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Blog Apr 16, 2021

Announcing the Essential Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole-Child Design

“Today, we have a tremendous opportunity to reimagine our education system, to stop doing the things that have harmed many students, especially Black and Brown students, and to use what we know from the science of learning and development. Joining scientific research to the deep experiences of practitioners can bring far better experiences and opportunity to many more students—experiences that are transformative, empowering, personalized and culturally-affirming.”

Turnaround for Children is thrilled to share a blog announcing the upcoming launch of the Essential Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole-Child Design, a collaborative project led by Pamela Cantor, M.D., Linda Darling-Hammond, Merita Irby, and Karen Pittman, that will help us transform our education and learning systems towards the goal of robust equity.

In collaboration with 100+ leaders, including practitioners, scientists, community stakeholders, and parents, Pam, Linda, Merita, and Karen have articulated clear guiding principles for whole-child design and created two playbooks (one for K-12 and one for community-based settings) that provide detailed descriptions of and implementation support for the structures and practices that characterize whole-child design, including case studies and videos.

This project has tremendous power and potential because it represents a collective commitment to equitable outcomes for every child and a collective understanding of how to create the conditions that enable those outcomes. It is a collaborative and unifying bridge between science and practice, in service of equity—a realization of the values and goals that have driven Turnaround’s work since our founding.

In fact, we are already seeing its impact: Learning 2025: A National Commission on Student-Centered Equity-Focused Education, an initiative of AASA (The School Superintendents Association), just released a new report recommending a whole-child approach to education. The report, An American Imperative: A New Vision of Public Schools, which Turnaround’s Founder and Senior Science Advisor, Pamela Cantor, M.D., helped shape through her role as a Commissioner, draws heavily from the Essential Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole-Child Design.

We hope that you will read the blog and will stay tuned for the official launch of the project later this spring. If you want a jumpstart, explore Turnaround’s recently released Toolbox, which provides an actionable framework and set of tools to operationalize the Essential Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole-Child Design in schools.