The Washington, D.C. event, “Putting the Whole Child at the Center of Education,” featured a panel discussion based on the book “Wildflowers: A School Superintendent's Challenge to America” by Jonathan Raymond.
“Wildflowers” is Raymond’s first-hand account of leading and transforming a large urban school district in Sacramento. Despite budget cuts and neglect, as superintendent, Raymond spearheaded innovative changes and solutions that raised test scores and graduation rates in his district. The book details the challenges and lessons learned leading a district with a “whole child” approach to learning.
The panel featured a diverse group who shared their experiences witnessing the whole child approach to learning in action and explored the benefits of the approach through student, teacher, partnership, system and research perspectives.
Lupi Quinteros-Grady, President and CEO of the Latin American Youth Center spoke about how innovation in education requires committed partnerships, leveraged fundraising opportunities and youth support.
“Partnerships are key,” she said. “You have to bring nonprofits together to bring access and opportunities to all students.”
Tony Garcia, a recent graduate of Bladensburg High School in Prince George's County, Maryland, shared his experience with the whole child approach as a student and spoke to the benefits of learning academies that prepared him for college, work and life.
“We need to design learning around children at the center,” said Raymond, “we can never give up on a single child.”
Following the panel, participants engaged in discussions on amplifying the whole child approach in schools, organizations and communities through partnerships and networks. We invite you to continue the conversation with this guide to amplifying the discussion on taking a whole child approach.