Tagged “Policy”

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Whole Child Across the States: How Are We Doing?

Since 2007, ASCD's Whole Child approach to education has advocated for a comprehensive strategy to learning and development that ensures each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. We believe that when entire communities attend to both the in-school factors and out-of-school influences that affect learning, children will flourish. Over the past several years, we've raised awareness about the whole child approach to education; shared resources to help schools, districts, and communities implement this approach; and seen schools and communities experience the benefits of their whole child practices.

But how well are we, as a nation, supporting the whole child? On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we explore ASCD's Whole Child Snapshots and how they can be used to prompt conversations about how well states support the whole child, where they need to improve, and what strategies can help them meet the comprehensive needs of children.

Listen to the episode below or download here.


  • Elizabeth Brito has served as the executive director of Rhode Island ASCD since 2001. Under her leadership, the organization has been the state's leading voice for a whole child approach to education. Prior to retirement from public education in 1998, Brito served as English department chair for the Bristol Warren Regional School District. During her tenure there, she chaired a teacher-led "Thinking/Learning/Study Skills" task force that engaged students and parents in active learning strategies that could be applied across the content areas. This involvement ultimately lead to a Blue Ribbon Award for the school and a Christa McAuliffe Fellowship award for Brito. Follow Rhode Island ASCD on Twitter @riascd.
  • Josh Garcia is deputy superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools in Washington State. He received ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator Award in 2013 and is currently a member of the ASCD Board of Directors. Throughout his career as a high school math teacher, principal, and administrator, Garcia has worked mainly in urban settings, serving the most vulnerable learners. He has developed a preK–12 standards-based instruction, grading, reporting, and assessment system; a sustainable and comprehensive K–12 instructional coaching model; a districtwide differentiated professional development model; and an accountability model that measures how healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged students are in school. Connect with Garcia on Twitter @Garciaj9Josh.
  • David Griffith is the senior director of public policy at ASCD where he leads the association's efforts to influence education decision-making at the local, state, and federal levels and oversees the development and implementation of the association's legislative agenda. Previously, he was the director of governmental and public affairs for the National Association of State Boards of Education. Griffith has also served as an aide to Representatives Joe Kolter and Robert Torricelli. He received his bachelor's degree from Villanova University and his master's degree in education from the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education.
  • Melissa Mellor is ASCD's manager of public policy outreach. In this role she helps to engage ASCD members in education advocacy and promotes education policies that support the whole child. Previously, she worked on high school redesign initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers and researched state education policy issues at Education Week's Editorial Projects in Education. Mellor received her bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University and her master's degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies.

Next Steps for Supporting the Whole Child Approach

The Whole Child Snapshots aim to prompt exploration and action in support of students' learning, development, and well-being. Educators, families, and the public can use the following suggestions to improve their community's approach to whole child education.


  • Discuss the information in the snapshot with your friends, colleagues, community members, and policymakers.


  • Refer to the snapshot's action steps for initial ideas on how communities can work together to support the whole child.
  • Check out ASCD's school-level indicators for details on how schools can help ensure that students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
  • Use ASCD's School Improvement Tool, a free online needs assessment survey, to measure your school's or district's performance on the whole child indicators and components.
  • Access additional resources, including examples of schools that support the whole child and podcasts on whole child topics.
  • Schedule a free consultation with ASCD to see what online, on-site, or blended professional development solutions can help you improve in the areas where you face the most challenges.


  • Read ASCD's legislative agenda, which outlines the association's public policy priorities. ASCD's 2015 Legislative Agenda calls on federal policymakers to establish a broader, more ambitious national goal that moves beyond college, career, and citizenship readiness to the successful development of the whole child at every level of the education system.
  • Learn how some states and districts are developing and using next-generation accountability systems with multiple metrics that complement a whole child approach to education.
  • Get a whole child resolution introduced in your state or district. Access a resolution webinar, sample resolution language, and a resolution checklist.

What does supporting a whole child approach to education look like in your state?


Sean Slade

The Whole Child Is Growing Up


Beginning this week, the Whole Child Blog will appear on the official ASCD blog Inservice, reaching a broader and larger audience of educators. It will be a standard part of Inservice, focusing attention on a core mission of ASCD.

In short, the whole child is growing up.

