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ASCD Whole Child
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ASCD's Whole Child

ASCD has launched this public engagement and advocacy campaign to encourage schools and communities to work together to ensure that each student has access to a challenging curriculum in a healthy and supportive climate. ASCD partners with the NEA and other leading education, health, arts, and civic organizations to further the Whole Child Initiative.

At a time of rapid change and innovation, our education system is struggling to keep pace with this dynamic, digital world. Too often, young people are asked to learn 21st-century skills with 20th-century tools. Demands for a highly skilled and educated workforce are growing. The global marketplace is a reality. But the alarming fact is that we are still losing too many kids and wasting too much talent.

The Whole Child Initiative  propose a broader definition of achievement and accountability that promotes the development of children who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. The Learning Compact Redefined: A Call to Action, recommends a new compact with our young people. The Compact asks local, state, and national policymakers to ensure conditions that support comprehensive approaches to learning—for engaging the whole child.

The Whole Child Initiative supports a system of academic achievement and accountability that ensures:

  • Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
  • Each student learns in an intellectually challenging environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
  • Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
  • Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
  • Each graduate is challenged by a well-balanced curriculum and is prepared for success in college or further study and for employment in a global environment.

The Whole Child Initiative is grounded in the belief that responsibility for educating and supporting the whole child neither starts nor stops at the schoolhouse door. That means businesses, community agencies, policymakers, and families must align with schools to provide conditions that support learning for each student. In short, educators can't do it alone. ASCD calls on parents, educators, policymakers, and communities to join forces to ensure our children become productive, engaged citizens. Our children deserve an education that emphasizes academic rigor as well as the essential 21st-century skills of critical thinking and creativity.

Visit ASCD's Whole Child website at

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