Supporting the Whole Child at LA Unified
Success in education today requires understanding and supporting the whole child through a variety of instructional techniques inside and outside of the classroom. Whole child theories and methodologies are well documented, but the data to support them is often unavailable. At LA Unified, we aim to support the whole child by providing teachers, out-of-classroom support staff, and principals with the data they need to support each student, using existing educational theories such as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's (ASCD) Whole Child Approach. For the first time ever, using data from various sources across the District combined with existing instructional methodologies, LA Unified can ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged (ASCD's Whole Child Tenets).
The traditional education system in the U.S. is a one-size-fits-all approach in which all students receive the same lessons in the same manner. A growing number of U.S. schools are now experimenting with the implementation of personalized learning, an instructional approach in which teachers and students co-create a learning environment with students’ interests and needs at the center. In personalized learning, the educator tailors instruction and support for each student by actively integrating the students’ needs, strengths and interests into their learning.
Mobilize Systems of Support.
Whole Child Integrated Data enables the District to leverage the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Framework by ensuring educators have a set of data-based tools needed to support the problem solving and decision making that takes place inside the classroom every day. MTSS is defined as "the practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals, and applying child response data to important educational decisions." Based on a problem-solving model, the MTSS approach considers environmental factors as they might apply to an individual student's difficulty and provides services/intervention as soon as the student demonstrates a need.
Whole Child Integrated Data supports continuous improvement by providing data to assess needs and monitor work at the student, class, and school levels. LA Unified currently implements various continuous improvement processes, such as the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle followed by the Communities of Practice. By following a formal continuous improvement cycle, educators are able to ensure that they use evidence-based techniques and strategies to achieve student success. The Whole Child Integrated Data platform supports the identification of areas of improvement and monitoring student growth and progress over time.