2015 winner of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, you’ll hear from Principal Patricia Mason, Assistant Principal Stacey McCord, Title 1 Teacher Specialist Tara Sample, and teachers Kimberly Wheeler and Lauren Donnelly.

Listen to the episode below or download here.

How are you creating a culture and climate of support and success in your school? How do you know that you're succeeding?

Magnolia Elementary School is the sixth recipient of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Listen to previous award-winning schools as they share their stories and explain how they ensure that each child in their community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged:

 

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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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Glowing, Growing, and Getting Back to the Real Basics

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Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child AwardIn this era of school reform, turn around, and educational change, it is easy to overlook the basics of why we educate and what we want for our children. These aren't the typical basics—reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. Rather, these are the "real basics" of learning: developing a sense of belonging, instilling a sense of purpose, and expanding each child's potential for what the future may hold.

How do we get back to the "real basics" of education? What are the fundamental elements and habits that bring us together and set the stage for lasting, comprehensive—sustainable—school improvement? How do we assess where we have been, where we are now, where we want to go, and what strategies are necessary to get us there?

The Whole Child Podcast is one of the many ways we share stories, insights, and discussions about what works in today's schools to achieve these goals and ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. And this episode, taped in front of a live audience at the 2014 ASCD Annual Conference in Los Angeles, features very special guests from Washington Montessori School, the 2014 winner of our Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. You'll hear from

  • Shanta Buchanan, literacy impact facilitator and dedicated educator who values the process of learning. She has been an advocate for children with hearing loss and early intervention since the birth of her daughter Brooke who was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss.
  • Erin Deal, a teacher who has enjoyed working with a variety of grade levels during her 10 years in the classroom, including five years in a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade Montessori combination class. She values the Montessori methodology of teaching and embraces the inquiry-based learning techniques.
  • Gillian Hill, a veteran educator with more than 20 years of classroom experience as an elementary teacher and curriculum facilitator. She has supported the school and community and assisted in facilitating in the transition from the traditional style of teaching to the Montessori philosophy.
  • Sharon Jacobs, a public school educator with more than 20 years of experience and the founding principal of Washington Montessori School. She is passionate about the learning process and committed to service, change, social development, and above all, children.
  • Paulita Musgrave, K–5 math impact facilitator who provides support and guidance to the staff, students, and parent community. A talented community activist, she is the founder of The Legacy House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap, where she directed a federal program that had a 93 percent achievement rate.
  • Eileen Martin, a veteran educator of more than 20 years in various capacities; from bus driver where she earned Bus Driver of the Year, cafeteria cashier, teacher assistant, to now one of the most energetic classroom teachers you will find. She coined the frequently shared statement about Washington Montessori School's care of students, "You can't get this everywhere, you can only get this Right Here!"

What are the "real basics" of education?

Washington Montessori School is the fifth recipient of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Listen to previous award-winning schools as they share their stories and how they ensure that each child in their community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged:

 

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Leveling and Raising the Playing Field

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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.

Milwaukie High School, part of North Clackamas Schools in Milwaukie, Oregon, and winner of the 2013 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award, is an outstanding school where each student is engaged in literacy, inspired by their cultural diversity, and ready for active citizenship. Milwaukie's staff works tirelessly to improve their students' academic, social, and emotional growth; to expand their educational practices; and sharpen the administration's focus on staff professional development, all to meet the needs of the whole child.

In this episode, hosts Sean Slade and Donna Snyder and our guests discuss how to meet students' and staff's needs, taking challenges and turning them into opportunities for all. You'll hear from

  • Mark Pinder, principal;
  • Michael Ralls, assistant principal for curriculum;
  • Tim Taylor, assistant principal for student management;
  • Donnie Siel, dean of students; and
  • David Adams, teacher leader (English and language arts).

How has your school or community taken a challenge and turned it into a win?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Fair and Effective Teacher Evaluation

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Teacher quality is the most important in-school factor that influences student learning and achievement. Research shows that students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers and each student deserves access to highly effective teachers in every subject. In turn, all teachers deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their skills, how they perform in the classroom, and how they can improve. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on accurate and fair evaluations based on multiple measures, including—but not solely based around—their students' performance in the subjects they teach.

Teachers should be evaluated based on their performance in their own subject area using a range of criteria, including observations, peer reviews, parental or student input, and analysis of agreed-on student learning evidence. In this episode, we discuss effective teacher evaluation that produces results that truly benefit students, schools, and educators. You'll hear from

If the ultimate goal of teacher evaluation is to improve student performance, what should evaluators look for?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Respecting and Reflecting School Culture

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A positive school culture is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement. School culture encompasses the schoolwide ethos and the culture of individual classrooms, high expectations for learning and achievement, a safe and caring environment, shared values and relational trust, a powerful pedagogy and curriculum, high student motivation and engagement, a professional faculty culture, and partnerships with families and the community. It is constantly being shaped through our interactions, individual identities, beliefs, traditions, experiences, and community diversity. Research shows that successful schools with positive, effective school cultures are places that foster teacher learning and motivate students to learn.

Many schools may be in the process of implementing a program or process to support a whole child approach to education. Other schools may be looking at how to sustain what has already been achieved or developed. Fully embedding a whole child approach into the culture so that it becomes an integral part of what we do and who we are as schools and communities is key to ensuring that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for their future college, career, and civic lives.

As Harvard educator Roland Barth once observed, "A school's culture has far more influence on life and learning in the schoolhouse than the state department of education, the superintendent, the school board, or even the principal can ever have."

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, Klea Scharberg, project manager for whole child programs at ASCD, talked with members of the Special Olympics National Youth Activation CommitteeSpecial Olympics Project UNIFY is a whole child partner—about what a safe and positive school culture means to them, student voice and leadership, and why they are committed to being agents of change for their communities and young people across the United States. You'll hear from

  • Daniel Fink, originally from Alaska and currently attending Washington State University;
  • Kelsey Foster, from South Carolina;
  • Heather Glaser, from Wyoming; and
  • Bernice Higa-French, from Hawaii.

How does the culture of your school and community affect the success of your students?

"It's not necessarily that something is different about the school. They don't have different curriculum that they teach—no, it's just that it's more integrated and inclusive. You can walk down the hallway and you're not afraid of talking to anyone because of their race or their background, or anything like that. ... You walk in and there's just a smile on your face—and you don't necessarily know why—and you want to know more about why [the school culture] is that way."

—Daniel Fink

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