Report Looks at Progress in Supporting the Whole Child

ASCD has released the Whole Child Snapshots for 2015, which look at data on how the nation and individual states are helping children against five tenets of the whole child: healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. According to the latest snapshot, there is positive movement in terms of graduation rates, but the number of children living in poverty presents a persistent challenge.

“The Whole Child Snapshots are intended to highlight how well children are faring, both in and out of school, in each state,” said David Griffith, ASCD director of public policy, in a press release. “The nation has mixed results, with some encouraging signs of progress alongside some persistent challenges. We want to work with educators and the public to put in place the strategies to best meet the comprehensive needs of children.”


  • The nation’s 81 percent high school graduation rate is the highest it’s ever been.
  • 40 percent of the nation’s children have a parent or caregiver with at least two years of college education—a 2 percentage point increase compared to the previous year.
  • 22 percent of the nation’s children live in poverty, which is defined as an annual income below $23,624 for a family of four.
  • 30 percent of high school students are overweight or obese.
  • The national student-to-counselor ratio increased from 471 to 1 in 2010–11 to 482 to 1 in 2012–13. Only three states meet or surpass the recommended ratio of 250 to 1.

Recommendations include:

  • Connecting  free and low-cost physical and mental health services with the students and families who need them
  • Supporting social-emotional learning and character development
  • Providing students with academic credit for experiential learning, such as internships, service learning, and apprenticeships with local businesses
  • Supporting parent education and family literacy programs in addition to individualized, ongoing, and job-embedded professional development for educators
  • Providing  relevant and challenging coursework through multiple pathways (e.g., advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, dual-enrollment programs) to all interested students. 

Read the national and state-by-state Whole Child Snapshots on the ASCD website.

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