Designing Schools to Support the Whole Child

A Story of Partnership

DC Public Schools reopened Van Ness Elementary School in response to community interest. Children, families, and educators knew the community needed a school that would nurture their children—not only academically but also beyond. Since then, Van Ness has worked to become a place of learning that focuses on the well-being of every child.

Van Ness’ Whole Child Model is rooted in the understanding that children’s academic success is inextricably linked to their overall well-being, and in the belief that we can—and must—attend to the development of the whole child while also achieving excellence in academics.

This approach is combined with a rigorous academic model where young students are makers and owners of their own learning.

To design, test, codify, and spread their school model, Van Ness partnered with Transcend. This is a story about their work and transformation.

Transcend is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates nationally.