Take A Step Toward Whole-Child Design with A New Reflection Tool from Turnaround
Educators are thinking a lot right now about what they want their school environments to feel like after so much disruption. The way our education system was designed has never met the needs of all students, and the pandemic and its effects have only exacerbated the inequities. Excited as we are to return to school, teachers and school leaders don’t want to just go back to “normal;” they want to build something better.
We know that sparking students’ motivation, wonder, engagement, and passion is the pathway to ignite learning. An important first step is reflecting on the actual structures and practices in place in each school. Turnaround for Children has a new reflection tool, grounded in principles of the science of learning and development, that provides a starting place to do just this.
The Whole-Child Design Inventory: School Version positions educators—including leaders, teachers, student support staff, instructional support staff, and more—to reflect on the existing conditions of a school and determine which systems and practices are strengths and which may be important focus areas for improvement. It provides a complete picture of how adults and students across a school experience its learning conditions and offers an opportunity to drive collaborative action toward change.
The Whole-Child Design Inventory serves as an entry point to discover how a school is currently already aligned with whole-child design and to take action toward implementing new practices that better meet student’s holistic, individualized needs.
How the Whole-Child Design Inventory Works
The Whole-Child Design Inventory offers a complete picture of the essential components of school that are designed to support student learning and thriving, focusing on high-impact structures and practices that can be changed. It provides an opportunity to dive deep into the 13 core practices in our Whole-Child Design Blueprint and picture the elements of whole-child design within each school’s unique context.
The Inventory is not an evaluative observation rubric intended to be used for accountability. Rather, it’s a reflection tool, and it is most useful when teams are open to confronting uncomfortable truths and dismantling structures that are not serving students equitably.
The results can be used to support a long-term, coordinated approach, setting school staff up to intentionally develop and integrate the practices that are necessary to create supportive settings with rich learning experiences and strong relationships. Deep alignment with our Blueprint allows educators to immediately access tools and resources in our Toolbox that offer support in connected areas of need.
For each core practice score received on the accompanying data report, there is a direct link to the corresponding continuum of practice on the Toolbox. The continuums show what that practice looks like, feels like, sounds like, with equity front and center.
Because our current education system was never intentionally built to prioritize whole-child design-aligned practices, it is not unusual for schools to demonstrate a lot of growth areas through application of the Inventory, but don’t be discouraged! Redesigning around a whole-child purpose is about transformation, not about doing the same things better.