The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.

Whole Child Policy Study Group

The Whole Child Policy study group deepens state board of education content expertise and public leadership in whole child policymaking in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic has shined an even brighter light on longstanding inequities and presented an opportunity to improve the many systems, policies, and practices contributing to student success. State boards play a vital role in ensuring this education ecosystem is based on sound research, collaborative partnership, and equity so that students of all backgrounds and circumstances are prepared to succeed in school, work, and life. Launching this study group is one of the many actions NASBE is taking to support state boards in this critical work.

The study group is being convened in partnership with the Learning Policy Institute and runs June 2020 through April 2021.


The Whole Child Policy Table is a learning collaborative to support state boards in meeting the needs of the whole child. The goals of the project include…
  • Establish a collaborative forum of state board of education leaders;
  • Develop the capacity of these leaders to leverage a whole child policy audit to spark policy changes and identify research-based strategies to improve state policies that affect student success and wellness; and
  • Equip these state leaders with press and intergovernmental relations resources to be trusted spokespersons on whole child policymaking.



Participation in The Whole Policy Study Group provides members with intense study and tailored technical assistance in the area of whole child policymaking. In addition, members will benefit from…
  • Collaboration with peers from around the country during five virtual study group meetings;
  • Connection to subject matter experts in the areas of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health;
  • Access to a whole child policy audit tailored to state boards of education;
  • Ready-to-use tools to engage with the press and public (e.g., letters to the editor, press releases, social media posts, resolutions); and
  • Ongoing technical assistance through curated biweekly newsletters of resources and model policy, rapid response assistance upon request, and optional individual monthly technical assistance calls to walk through questions, challenges, and ideas.



The application period for this study group is complete. …

NASBE is proud to have a strong, diverse cadre of state board leaders participating in the study group. Members of the study group include the following: Candice Fifer (Delaware), Christine Benson (Illinois), Claire Batt (Kentucky), Darren Fleischer (District of Columbia), Deanna Townsend-Smith (North Carolina), Elaine Bobrove (New Jersey), Erin Benham (Connecticut), J. Wendell Hall (North Carolina), Janice Mak (Arizona), Jeffrey Van Hulten (Utah), Jenna Ahner (Delaware), Jo Allison Slone (Kentucky), Kathy Busch (Kansas), Lisa Fricke (Nebraska), Lu Young (Kentucky), Max Mickelson (Wyoming), Nedd Johnson (New Jersey), Pamela L. Davis-Vaught (Virginia), Patricia Rucker (California), Steve Durham (Colorado), and Carol Lear (Utah)

Study group members will attend five 90-minute virtual meetings in July, September, November, February, and April. Topical prereading and reflection will be distributed to group members at least two weeks prior to each session. Examples of participant leadership in whole child policymaking will be gathered over the course of the project to be highlighted in NASBE publications and national conversations.

Contact Megan Blanco, NASBE’s director of safe and healthy schools, with questions about this project.

Press Release

NASBE Launches Project to Help States Ensure Supportive Learning Environments for Students

The Whole Child Policy Study Group will deepen the content expertise of state board members to lead on whole child policymaking in the wake of COVID-19.

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New Study Group on Whole Child Policy

We invite state board members to participate in a study group uniquely designed to build your content expertise, policy strategies, and public leadership to meet the social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs of students and school personnel in the wake of and recovery from COVID-19.

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Promoting Whole Child Development amid Pandemic Recovery

Hear from three important voices on how education systems can design be designed for now and for the future to address the needs of each and every child.

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Fostering Healthy School Climates for Pandemic Recovery

This webinar discusses school climate in the context of coronavirus recovery.

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Three Strategies to Optimize Students’ Learning and Development in Today's Context

Turnaround for Children's Pamela Cantor, MD, and Nora Gomperts explain how a challenging moment in our history can be an opportunity to embrace an integrated approach to learning and development using whole-child design principles.

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