Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wanny's Words - Developing the Whole Child

By Wanny Hersey
Superintendent/Principal at Bullis Charter School

As many of you know, one of my favorite writers on child development is Madeline Levine, Ph. D. Dr. Levine is a child psychologist and co-founder of Challenge Success, a project of the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Her recent blog post “Six Things That Matter More Than Perfect Grades” (posted 9/3/13) succinctly captures the reasons why education should be about so much more than grades.

Since the inception of our charter school, we have emphasized and woven into our curriculum all six components that Dr. Levine includes in her list of things “that matter if we want our kids to have meaningful, productive, and moral lives:”
  • Having Friends
  • Character
  • Resilience
  • Interests/Passions
  • Collaboration
  • Self-Reflection
So many things our teachers do - from regularly reflecting with students on Focused Learning Goals to sharing their passions with students through co and extra-curricular classes - are designed to develop the whole child, or as Dr. Levine writes “a good person with a sense of purpose and meaning in the world.”

Focused Learning Goals (FLGs) are developed annually to identify specific outcomes in the academic, social/emotional, and passion for every student throughout his/her educational career at BCS. By implementing FLGs for all students, no matter what the grade or learning need, we are delivering on the mission for our school that is grounded in research and best practices.

The FLG process is unique to BCS, and is designed to do exactly what Dr. Levine believes to be important in a child’s development - provide opportunities to build resilience, develop specific interests and passions, and practice self-reflection. 

Teachers and students work together to develop the whole child at BCS