Ensuring all students receive as much in-person instruction as possible while maintaining health and safety in our schools has been a shared goal across all FWSU schools since we began our planning for this uniquely challenging school year.
Throughout these unprecedented times, FWSU administrators and teachers have continued to prioritize the comprehensive well-being of students and staff. We continue to internalize the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community (WSCC) Framework as a north star for our attention to critical areas of health and wellness.
Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model
The overarching purpose of the WSCC Framework is to establish greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between health and education across all school settings to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.
FWSU schools’ initiatives for maintaining safe and healthy schools and the well-being of students and staff have reflected seven key components of the model.
Here are just a few of the alignment highlights:
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: FWSU schools have worked diligently to move as much learning outdoors as possible. Outdoor learning activities and outdoor classroom spaces have been created at each school. In addition to outdoor physical education, our students are outside, safely learning in a variety of subjects with hands-on approaches designed by their teachers.
NUTRITION SERVICES: Since the initial closure of schools in March 2020, FWSU administrators have worked hand-in-hand with our food service providers, transportation, and families to ensure continuous access to breakfast and lunch.
HEALTH SERVICES: Our school nurses have played both a critical and integral role in ensuring our schools could open safely in September and remain open. We are so grateful for their guidance, professionalism, expertise, and leadership.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL CLIMATE: All of our schools have strengthened their approaches to social-emotional learning. Classrooms prioritize these approaches to ensure a climate that engages all learners and is responsive to students’ varying needs.
SAFE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: Administrators meet weekly together and and with school-based team members, which represent many staff and roles. These team members, including our custodial staff, engage throughout the week to monitor safety. Our schools use all data and guidance from the Vermont Agency of Education to make timely, informed decisions about school safety during the pandemic.
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: Engaging families in their children’s learning must always be a priority, but in our current learning contexts, it is an absolute necessity. Because some learning remains remote on certain days for all learners, K-12, schools have worked to increase and improve their communication with families, who are working so hard to coach and support many aspects of home-learning.
EMPLOYEE WELLNESS: Staffs are stretched and stressed. FWSU administrators and Leadership Teams pay particular attention to capacity issues and ensure that self-care is prioritized to the greatest extent possible. Our schools create space and time to be alert, proactive, and responsive to employee wellness concerns and needs.
If there is anything that has been seriously challenged this year in our work with WSCC, it is our community partnerships. Although our commitment to these partnerships remains strong, many of our partners have been stretched very thin and some have experienced impacts in their capacity to partner. Due to health and safety meeting guidelines, meeting other than virtually is not possible. One of our partners, RiseVT, has continued to maintain their focus on our school and classroom partnerships through their programming and recognition.
Click the photo below for a list of recognitions for our teachers and schools as they continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to the health and well-being of their staffs and their students.
RiseVT is in the process of working with Northwest Access Television to find a fun way to celebrate our teachers and schools virtually.
Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum,
Instruction and Assessment at Franklin West
Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY.