Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kate Stringer reports that the Education Redesign Lab at Harvard recommends individual success plans to support the whole child throughout their education.
• How can funders help to make this recommendation a reality?
• Learn more about educating the whole child.
When children visit the doctor, they receive different treatment plans or medicines, all of which goes into a medical record tracking their health. Should the same practice be adopted in education?
The Education Redesign Lab at Harvard thinks so, and in a report it recommends that this kind of individualized assistance be available for all children, starting at birth. It calls this a success plan, a personalized, holistic model that utilizes the support of multiple community service agencies, from schools to mental health clinics to nutrition centers. It upends what the report calls the “factory model” in education — of providing students with a very similar educational experience.
“We have far too many children whose needs are not being attended to,” said Paul Reville, founding director of the lab. “What we’re proposing here is a system that identifies those needs and then implies an obligation on the adults in the community to do something about it.”
The report, written by education policy consultant Saeyun D. Lee, points to evidence that this is already happening in small ways around the country. Four cities in particular stand out — Denver; Arlington, Virginia; Boston; and Oakland, California. What might be surprising is that these efforts do not all start with a school district, often originating outside the classroom, in partnerships between community organizations.
This report envisions a system where every child soon after birth is provided with a plan for success. It’s similar to an individualized education program for students in special education, but also broader. One student might require speech therapy or access to meal services in the summer, while another might require math tutoring and medical treatment for asthma. The students and families help drive this plan, focused on short- and long-term goals.
Read the full article about individual success plans by Kate Stringer at The 74.
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