Ohio's Whole Child Framework

Ohio Supports the Whole Child

Ohio’s strategic plan for education, Each Child, Our Future, puts the whole child at the center, where each component of the plan works harmoniously to support a whole-child approach. Likewise, Ohio’s Whole Child Framework also places the whole child at the center, with district, school, family and community supporting the needs of the whole child using a comprehensive approach. A whole child approach broadens district and school focus beyond academics to include meeting students' social-emotional, physical and safety needs. The Whole Child Framework provides a blueprint to meet these whole child needs, which are foundational to a child’s intellectual and social development and necessary for students to fully engage in learning and school.

Ideas for Innovation to Support Student WellnessThese are the Ideas for Innovation submitted by schools and districts across the state.

How to Get Started

Ohio's Whole Child Framework was adapted from ASCD’s Whole Child Framework and School Improvement Tool

The ASCD website has many resources about the whole child approach. One resource to help schools get started is the Whole Child School Improvement Tool (Needs Assessment Survey). The tool asks a series of questions and then provides results on how the school is doing at integrating whole child tenants and school health components into the school improvement process.

The Department is in the process of developing a Whole Child Toolkit that will be housed on the Whole Child Resources page. Please contact the Department’s Whole Child Team with any questions.

Whole Child Framework Videos




Additional Videos

  • Whole Child Framework Episode 2 - Jan. 28, 2021 - This episode focuses on Supported and Engaged, two of the five tenets found in the Whole Child Framework. Hear interviews with Hilliard City Schools and Gallia Local Schools district initiatives supporting the whole child and see video vignettes of other district's whole child initiatives.
  • Whole Child Framework Episode 1 - Dec. 9, 2020 - This video focuses on the healthy and safe tenants of the Whole Child Framework. Hear interviews with Wickliffe City Schools and Columbus City Schools about their district initiatives supporting the whole child and see video vignettes of other district's whole child initiatives. 
  • Whole Child Framework Webinar - Nov. 17, 2020 - This video guides viewers through an overview of Ohio’s Whole Child Framework, the whole child webpage and words about the importance of supporting the whole child from former State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and the Ohio Governor’s Office of Children’s Initiatives.

The Five Tenets of Ohio’s Whole Child Framework

Whole-Child-Framework-03.png.aspxThe five tenets of Ohio’s Whole Child Framework are five commonly held beliefs reflecting optimally desired student conditions leading to success in life and learning. In the infographic, the tenets are shown in green surrounding the star that represents the whole child. These tenets recognize that students’ basic physiological and psychological needs must be met before they can fully engage in complex learning and social activities. When students are healthy, feel safe, are supported through strong systems and relationships, are challenged and experience success, and are engaged in learning that is relevant and meaningful, they are more likely to enjoy learning, develop positive social skills and achieve greater success. Each tenet is amplified by multiple indicators that define goals and outcomes that can be shared and discussed with staff, parents and community members to create a common understanding and vision for supporting the needs of the whole child.

Systemic Practices for Learning and Health

Whole-Child-Framework-04.png.aspxStudents thrive in schools and districts committed to aligning their work with the needs of the populations they serve through a thoughtful, systemic approach. To best coordinate resources, districts should coordinate policy, processes and practices, practice cultural responsiveness, deliberately focus on equity and dedicate time and resources to structured continuous improvement. These practices are shown in the infographic in a white band. They represent systemic approaches that districts and schools employ to strengthen the tenets and support students and families.

Components of School and Health Support Systems

The components of school and health support systems are clustered into four categories shown as segments in various shades of blue in the infographic.
Healthy Behaviors:
Supporting healthy behaviors give students knowledge and skills to make decisions that positively impact their health and social-emotional well-being. Schools engage students in health education, physical education and social-emotional lessons and activities from prekindergarten through high school.


Services to Students and Families:
Schools provide services to meet students’ nutrition and physical and behavioral health needs. Services are tiered and support the needs of individual students and student body as a whole.


Engaging Others:
Students benefit from knowing they are surrounded by caring adults in school, at home and within the community at large. Schools engage families and communities to best align efforts to support students’ needs. Schools create systematic and multiple ways for families to engage and contribute to their children’s education and school. Schools, students and families benefit when leaders and staff at the district or school solicit and coordinate information, resources and services available from community-based organizations, businesses, cultural and civic organizations, social services agencies, faith-based organizations, health clinics, and colleges and universities.

Safe and Supportive School Environments:
Students learn best and thrive in safe and supportive learning environments. The components of a safe and supportive learning environment include creating a positive school climate and culture, addressing students’ emotional and physical safety and ensuring the school’s physical environment and grounds are safe. Promoting and supporting staff wellness and self-care also is an important component to help ensure students’ academic success and overall well-being.



Family and Community Partnerships

Whole-Child-10.png.aspxChallenging, preparing and empowering students is a communitywide effort. Partners represent the collective action needed to support each child and increase the likelihood of student success. Everyone shares the responsibility of preparing children for a successful future. Addressing the needs of each child starts with parents and caregivers (represented by the maroon circle) and extends to schools and other government and community partners that serve children (represented by the gold band).


Contact a member of the Whole Child Team in the Office of Integrated Student Supports with any questions at wholechild@education.ohio.gov.

Last Modified: 6/27/2022 12:38:59 PM