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News and Opinion May 20, 2021

Turnaround for Children Contributes to Fordham Institute 2021 Wonkathon

Turnaround for Children contributed to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s 2021 Wonkathon with the essay, “Promoting student well-being is an investment in academic growth.

The Fordham Institute’s annual Wonkathon collects essay submissions to generate substantive conversation around key issues in education reform. This year’s prompt was “How can schools best address students’ mental health needs coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic without shortchanging academic instruction?”

Written by Chief Applied Science Officer, Christina Theokas, Ph.D., and Samantha Deliso, the essay explains how students’ mental health and academic needs are intertwined, and how focusing on student well-being will in turn promote academic growth. The authors suggest applying whole-child design to proactively create conditions that promote students’ mental, physical and emotional health, and to pair these conditions with integrated systems of support that remove barriers to learning and development.

From the essay:

We don’t need to choose academics or mental health. We need to design for the way children learn and develop. We need to create the environments, experiences, and relationships that reveal the potential in all children. Investing time and resources in creating the right conditions will not shortchange academic instruction. It will ensure that students’ have the energy, support, and brainpower to engage more thoroughly in academic content and pursue their unique interests, passions, and goals.

Read the full piece here.