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Four Lessons From the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative

Published on June 12, 2018

Education process
Image Credit: Public Domain: Flickr: Elaine Smith

Five years ago, Tacoma launched the Whole Child Initiative, with the goal of supporting the comprehensive development and success of each student. We have seen firsthand that supporting the whole child comes with a new set of challenges. But, with the right partners and a focused plan, this approach can make all the difference for students and teachers.

All adults who interact with our 30,000 students in preschool through grade 12 must buy into our premise that a student’s race, ethnicity, or economic status are not that student’s destiny. It’s more important that we as educators, mentors, support staff, and adults find out what makes each student tick. What they like to do. What they want to do with their lives.

This relentless focus is helping us make progress in many areas, including creating a culture of graduation: Our graduation rate has increased from 55 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2016. But graduation is not only about passing a proficiency test. It is about developing a sense of worth, resilience, and a vision for the future. Kids go home saying, “I’m going to college.” Parents tell us every day that they may not have set that goal themselves, but are glad their children have.

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Originally posted on Education Week by Learning is Social and Personal
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