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Blog Mar 9, 2021

Launching The Turnaround for Children Toolbox: Our Online Hub for Whole-Child Design

Explore the Toolbox

Today, the well-being, learning, and development of a generation of young people must be our foremost priority. This is especially true as we reckon with the large numbers of young people who have experienced grief and loss, exposure to racialized violence, and disruption of important connections to school, teachers, and in-person instruction.

Educators and families are concerned about recovery, but also see an opportunity to reimagine and build a better and more just education system. To enact a different future, we need to build with a new blueprint—one that is actionable today, grounded in science, and designed to ensure that all students—particularly those who face ongoing racial oppression and a disproportionate share of the hardships associated with COVID-19—have equitable opportunities for learning, growth, and development. 

The Turnaround for Children Toolbox is an online hub for science-grounded ideas and resources that empower educators—including teachers, school and district leaders, student support staff, and many others—to embed an equitable whole-child purpose into our education system. Through this approach, educators can prioritize relationships as the active ingredient in learning; meet students’ needs in authentically-personalized ways; tap into students’ strengths, interests, and talents; and facilitate academic progress.

The resources in the Toolbox are aligned to Turnaround’s Whole-Child Design Blueprint, which synthesizes research across fields including neuroscience, psychology, and developmental science, enabling educators in any school setting and beyond to apply the principles of whole-child design to unleash students’ learning and development. The Whole-Child Design Blueprint is grounded in how young people really develop and learn; it honors that learning isn’t “academic” OR “social and emotional.” Rather, it reflects the scientific fact that students become increasingly capable of complex skills through the integration of their cognitive, social, and emotional development.

The Toolbox was created by educators, for educators. Grounded in the belief that change can happen only when there is shared leadership and ownership and continuous improvement toward a whole-child purpose, it sets the stage for collaboration between educators, students, and the community. Educators can use the Toolbox to create holistic, equitable learning experiences that both address the acute academic recovery needs of today and catalyze the systemic change that will bring about ongoing academic growth and development by:

  • Creating safe, supportive environments that are culturally-sustaining, predictable, and consistent, and that cultivate a sense of belonging. These environments are critical for all students, but especially those who face trauma, adversity, and oppression due to persistent racism and social identity threat.
  • Cultivating developmental relationships among teachers, students, leaders, and families, because these relationships are a prerequisite for managing student stress and igniting learning
  • Building students’ knowledge, skills, and mindsets by creating rich learning experiences that simultaneously develop academic, cognitive, social, and emotional skills and mindsets, including through personalized and integrated supports

The resources you’ll discover in the Toolbox will help answer many of the key questions being asked today, such as: How can I support student well-being? How can I position caring, trustful relationships at the center of learning? How can we ensure that all students have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities that put them on the path to success in school and beyond?

This pandemic has reinforced that learning happens everywhere: Parents, caregivers, and community members will also find learnings in the Toolbox that they can apply in their own settings, from after school, to summer camp, to the kitchen table.

This is just Phase One: This launch is only the first stage of what will become Turnaround’s one-stop hub and online community for insights, tools, and resources that drive toward healthy development, learning, and thriving for each young person.

The science is optimistic: By working together, we can design our schools and learning settings to be places where each and every student can thrive. The Toolbox has research, ideas, and resources to get started—but it is only through partnership and collaboration that we can bring equitable whole-child design to life for young people nationwide.