Le Sueur High selected for national network

/ 24 July 2012 / eunice

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, July 24, 2012 – LE SUEUR — Le Sueur-Henderson High School is taking a new approach to teaching, focusing on each student’s needs and less on test scores, said Principal Kevin Enerson.

The high school has been selected to participate in the prestigious National Network of Schools Educating the Whole Child, an initiative of ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).

The school is one of 10 from the U.S. and Guam chosen to participate in the initiative, which aims to change the focus of education from only academic achievement to child development, health, safety and engagement.

“So much of the value of schools has been placed upon test scores,” Enerson said. “We want each child to feel supported and valued and engaged in their school experience.”

ASCD, an international education leadership association, selected Le Sueur out of about 400 applications, Enerson said. Enerson said a school guidance counselor wrote the grant in March, stating that the school already employed the core tenets of the Whole Child model and therefore would make a good fit for the network.

“I think that we already try to have a Whole Child focus in our education,” Enerson said. “Being a part of this will take us to a more formalized approach.”

Le Sueur-Henderson has committed to a three-year comprehensive school improvement process. The school also will receive a $10,000 grant for the 2012-13 school year.

Through its participation in the network, the school will receive customized support in implementing a whole child approach to education, an ASCD Institutional membership, and a trip for up to five team members to ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Chicago.

What exactly the model will look like inside the classroom isn’t firm yet, Enerson said. In a nutshell, the teaching process will be more individualized to each student’s needs, he said.

Le Sueur-Henderson High administrators and teachers attended the three-day Whole Child Network Summer Institute at ASCD’s Alexandria, Va., headquarters July 15-17. The group met with teams from other participating schools to formulate strategies and learn tactics for implementing the Whole Child approach to education in their schools.

Elements include assessment measurements; customized face-to-face training; and the deployment of tools, products and services that address various needs.

Enerson said at Le Sueur-Henderson there are about 25 students per classroom, and that will not change under the new model, nor will staffing.

As a public school, Enerson said Le Sueur-Henderson still will be required to have students take standardized tests. He said the initiative doesn’t change the information taught to students, but rather the means of teaching it.

An additional one-day on-site professional development training also will take place at the school, facilitated in partnership with ASCD’s Whole Child Programs staff.

ASCD staff will work in close consultation with school officials throughout their participation in the network to support the implementation of their school improvement plans.

For more information about ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, visit www.ascd.org/wholechild.