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Welcome to Maryland ASCD – 2018 – 2019!

It is hard to believe that September is over and the 2018-2019 school year is in process! I say that every year. However, I always remember the words of one of my best education friends, “Aren’t we lucky to be able to begin over every year with a new start and positive goals? “ That is exactly how I feel about Maryland ASCD this year. The Board Members are looking forward to a very productive year. This time in our country requires focused attention on the future of education and a Whole Child approach.

I was very sad recently after talking to 3 high school graduates. Each of these graduates was headed for excellent colleges and had outstanding grades. They had attended one of the best high schools in Maryland. When I asked them how they liked high school, each one of them said they hated it. I was so taken aback. When I asked why, they responded that it was all about testing. If you are like me, you are distressed to hear this. Where is the development of the love of learning? Where is the interest in projects and the fun of discovering? Is this what we are talking about when we want a Whole Child Education?

The Board of Maryland ASCD is committed to promoting a Whole Child approach in Maryland by supporting ASCD’s Whole Child approach.

ASCD’s Whole Child approach is an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children. We help educators, families, community members, and policymakers move from a vision about educating the whole child to sustainable, collaborative action.

I hope that you will join us as a professional who cares about the education of the students. The board is focused on action. We all went into education because we believed in our students and felt we could make a positive difference. Yes, Maryland ASCD has a lot to offer to you and will continue to seek ways to support all of the members and others with professional opportunities. These opportunities will be designed to help professionals grow in understanding and helping to ensure a Whole Child approach in Maryland. But, I am asking that you help with this very important focus – The Whole Child – by supporting Maryland ASCD in any way that makes sense in your current life situation.

What are some of the ideas for Maryland ASCD for this year?

  • A Whole Child Super Saturday or Wine/Cheese event in late February or early March will reflect the 5 tenets with specific ways to look at individual schools and classrooms to ensure the best approach for the students.
  • Connect information with Face book and Twitter.
  • Improve the Maryland ASCD website to be a source for understanding and implementation of the Whole Child approach. This will mean links to information and webinars to support all of the 5 tenets.
  • Twitter nights – Identifying one night a month to twitter about the 5 tenets. Preliminary plans right now are to have 1 tenet each month as the topic leading up to the our late February /March event.
  • Begin planning o become a Whole Child State. Other states have done this and the Board is looking to connect with ASCD and a specific state to get started here in Maryland.
  • Support Common Ground! Yes, this is a main focus for Maryland ASCD. Create a strand reflecting The Whole Child. The Common Ground Conference has continued to grow and has become an excellent conference. Changes are coming, however. So stand by for all of the information.
  • Enhance communication through our website and technology to allow the members to join us for our meetings even if they cannot come to the location.
  • Connect with current and former ASCD emerging leaders. They bring a new perspective and talent!
  • Locate and engage college chapters.

What can you do right now?

  • Please keep your membership and/or join. Start to go to the website frequently. You will soon see what a valuable asset this will be. Hopefully, you will help us keep it a great resource for educators.
  • Consider being a part of the board as a committee member or chair (See the descriptions of the committees on this website)

Support the 5 tenets every day.


  • Monitor and speak up for the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model ( ) as a framework for improving students’ learning and health.
  • Connect free and low-cost physical and mental health services with the students and families who need them.


  • Regularly assess and report on school climate—including staff, family, and student perceptions—and use the data to establish positive learning environments.
  • Support social-emotional learning and character development.


  • Offer students an array of extracurricular activities and extended-day learning opportunities, and provide students with academic credit for experiential learning, such as internships, service-learning, and apprenticeships with local businesses.
  • Measure and report student and family engagement activities and outcomes (e.g., volunteer rates, community-based learning participation, and parent involvement data).


  • Support parent education and family literacy programs in addition to individualized, ongoing, and job-embedded professional development for educators.
  • Develop individualized learning plans for all students that connect to their academic and career goals and interests


  • Provide relevant and challenging coursework through multiple pathways.
  • Use accountability systems with multiple metrics that take into account student performance and growth across all core academic subjects, efforts to increase student engagement and build their socialand emotional skills and access to varied learning opportunities.

I and the Maryland ASCD Board can’t wait to hear from you and join us in 2018-2019 for a challenging and inspiring year around The Whole Child! I would also love to talk to any of you by phone or communicate through e-mail. I am especially available 3:30 pm on and on weekends.

Chris Sparr