ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, announced today the new Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model that is recommended as a strategy for improving students’ health and learning in our schools. Developed by ASCD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with key leaders from education, public health, and school health fields, the new model combines and builds on elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach and the whole child framework to strengthen a unified and collaborative approach to learning and health.
A whole child approach, which ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success. The new WSCC model responds to the call for greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between education and health to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.
The model incorporates the components of an effective school health program and the tenets of the whole child approach to education to address the symbiotic relationship between learning and health. In doing so, the model continues the focus of the traditional coordinated school health approach but aligns it with the structure, framework, and objectives of education. This is showcased by the expanded components focusing additional attention on the social and emotional climate of the school and classroom environments and the pivotal role that community involvement plays in the growth and development of our youth.
The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model focuses its attention on the child, emphasizing a schoolwide approach and acknowledging learning, health, and the school as being a part and reflection of the local community. Because they have contact with 95 percent of U.S. children ages 5–17, schools are the primary institution responsible for childhood development, after the family. It is essential that schools have an effective and comprehensive school health model in place during these critical years of social, psychological, physical, and intellectual development.
Whereas the traditional coordinated school health model contained eight components, the WSCC contains 10, expanding Health and Safe School Environment and Family/Community Involvement into four distinct components:
- Social and Emotional Climate
- Physical Environment
- Family Engagement
- Community Involvement
This change marks the need for greater emphasis on both the psychosocial and physical environment as well as the ever-increasing roles that community agencies and families must play. Finally, this new model also addresses the need to engage students as active participants in their learning and health.
CDC will be integrating this new model into its school health initiatives, placing ASCD’s whole child framework at the center of health and education alignment in school settings. For more information about CDC’s school health initiatives, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth.
For more information about ASCD's Whole Child Initiative, visit www.ascd.org/wholechild. To find out about ASCD’s focus on integrating learning and health visit www.ascd.org/learningandhealth. You can also find out more about ASCD's other programs, products, services and memberships at www.ascd.org.