Additional Considerations

The Whole Child Framework Start-up Guide for School Leaders is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every school has unique populations, local context and existing programming to consider. ESSA emphasizes educational stability for vulnerable youth. By requiring states to report data on students with disabilities, English learners, homeless students, students with parents in the military and students in foster care, ESSA acknowledges the unique circumstances of vulnerable youth. These additional considerations will support implementation in unique circumstances.

For more in-depth considerations for engaging diverse stakeholders and community partners, review the Ohio Department of Education’s Ohio Local Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit.


Rural and Appalachian Communities

  • Rural and Appalachian communities often are rich in history and pride for their local schools. At the same time, rural and Appalachian schools are often isolated geographically and may have fewer resources than other schools. Many times, families in rural areas do not earn as much income as their urban counterparts, may have lower education levels and experience poverty and high mobility.
  • Rural and Appalachian schools often face unique challenges for getting families more involved. On the other hand, these schools have other factors that work in their favor. Schools in rural and Appalachian areas often serve as community centers where people gather for sporting events, celebrations or special programs. Teachers and administrators in small schools also may be able to give more personal attention to their students. For these reasons, rural and Appalachian schools need unique strategies to build effective partnerships with families and communities.
  • The U.S. Department of Education Rural Education Resource Center provides news, programs and grant resources for schools.

Students with Disabilities

  • When creating an individualized education program (IEP), consider how the student will be healthy, safe, supported, challenged and engaged.
    • The IEP consists of individualized annual goals that align with each student's areas of need and strengths and provides direction for appropriate specially designed instruction that directly relates to those goals.
    • Create measurable annual IEP goals that align to state standards.
  • Ensure there is collaboration between general education and special education to guide instruction and oversee delivery of services in all settings.
  • All staff members should understand what Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) means and how to provide it.
  • Understand that some students might not need IEPs.

Vulnerable Populations

Children and youth who experience more frequent changes in educational programming and stability are particularly vulnerable. These vulnerable populations include students involved in the court system, experiencing homelessness, in foster care, English learners and in military families. Vulnerable student populations benefit from whole child supports that are responsive to their particular circumstances. ESSA puts protections in place to preserve educational stability for these populations, but the education community can and should do more for these students. To effectively serve vulnerable student populations using a whole child approach, districts and schools can provide the following:
  • An established system to regularly identify vulnerable students;
  • Ongoing professional development for school personnel about meeting the unique needs and circumstances of each population;
  • Established partnerships with community-based organizations and local service providers to provide wraparound supports;
  • Opportunities for two-way communication between the school and vulnerable students and families.
Schools and districts take a whole child approach when they create systems and networks of support for vulnerable populations that ensure integration in the school community and access to individualized, whole child supports. Schools and districts should include vulnerable populations in the continuous improvement process by looking at data specific to identified students, reviewing for representation on school-based teams and assessing and strengthening partnerships with agencies serving these populations.

Last Modified: 7/1/2022 3:28:35 PM