Educating the Whole CHILD

Whole child

A team of district leaders, under the leadership of Dr. Robin Gillespie, Director of Federal Programs and Grants, has developed a Rapid City Areas Schools initiative to educate the Whole CHILD. This initiative includes supports to meet the social, emotional, and cultural needs of our students.


Our Whole CHILD Approach means seeking to understand our students’ and families’ unique culture, history, and needs to create safe learning environments where students grow and connect to others. Our schools and district can be a place of safety and healing where our educators and staff are committed to equity and inclusion.


The RCAS Whole CHILD Approach centers on four domains:


  • Trauma Informed Practices

Utilizing strategies to help all students feel safe, welcomed, and supported and to address the impact of trauma on learning on a school-wide basis.


  • Cultural Responsiveness

Recognizing the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning, enriching classroom experiences, and keeping students engaged.


  • Suicide Prevention & Awareness

Implementing comprehensive awareness strategies to assist staff in identifying students at-risk for suicide and empowering students to seek help for themselves and others.


  • Restorative Justice

Diligently looking for methods to hold a student accountable for making reparations and to restore him or her to a beneficial educational setting.


All four domains are connected by the themes of Communities, Healing, Inclusion, Learning, and Diversity. The RCAS Whole CHILD steering committee is currently working to determine effective and timely implementation strategies for all four domains. Stay tuned!