A recent situation involving a first-grade student in the University City School District prompted teachers and administrators to consider an unconventional approach.
Rather than immediately focus on any instruction or behavior in the classroom, the district sought to provide the student and his family with basic needs – a trip to the doctor, food and toiletry items.
“We have to embrace our families exactly as they are and work collectively to provide the necessary resources,” explained Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, the district’s superintendent.
But toiletry items – things many people take for granted – were simple things the district could provide to help enable a student to learn.
“We really have embraced the concept of students being well emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually and understanding that we can’t effectively educate them if their basic needs are not met,” Hardin-Bartley said.
Efforts underway in University City, St. Louis Public Schools and the Normandy Schools Collaborative seek to address connections between health and education. Part of the effort includes implementing a federal model comprised of 10 components called Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child.
“What we’ve learned from our work with schools is it just can’t be another thing we put on the plate of educators because their plates are already quite full,” said Jason Purnell, an associate professor in the Brown School at Washington University and director of Health Equity Works (formerly For the Sake of All). “This has to be something that’s all hands on deck, the entire community coming together to support children within schools.
“We know that a child who can’t see, can’t hear, can’t breath – has been traumatized and doesn’t know where to sleep doesn’t have the full opportunity to learn,” he said, acknowledging that school districts in the St. Louis region are receptive to recognizing the connections between health and education.
In addition to Purnell and Hardin-Bartley, Monika Kincheloe, senior director of strategic initiatives and partnerships at America’s Promise Alliance, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Wednesday.
“We lead big campaigns to build public will at the national and community levels,” Kincheloe said. “Our Every School Healthy campaign really builds on that track record. Our goal is centered around the idea that what’s happening in U City schools and across the St. Louis region shouldn’t just be happening there, it should really be happening in every school.
“Every young person should come to school feeling safe, supported and empowered.”
The 5 Promises represent conditions children need to achieve adult success. The collective work of the Alliance involves keeping these promises to America’s youth. This article relates to the promises highlighted below:
These six platform areas are based on the collective experience and expertise of individuals at organizations engaged with young people across the country, the experience of young people themselves, and our own research. The platform areas are a statement of best practice – they are what has been demonstrated to work to improve graduation outcomes for young people.:
The following grants and funding opportunities are currently accepting applicants. These grants are not offered through America's Promise Alliance, but they each relate to our Five Promises. If you have questions about these opportunities, please follow the links provided in each item.
In the hot seat today: Tim Finchem, the retired third commissioner of the PGA TOUR, whose contributions to the PGA TOUR, its tournaments and players, and the broader world of golf catalyzed a remarkable commitment to the positive development of children and youth
From 2011 to 2018, something remarkable happened in Chicago: graduation rates skyrocketed from 56.9 percent to 78.2 percent.
This inspiring 21 percentage point increase in young people earning a diploma did not happen in a vacuum.
Are you working to advance young people’s social, emotional, and cognitive development? Are you poised to extend those efforts through intentional crosssector collaboration? Is your organization trusted in the community to represent and honorits young people?