Tagged “Child Development”

Family Atmosphere Fosters Sense of Belonging

Imagine Schools South Lake, Clermont, Fla.

Despite being one of the largest of the more than 70 Imagine Schools campuses, Imagine South Lake feels like a "family" school. Each day, students are greeted by the principal (who knows everyone by name), other administrators, teachers, parents, and student safety patrols. Teacher turnover is minimal, and the re-enrollment rate is above 95 percent. When speaking of her schoolmates and teachers, fourth grader India says, "They are my family." Named a 2011 National School of Character by whole child partner the Character Education Partnership, Imagine South Lake's staff students, and parents live the core values. Staff members incorporate character within the classroom in ways that best meet the needs of their students and reflect the school's mission statement. Middle school language-arts teacher Joyce Crawford notes that "being here at Imagine means you have a voice;" all classrooms have meetings where students' "voice and choice" is heard and appreciated. Teachers care about the students academically, socially, and emotionally. Fourth grader Eliya states that the teachers "don’t want us to fail. They teach us how to learn from our mistakes."

Focusing on the Moral and Social Development of Students

Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, Washington, D.C.

Beauvoir is located on the grounds of the National Cathedral located in Washington, D.C. Head of School Paula Carreiro came to Beauvoir 19 years ago and began exploring school culture based on shared core values and individual character. A focus on the whole child and each child's moral and social development now pervades the Beauvoir program. Named a 2011 National School of Character by whole child partner the Character Education Partnership, the school invests time and resources into both social and academic curricula. Beauvoir also emphasizes responsiveness to the needs and concerns of students, parents, and staff. The school's associate teacher program provides two teachers in every classroom. Since about 85 percent of Beauvoir students are from dual-working-parent families, parent schedules are accommodated in many ways, particularly at drop-off time, in school communications, and for volunteer opportunities. Parents attest that Beauvoir's approach lets them "push back" many of today's negative influences.

Middle School Looks to Social Curriculum for Success

Jefferson Middle School, Champaign, Ill.

A first–time recipient of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform 2011 Schools to Watch® Award, Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, Ill., prides itself on continually enhancing its positive school climate through a social curriculum.

The curriculum, based on a combination of Positive Behavior Intervention Support, Positive Behavior Facilitation, and Howard Glasser's "Nurtured Heart Approach," has helped the school see a remarkable decrease in discipline referrals (down 54.7 percent) and suspensions (down 63.6 percent). Heavily committed to closing the achievement gap, Jefferson Middle School also focuses on asking the best questions about how it can improve each student's individual school experience rather than immediately addressing best practices.

Jefferson Middle School is also a National AVID Demonstration School and a SMART Showcase School.

Believing Leads to Achieving

Hotchkiss K–8 School, Hotchkiss, Colo.

A recipient of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform's 2011 Schools to Watch® Award, Hotchkiss K–8 School in Colorado is set on maintaining a positive school culture through focusing on their "Famous 3": passion, purpose, and plan.

Dedicated to providing middle-level students with the utmost ability to achieve success, programs like Child Advocacy Program (CAP) and Help, Understanding, Guidance & Support (HUGS) have been used to instill a sense of responsibility among students, promote proactive engagement, and develop a relationship between the staff and students that encourages high performance across both an academic and nonacademic spectrum.

Hotchkiss K–8 continues to flourish as an exemplary school, and we agree wholeheartedly with their motto: "If you believe, you can achieve."

School Serves as Community Hub

Roy Clark Elementary School, Tulsa, Okla.

Known as the hub of the community, Roy Clark Elementary School, in Tulsa, Okla., is the epitome of a community school that focuses not simply on the academic performance of their students, but also on individual lifestyles.

Examples of its commitment to student overall well-being are evident: Roy Clark Elementary School showed an incredible jump from 68 to 100 percent participation in parent-teacher conferences and an astounding increase—from 25 to 100 percent—in the number of students eating breakfast.

As a recipient of the 2011 National Community Schools Award for Excellence from whole child partner the Coalition for Community Schools, Roy Clark Elementary is using its community resources from more than 30 partners to create a truly outstanding environment that positively affects students.

Community School Provides Easy Access to Host of Services

Ethel M. Taylor Academy, Cincinnati, Ohio

A recipient of the 2011 National Community Schools Award for Excellence from whole child partner the Coalition for Community Schools, Ethel M. Taylor Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the true spotlight of its community.

Focused on strengthening the seamless integration of academic and nonacademic partnerships, the school provides easy access to a host of services through its Community Learning Center, where partners and community and family members are able to play a vital role in students' success. Forty-two percent more of students are scoring proficient or higher on the Ohio Achievement Assessment, and community volunteers have increased by over 100 percent—a true testament to the excellence in academics and infectious dedication Ethel M. Taylor Academy inspires.

Diversity and Mobility Set the Stage for Youth Involvement

Lakewood, Wash.

As a four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, Lakewood, Wash., has been a driving force in serving its youth population.

Diversity and mobility have set the stage for the city's ability to provide a multitude of youth-related services that range from mobile food programs, which ensure provisions to youth without transportation, to the Pierce County Bookmobiles that provide educational resources to youth who come from low-income or isolated areas. With more than 200 members of the Lakewood Community Collaboration continuing to address the needs of youth and the wealth of youth involvement in their community, Lakewood is a symbol for positive change.

Midwestern Culture Cultivates Rich Opportunities for Youth

Omaha, Neb.

Incorporating student voice, engagement, and overall well-being into the community are top priorities in Omaha, Neb. Nestled in an environment with strong Midwestern values, the city has a deep understanding and focus on creating a collaborative pathway to achievement so that its youth can succeed.

Interactive leadership programs, like Youth Leadership Omaha and the City of Omaha's Mayor's Youth Commission, have allowed students to examine their community in full and participate in addressing community needs to promote long-term wellness. A dedication to the growth of youth is also evident in volunteering, receiving mentoring services, and gaining preparation for post-secondary education that are easily accessible through local nonprofit organizations, like Building Bright Futures and the Midlands Mentoring Partnership.

Omaha, Neb., is a first-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

Family-Oriented Community Excels in Helping Youth Learn, Serve, and Grow

Butler County, Mo.

Family-oriented Butler County, Mo., has been putting forth an inspiring amount of effort into providing a multitude of opportunities for youth. "Learning, serving, and growing" characterizes the focus of this two-time winner of the whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

Between community theater productions, spelling bees, and civic athletics, youth are involved in educational opportunities across a spectrum of subjects. A driving force in Butler County is the Community Resource Council, where more than 300 individuals and 100 local agencies participate in community action committees that promote healthy children and families.

Youth are even involved in developing local policies—almost every youth-serving program asks for youth participants to assess the community's role in meeting their needs and the programmatic effects through an annual survey.

Well-Rounded Community Has Multitude of Resources for Youth

Irvine, Calif.

Focused on maintaining a well-rounded community that flourishes with academic and service resources for youth, it's no wonder that Irvine, Calif., is a three-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

Irvine truly exemplifies the importance in building a community that values child development, and their community programs include the community-developed Strategic Plan for Children, Youth and Families that addresses emotional, physical, academic, and social needs of youth; the Irvine Child Care Committee that works with School Readiness Programs to ensure that all of Irvine's youth have access to quality educational programs; and the Irvine Children's Health Program that reaches out to families in need of affordable health care for their children.

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June 3, 2014

The Dilemma of Choice

Empowering students in their choices—encouraged by teachers and in turn supported by policy and practice—would change how many schools operate and function. How do we achieve this?

The Examples Map

Use our interactive map tool to find examples of schools and communities worldwide that are implementing a whole child approach to education.

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