The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model

Every child in every school deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. That is the focus of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. CDC and ASCD developed this model in collaboration with key leaders from the fields of health, public health, education, and school health. The WSCC model strengthens a unified and collaborative approach designed to improve learning and health in our nation’s schools. You can see how the model informs HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention by viewing an animated video.

Getting Started with the WSCC Model

ASCD offers a web page with information on how to start implementing the WSCC modelexternal icon and a 15-minute School Improvement Tool needs assessment surveyexternal icon to help guide your activities.

Definition of Model
Five Youth Tenets

Youth are at the center of the WSCC model. This ensures that the model’s focus is on keeping youth healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged—outcomes that schools, teachers, health professionals, families, and communities value.

Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.


Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.


Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.


Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.


Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment.


Coordination Ring

Surrounding the child is a ring that stresses the need for coordination of school policies, processes, and practices. The coordination ring depicts the critical role of day-to-day practices and processes as well as the essential role of policy in sustaining a school environment supportive of both health and learning.


School Components

When provided by qualified, trained teachers, health education helps students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need for making healthy decisions.

Physical education helps students develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors.


School nutrition services provide students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating.

School health services provide first aid, emergency care, and assessment of and planning for chronic conditions. In addition, services provide wellness promotion, referral to prevention services (such as HIV testing), and student and parent education. The services also ensure access or referrals to outside health care providers.
These prevention and intervention services support the mental, behavioral, social, and emotional health of students. Services include a broad range of assessments, counseling and consultation, and referrals to school and community support services.
A positive social and emotional school climate is conducive to effective teaching and learning. The school climate can affect student engagement in school activities; relationships with other students, staff, family, and community; health and growth; and academic performance.

A healthy and safe physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the health and safety of students and staff.


Fostering the physical and mental health of school employees protects school staff and, by doing so, helps to support students’ health and academic success. Healthy school employees are more productive and less likely to be absent.

Families and school staff work together to support and improve students’ learning, development, and health.
Community groups and local businesses can create partnerships with schools, share resources, and volunteer to support student learning and health-related activities. Schools, students, and their families can contribute to the community through student learning and by sharing school facilities with community members.


Although the school may be a hub, it remains a reflection of its community and requires community input, resources, and collaboration to support its students. The WSCC model reflects greater alignment and integration between health and education. Partnerships and collaboration with community agencies are essential to helping schools secure the resources and support necessary to implement the model.
  1. Hunt, H. (ed.). The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model. [Special issue]. J Sch Health. 2015 Nov;85(11):729–823.
  2. Council of Chief State School Officers. Policy Statement on School Health. 2004.
  3. National School Boards Association. Beliefs and Policies of the National School Boards Association. 2017 [cited 2018 Feb 20]. pdf iconexternal icon
  4. American Association of School Administrators. AASA position statements. Position statement 3: Getting children ready for success in school, July 2006; Position statement 18: Providing safe and nurturing environment for children. July 2007 [2018 Feb 20]. pdf iconexternal icon
  5. ASCD. Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child. 2012 [2018 Feb 20]. pdf iconexternal icon
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide. Middle School/High School. 2017 [2018 Feb 20]. icon [PDF – 1.9MB]
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide. Elementary School. 2017 [2018 Feb 20]. icon [PDF – 2.7MB]