Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)
The education, public health, and school health sectors have each called for greater alignment that includes, integration and collaboration between education leaders and health sectors to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Public health and education serve the same children, often in the same settings. The Whole School Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model focuses on the child to align the common goals of both sectors to put into action a whole child approach to education.
The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child, or WSCC model, is CDC’s framework for addressing health in schools. The WSCC model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school, the connections between health and academic achievement and the importance of evidence-based school policies and practices. The WSCC model has 10 components:
- Physical education and physical activity.
- Nutrition environment and services.
- Health education.
- Social and emotional climate.
- Physical environment.
- Health services.
- Counseling, psychological and social services.
- Employee wellness.
- Community involvement.
- Family engagement.
Learn more about each of the 10 components.
Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model
The WSCC model meets the need for greater emphasis on both the psychosocial and physical environment as well as the increasing roles that community agencies and families play in improving childhood health behaviors and development. The WSCC model also addresses the need to engage students as active participants in their learning and health. CDC and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (ASCD) developed the WSCC model—in collaboration with key leaders from the fields of health, public health, education, and school health—to strengthen a unified and collaborative approach designed to improve learning and health in our nation’s schools.
Family and community involvement in schools is important to the learning, development and health of students. When schools engage families in meaningful ways to improve student health and learning, families can support and reinforce healthy behaviors in multiple settings—at home, in school, in out-of-school programs, and in the community. With help from school leaders, community agencies and groups can collaborate with schools to provide valuable resources for student health and learning. In turn, schools, students, and their families can contribute to the community through service-learning opportunities and by sharing school facilities with community members (e.g., school-based community health centers and fitness facilities).
Establishing healthy behaviors during childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood. Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Every school has a unique set of needs. To better serve their students, school leaders and staff can incorporate the WSCC model components as they see fit. To see the WSCC model in action, visit our Virtual Healthy School.
- Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Overview [PDF – 2.3 MB]
- Child Trends – Creating Policies to Support Healthy Schools: Policymaker, Educator, and Student Perspectives, 2018
- Journal of School Health–Special Supplement on Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child, November 2015
- National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model: A Guide to Implementation [PDF – 6.5 MB]
- National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) Video Series: How School Districts Are Using the WSCC Model