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Supporting the whole child

2 min read


There’s a growing amount of discussion today about developing the whole child. These programs, which focus on students’ physical, academic and emotional needs, aim to prepare them for college, career and life. We asked SmartBrief on EdTech readers for feedback on their schools and districts’ efforts with implementing this model.

The majority of readers stated their schools are doing a good job at fostering the whole child. When asked how well their school or district address the needs of the whole child, 21% said “well” and 44% said “somewhat well.”

Yet, academics continues to be the primary focus for most schools. Seventy percent of respondents reported that while developing the whole child is important, academic needs take precedence at their school or district. Less than a third of readers — 30% — report that their districts give equal weight to academic and non-academic programs.

Technology has been a big help for these programs. Schools are using tech tools that support differentiated instruction and teach students about personal safety and physical and emotional health. Nearly half of respondents (46%) report that they use a combination of these tools with their students.

Take a look at the findings:

How important is it to your school or district to have programs that address your students’ academic and non-academic needs?

  • It’s important but academic needs take precedence. 70%
  • It’s important and we emphasize both, equally. 30%

How well does your school or district address the needs of the whole child (academic and non-academic)?

  • Very well 21%
  • Somewhat well 44%
  • Not very well 34%
  • Not at all 1%

Is your school or district using tech tools to address students’ academic and non-academic needs (physical and emotional)?

  • Differentiated instruction 25%
  • Physical health and development (nutrition and fitness) 4%
  • Personal safety and emotional well-being 2%
  • All of the above 23%
  • One or two the above 46%

How closely do these data reflect your school or district’s practices? Let us know or leave a comment in the space below.