High School


The Whole Child Initiative currently focuses on pre-K and elementary levels. However, for those who are interested, we have provided some links to public schools and initiatives that illustrate how the whole child approach has been successfully applied at the secondary level. In most cases these examples have names other than “whole child education,” but they exemplify holistic best practices nevertheless.

City High School in Tucson, AZ, is a small, urban high school built on the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. Its excellent outcomes result from innovative programs and group work plus a strong emphasis on the individual student.

Common Ground High School, Urban Farm and Environmental Education Center in New Haven, CT, takes kids from a high-risk community and successfully prepares them for college in an unconventional charter school not run by a corporation.

Federal Hocking Secondary School in Stewart, OH, is the award-winning school lead by George Wood (see “Triple Crown” article below).

Monadnock Community Connections School near Keene, New Hampshire, is a small choice high school with an exuberant approach to individualized and creative learning. Sam Chaltain describes it in American Schools: the Art of Creating a Democratic Learning Community, pp. 131-145.

“The Triple Crown,” by George Wood—a real-world emphasis for the senior year, including a graduation portfolio presentation and project showcase.

Writegirl in LA is a program pairing teens with professional women writers. Workshops and mentoring sessions explore poetry, fiction, songwriting, journalism, screenwriting, journaling, editing and more.

WISE Individualized Senior Experience is assisting over 60 schools in offering student-designed, interest-driven projects that allow students of all skill levels to bridge from school to real-world work and experience.

Community Works Institute calls itself “a network of engaged teachers” with “place as the context, service-learning as the strategy, and sustainable communities as the goal.” They offer publications, trainings, and summer institutes in LA and Vermont.




With thanks for support and encouragement from The Myrin Institute and Orion magazine.