ALL4SC leads policy research to develop a system of whole-child education for
South Carolina

An important part of ALLforSC’s work involves researching and developing policies that can fuel the transformation of South Carolina education’s system by focusing on a child’s experience not only at school, but also at home and in the community. 

“In today’s environment, education policies and practices often don’t address the full extent of learning and life challenges students and their families face,” says Barnett Berry, founding director of ALL4SC. “We know research points to out-of-school factors as an indicator of most students’ academic achievement. Across the nation too many of our education policies are not aligned with creating a whole-child and whole-community approach to education, from cradle to career. We aim to change that in South Carolina.”

ALL4SC is working with state and national partners to support this whole-child education approach by leading an in-depth policy analysis to illustrate how current South Carolina education policies support the five research-based elements of whole child education.

These include

  • setting a whole-child vision for teaching and learning;

  • transforming the learning environment;

  • redesigning curriculum and learning and assessment;

  • building adult capacity and expertise; and 

  • aligning resources efficiently and equitably.

ALL4SC, with support from the Learning Policy Institute (see article below), will conduct the analysis, working closely with the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children and exploring partnerships with several other efforts in the state to advance whole child education, including the Tri-County Cradle to Career in the Lowcountry and the Spartanburg Academic Movement along with its national partner, Strive Together. The partners expect the analysis to be completed by June 2021. Additionally, the efforts in South Carolina are expected to inform other states through the Whole Child Policy Table, convened by LPI and the National Association of State Boards of Education.

“ALL4SC is also building off the excellent work the SC Department of Education has already been leading to fuel competency-based policies and practices for the state,” says Berry.

As part of the effort, ALL4SC will engage policy and business leaders plus educators and other allied professionals in social and health-related agencies and non-profits to plot a roadmap for transforming education in South Carolina.

National Partner Spotlight:
Learning Policy Institute

ALL4SC’s work depends on partnerships at the local, state and national levels to bring a rich diversity of ideas, opinions and best practices to the process of building a new plan for education transformation in South Carolina. 

One of these national partners is the Learning Policy Institute. With offices in California and Washington, D.C., LPI works with policymakers, researchers, educators, community organizations and others to advance evidence-based policies that support the whole-child approach to education. 

LPI’s work is centered around developing a transformed public education system that prepares children with the necessary skills  - beyond skills taught in the classroom - needed to problem-solve and adapt to the ever changing world.

In South Carolina, LPI is working with ALL4SC and other partners, including the UofSC Center for Child and Family Studies, to develop a policy analysis that assess where the state stands in support of the five elements of whole child education. Read more about whole-child education in the article above.

ALL4SC’s Work Featured in National Education Journal

ALL4SC team members Barnett Berry, Matthew Irvin and Jon Pederson recently contributed an article to the journal published by Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, a national leader in university-assisted, community-based schooling. 

Written for a national audience of education leaders and researchers, the article (on page 82) lays out ALL4SC’s goals to encourage school-university-community collaboration . 

“We are so pleased to see South Carolina featured among national colleagues to share the innovative work ALL4SC is doing in South Carolina to transform how we approach education in our state,” says Berry. “ALL4SC is working to put into practice the idea that we need to focus on educating the whole child - at school, at home and in the community.”

In the article, Berry, Pederson and Irvin outline ALL4SC’s research work, specifically in Fairfield County, to identify that school district’s specific needs according to research and conversations with education leaders, classroom teachers, parents and community members. 

ALL4SC’s approach is based on identifying school districts’ individual needs. Then, the ALL4SC team works with school leaders and community members to identify strengths and assets in the community, investigate and employ evidence-based practices, develop common metrics for success, engage in data-based cycles of improvement, learn from each other, and inform how others can reinvent education in their own local context. 

The research found Fairfield County’s most pressing needs to be 

• Health disparities and a whole child and whole community approach to schooling; 

• Limited career options for young people and comprehensive mentoring for them; and 

• Traditional teaching and learning and spurring innovations in STEM for the future of work.

Berry, Pederson and Irvin conclude the article saying “Our plan for the University of South Carolina, as an anchor institution, is to …  build and sustain a more coherent system of teaching, learning, and caring. Evidence-based practices exist from a wide variety of school-community-university partnerships. We expect to learn from them all and work with our partners in South Carolina to prototype, study and refine models that work best for the local context.”

To read the full issue and ALL4SC’s journal entry on page 82, click here.

Mentor Moment

Payton Ramsey, a senior biological sciences major, commits her time as a mentor in President Bob Caslen’s Mentorship Initiative by giving back to the university that has given so much to her. The Mentorship Initiative is integrated into ALL4SC to support the state’s highest need school communities by encouraging more young people to attend college by connecting them to people and experiences.

Ramsey’s experience as a mentor began as an academic mentor to junior high school algebra students when she was in high school at St. Scholastica Academy in Louisiana. This experience created a foundation for mentorship which has carried over to her experience at UofSC. On campus, she has been a leadership and ethics mentor at W.G. Sanders Middle School in Columbia, past and current mentor for incoming freshman in the UofSC Student Government and an academic mentor in her sorority.

Plus, Ramsey is using her mentor skills as part of the President’s Mentorship Initiative that has a goal of getting more high school students to attend college. Ramsey believes that providing a positive open space for her mentees during her time with them will cultivate an environment conducive to personal growth and ability to live up to their fullest potentials in their futures.

She hopes to make a positive impact in the mentee’s day, by eliciting a smile through mutual connection and experience.

In the News


ALL4SC congratulates Dr. J.R. Green, superintendent of Fairfield County School District, on his distinction as the 2020 University of South Carolina Outstanding Black Alumnus Award recipient. Dr. Green has been a leader in integrating ALL4SC’s work into the Fairfield County School District.

The Outstanding Black Alumnus Award is presented to a graduate who is uniquely distinguished in their professional career, has shown remarkable leadership capabilities and positively impacted their community.

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