COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — Researchers with the University of South Carolina’s College of Education have unveiled a new report that details what the state can do to accomplish a “whole child” approach to education.
Research professor, Dr. Barnett Berry, the senior director for policy and innovation and founder and senior advisor of ALL4SC, said the report outlines a road map for South Carolina.
The whole child education connects and supports a young person’s academic learning by also attending to their social, emotional, cognitive, physical and mental health development and needs, Berry said. It anchors schools as hubs of their communities while also relying on cross-sector partnerships.
The report said there are many out-of-school factors that impact academics.
Berry said the approach is a more effective and cost-efficient system of schooling that could help students reach their full potential and have the knowledge and skills to succeed.
“South Carolina has many of the pieces of the puzzle in place,” he said.
States likes Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio have embraced some of these policies.
The report said there are things the state can build upon, like the Department of Education’s Profile of the SC Graduate, which was put in place in 2015 and helps begin personalizing learning for every student to transcend the “one-size-fits-all” approach to education.
“There are a wide array of policies that actually undermine our efforts to support the whole child,” Berry said.
The report found different agencies have their own visions, leading to fragmentation, division and a lack of coordination and collaboration.
Researchers suggest finding ways to implement policies from community schools in South Carolina public schools. Berry said.
“Evidence shows that when you have schools working with their communities and bringing the support of the whole child into the academic work of the school — kids actually do better,” he said. “They attend school more. They are more engaged in school.”