Learning and Health

A New Framework for Health and Education

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child ModelThis is not a launch that calls for health for education's sake. Nor is it education for health's sake. Rather, it is a call for health and education for each child's sake.

In 2013, ASCD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened leaders from the fields of health, public health, education, and school health to develop the next evolution of school health to ensure that the health of the student, the teacher, and the school are taken seriously by educators and, in particular, by those involved in the school improvement process. The result is the 2014 launch of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

"The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model developed by ASCD and the CDC takes the call for greater collaboration over the years and puts it firmly in place. For too long, entities have talked about collaboration without taking the necessary steps. This model puts the process into action."

—Dr. Gene R. Carter, ASCD CEO and Executive Director

The WSCC model combines and builds on elements of both the original coordinated school health model and the whole child framework. It aims to strengthen a unified and collaborative approach to learning and health and calls for a greater collaboration across the community, across the school, and across sectors to meet the needs and reach the potential of each child.

The Need for a New Model

The traditional coordinated school health model has been a mainstay of school health in the United States since 1987. Promulgated by the CDC, the coordinated school health model has provided a succinct and distinct framework for organizing a comprehensive approach to school health. In addition to the CDC, many national health and education organizations have supported the this approach. However, many educators viewed it as primarily a health initiative focused only on health outcomes and it has consequently gained limited traction across the education sector at the school level. Health and well-being have, for too long, been put in a silo that is both logistically and philosophically apart from education and learning.

Health and education are two key elements that affect individuals, society, and the economy; it is crucial that these elements work together whenever possible. Schools are one of the most efficient systems for reaching children and youth to provide health services and programs, where approximately 95 percent of all U.S. children and youth attend school. At the same time, more deeply integrating health services and programs into the day-to-day life of schools and students represents an untapped tool for raising academic achievement.

"It is time to truly align the sectors and place the child at the center. Both public health and education serve the same students, often in the same settings. We must do more to work together and collaborate."

—Wayne H. Giles, Director, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC

Join ASCD and the CDC as we launch this new model and collaborative for the sake of each child in each school in each community. Learn more at www.ascd.org/learningandhealth.

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