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Melanie Olmstead

ASCD’s New ED on Ed

Judy Seltz, ASCD's new executive director, outlines her plans for the association and her vision for education in a wide-ranging interview with Education Week blogger Peter Dewitt. In the process, Seltz details some of the association's policy priorities and recent successes. Read on for highlights from the interview.

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Melissa Mellor

Tacoma Public Schools: Measuring the Whole Child

Educators across the nation are working to improve their students' academic achievement, engage families and communities in learning, and maintain safe and healthy learning environments. But in Washington State's Tacoma Public Schools, educators are being held accountable for all of these responsibilities, not just their students' performance on tests. That's because the district is strategically aligning its accountability system with its overall purpose of supporting the whole child.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Take Action: Tell Your Representative to Support the Whole Child!

ASCD Educator AdvocatesU.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) just introduced federal resolution H.Res.658 (PDF), which supports a whole child approach to education. It's a crucial first step in getting federal lawmakers to develop policies and make decisions that more effectively promote students' long-term learning, development, and success. Now, we need your help in letting your lawmaker know about the resolution and why it's important. Please take five minutes to ask your representative to cosponsor the resolution.

The resolution states that the U.S. House of Representatives

  • recognizes the benefit of ensuring students are challenged, supported, healthy, safe, and engaged;
  • encourages parents, educators, and community members to support a whole child approach to education for each student; and
  • encourages the federal government to identify opportunities among federal agencies to coordinate the education, health, and social service sectors serving our nation's youth.

We thank you in advance for asking your lawmaker to cosponsor the resolution. Take Action!

Klea Scharberg

What Questions Do You Have About the Common Core State Standards?

Although most states plan to fully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) during the 2014–15 school year, many questions remain about what the standards are, how they were created, and how they will influence students' and teachers' daily work. The current issue of ASCD Policy Points (PDF) outlines basic facts about the standards that you can use not only for your own background knowledge, but also to inform your discussions with your colleagues, community members (including parents), and local policymakers.

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Learning and Health

School Nutrition Environment and Services

Nutrition is essential for student success. Healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school and are more prepared and motivated to learn. Although the primary responsibility of schools is to foster academic achievement, schools have an exceptional opportunity to guide children toward healthier lifestyles by creating a healthy nutrition environment.

The school environment should encourage all students to make healthy eating choices and be physically active throughout the school day. We know schools cannot be responsible for the health and safety of their students at all times (such as when students area at home or out in the community); however, schools can and should ensure that students learn the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy decisions. School leaders can help encourage this by helping students make healthy choices using policies and practices that create a school environment that supports clear expectations for healthy behavior by faculty and staff, as well as students.

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Whole Child Symposium

Equity: The Driver for School Improvement?

What will drive school improvement in the future? Some believe that it will be choice—ensuring that students have choice in what and how they learn; allowing teachers to have greater autonomy in the classroom; and, possibly, providing families expanded choice of schools.

For others the key driver may be ensuring equity. Proponents argue that the biggest barrier to effective education is equity of resources and opportunities. Pasi Sahlberg, currently a visiting professor at Harvard University and the former director general for the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) in Helsinki, has made the case that Finland's meteoric rise has been as a result of a focus on equity, and that this has been consistent across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) high performers (Korea, Canada, and Japan).

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Whole Child Symposium

Choice Versus Policy?

What are we currently doing in our schools that will affect—negatively or positively—the future?

The ASCD Whole Child Symposium addressed what the "schools of the future" will look like and how the decisions we make today will shape what and how students learn tomorrow. Over the course of three events, we asked thought leaders, authors, practitioners, and students what they think currently works in education, what we need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished.

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Whole Child Symposium

Teachers Are Not a Problem. They Are an Opportunity.

Written by Andy Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. This article originally appeared on Education Week's Finding Common Ground blog.

Woody Allen quipped that when we face a crossroads in life that leads to utter hopelessness or total extinction, we should choose wisely between them. Yogi Berra said that if we come to a fork in the road, we should take it. When Eric Clapton went down to the crossroads, he just fell down on his knees.

In 2014, the future of teaching is at a gigantic global crossroads, but the choices need not be as oddball as the ones that the ABC's of Allen, Berra and Clapton offer us! Last week, the Unite for Quality Education movement, organized by the global teachers' union organization, Education International, met in Montreal to advance its campaign of providing universal and free access to quality teachers to all students. This is a bold goal—not just access to education, good or bad, in huge classes or less, with properly qualified teachers or not; but access to quality education and quality teachers for everyone.

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