Klea Scharberg

Whole Child Snapshots Provide State and National Pictures of Child Well-Being

ASCD Whole Child SnapshotsTo thrive in today's global society, children need personalized support, safe environments, good health, and challenging learning opportunities. Adequately preparing students for their future requires a more comprehensive approach to education that recognizes the crucial in-school factors and out-of-school influences that affect teaching and learning. Such an approach requires the collaboration and shared responsibility of families, schools, communities, and policymakers.

To support conversation, collaboration, and change, ASCD has released Whole Child Snapshots highlighting how well each U.S. state—and the nation—is meeting the comprehensive needs of its children. The snapshots feature data aligned with the five tenets of ASCD's Whole Child Initiative—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Together, the data provide a fuller picture of child well-being that extends beyond standardized test scores. The snapshots also suggest initial ideas for how communities can make targeted and innovative improvements to support the whole child and help their students become college, career, and citizenship ready. To see each indicator and the full Whole Child Snapshot for each state, visit www.ascd.org/wholechildsnapshots.

In addition to individualized state data, the ASCD Whole Child Snapshots also provide notable national data highlights:

  • 68 percent of U.S. children had both medical and dental preventive care visits in the past year.
  • 20 percent of high school students were bullied in the past year and 16 percent were victims of cyberbullying. Girls were cyberbullied at twice the rate of boys.
  • 41 percent of 18- to 24-year-old citizens voted in the November 2012 elections, compared to 62 percent of all voting-age citizens.
  • The national student-to-counselor ratio is 471 to 1, with only three states doing better than the recommended ratio of 250 to 1.
  • The nation’s high school graduation rate is the highest since the 1970s.

The snapshots promote a broader perspective of education reform that prepares students for lifelong learning, career success, and active citizenship. The data give a sense of the nation's progress in supporting the full potential of its students and should spur collaboration and coordination beyond school doors.

What You Can Do to Support the Whole Child


  • Establish school health advisory councils with students, family, community, and business members.
  • Connect free and low-cost physical and mental health services with the students and families who need them.


  • Regularly assess and report on school climate—including staff, family, and student perceptions—and use the data to establish positive learning environments.
  • Support social-emotional learning and character development.


  • Offer students an array of extracurricular activities and extended-day learning opportunities, and provide students with academic credit for experiential learning, such as internships, service learning, and apprenticeships with local businessmen.
  • Measure and report student and family engagement activities and outcomes (e.g., volunteer rates, community-based learning participation, and parent involvement data).


  • Support parent education and family literacy programs in addition to individualized, ongoing, and job-embedded professional development for educators.
  • Develop individualized learning plans for all students that connect to their academic and career goals and interests.


  • Provide relevant and challenging coursework through multiple pathways (e.g., Advanced Placement, International/Baccalaureate, dual-enrollment programs) to all interested students.
  • Use accountability systems with multiple metrics that take into account student performance and growth across all core academic subjects, efforts to increase student engagement, and access to varied learning opportunities; publicly report this information.

What are the most and least surprising findings? Which indicators do you think most need to be improved? Are the state results consistent with conditions in your local area?

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