Texas ASCD Board of Directors and guests at the Texas Capitol were honored by Representative Donna Howard (D-48) last month as she declared April “Texas Whole Child Month” before the 85th Texas Legislature in House Resolution 521.
“The demands of the 21st century require a new approach to education to fully prepare our state’s youth for college, career, and citizenship. A Whole Child approach to education addresses students’ comprehensive needs through the shared responsibility of students, families, schools, and communities,” stated Rep. Howard, as Texas ASCD members listened from the historic gallery seating above the legislators’ chamber.
The Texas Whole Child Initiative was developed for the Texas education community and is based on ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, which states that for a child to be educated successfully, he or she must be challenged, supported, healthy, safe and engaged. After the launch of ASCD’s program in 2007, Texas ASCD board members Glenda Heil and Juneria Berges researched and analyzed ASCD’s data to create a Whole Child approach specific to Texas and the needs of Texas’ students. Howard’s Resolution brought attention to the importance of the Whole Child Initiative, and was a wonderful acknowledgement of Heil and Berges’ outstanding work and advocacy efforts on behalf of the Texas Whole Child Initiative.
While the Whole Child philosophy is based on a broad concept, the Resolution asked that Texas parents, educators and community members support the Whole Child approach and recognize what is truly necessary for a holistic education. “Texas ASCD and its members believe that a whole child approach to teaching and learning is critical. We do not believe that a successful learner is measured solely by academic tests. Instead, we believe successful learners are knowledgeable and skilled; able to apply their knowledge and skills; physically active; emotionally healthy; civically inspired; engaged in the arts; and, prepared for college and /or work and economic self-sufficiency,” said Dr. Yolanda M. Rey, Texas ASCD Executive Director.
Texas ASCD’s Whole Child approach is an effort to move from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement as measured by test scores in core subjects to a broader definition that promotes the long-term development and success of all children. “Our Whole Child work does not diminish the essential focus on academics for Texas schools. It redefines what a successful learner is and how we measure success,” said President-Elect Board Bechtol, who worked with Rep. Howard to bring the Resolution to the House floor. A Whole Child approach addresses students’ comprehensive needs through the shared responsibility of Texas students, families, schools and communities.
The Texas ASCD Legislative Agenda, based on the Texas Whole Child, consists of these 5 policy issues:
- Future-Ready Education for the Whole Child
- Improve Educator Effectiveness
- Assessment and Accountibility
- Adequate and Appropriate Funding
- Local Control
Learn more about the Texas Whole Child at http://www.txascd.org/what-we-do/texas-whole-child.html.
See a copy of H.R. 521 here: http://bit.ly/txascdHR521