Skip to main content
May 22, 2019

How Federal Policy Can Empower States and Communities to Provide Whole Child Education For All Students

Hosted by the Learning Policy Institute, Alliance for Excellent Education, American Institutes for Research, America’s Promise Alliance, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, Committee for Children, EducationCounsel, National Association of State Boards of Education, Opportunity Institute, Partnership for the Future of Learning, and Turnaround for Children in cooperation with U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro

Educating the Whole Child: Improving School Climate to Support Student Success

Decades of research show that whole child approaches to learning, which emphasize a positive school climate, an integrated approach to social, emotional, and academic learning, and wraparound services are essential to students' academic and life success and can reduce the negative effects of poverty on achievement. Federal funds (which make up approximately 9% of states’ education spending) along with state and local efforts to support the whole child, can play an important role in supporting the implementation of research-based whole child approaches that foster 21st century skills. 

Speakers at this briefing examined federal policy levers—such as funding through the Higher Education Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and other programs—that state and local policymakers can use to invest in research-based whole child approaches to learning, including integrated student supports, community schools, and other approaches that foster academic enrichment.

Panelists discussed the research, key lessons, and recommendations for developing whole child environments, including:  

  • How schools need to be structured to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of the whole child.
  • How states, districts, and schools can provide a multi-tiered system of student support through community schools.  
  • How states and districts can provide high-quality teacher and leader preparation and professional development for creating child-centered environments that foster students’ well-being and encourage creativity, including through opportunities in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
  • How communities can develop and implement metrics, indicators, and evidence of equity and quality.


  • Jessica Cardichon, Director of Federal Policy, Director, DC Office, Learning Policy Institute
  • Deborah Delisle, President and CEO, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Abbe Futterman, Principal, The Earth School
  • Charles Kamasaki, Senior Cabinet Advisor, UnidosUS
  • Monika Kincheloe, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, America’s Promise Alliance
  • Philip Tizzani, Professional Staff Member for the House Appropriations Committee

Remarks by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Related Resources