The Weekly Connect 3/6/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

Educators are figuring out how to protect undocumented students.

Kindergartens are stating school with more academic skills then their peers have had in the past.

One study finds a link between after-school programs and improved knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Transgender and gender fluid teens are struggling to find safe harbors.

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy

How Much Can Schools Protect Undocumented Students?
Education Week: K-12 leaders have pledged to protect the rights and privacy of students who don’t have legal immigration status. Some vow schools are “sanctuaries” where educators won’t cooperate with authorities to identify or take action against undocumented students and families. The fast-moving, politically charged situation has created confusion for educators about what they can and can’t do. 

Measure to Overturn ESSA Accountability Rules Introduced in Senate
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: A measure to block the Obama administration’s regulations governing accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act was introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee. Senate Joint Resolution 25, if it’s approved, would mean the end of regulations finalized late last year that govern state plans and issues ranging from testing opt-outs to school turnarounds.

Betsy DeVos: ‘Education Establishment’ Has Blocked Efforts to Fix Schools
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urged conservative activists to help her fight against the “education establishment,” which she said has blocked students from getting access to school choice and quality schools.

Research

Study: Kindergartners Start School with More Academic Skills Than in Past
Ed Week Early Years Blog: Kindergarten students in 2010 started school with noticeably stronger literacy, math, and behavior skills across the board compared to their peers that started school just 12 years earlier, says a study published in the journal Educational Researcher.

Schools Often Fail to Educate, Support English-Language Learners
Ed Week Learning the Language Blog: Schools across the United States often provide substandard instruction and social-emotional support to the nation’s English-language learners—and fail to properly train the educators who teach them, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds. 

Improving Parent-Teacher Relationships Can Help Students Succeed, Study Finds
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: A new study by researchers at the University of Missouri shows that professional development programs for teachers can improve how parents and teachers communicate. What’s more, having teachers rate parents’ involvement in the early stages of students’ schooling can be an accurate indicator of their future success. 

It’s Time to Rethink School Schedules, Report Says
Ed Week Teacher Beat Blog: Much of a teacher’s day is devoted to instruction, with precious little time set aside for collaborating with colleagues, planning lessons or reflecting on practice, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. The report highlights five schedules that aim to revamp how teachers spend a typical school day.

Study Links After-School Programs to Improved STEM Knowledge
Ed Week Time and Learning Blog: Researchers with The PEAR Institute at Harvard University and McLean Hospital and the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis & Policy at Texas Tech University found that after-school programs with a STEM focus change the way the majority of students see the STEM field: 80% said their STEM career knowledge increased, 78% reported a more positive attitude about STEM, and 72% said their perseverance and critical thinking skills increased.

Income Disparities Seen in Extracurricular Activity Rates for Girls
Ed Week Time and Learning Blog: A report from the Girl Scout Research Institute finds that girls with lower socioeconomic status participate in extracurricular activities less often than their more affluent peers. The report by the research arm of the Girl Scouts of the USA entitled “The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends,” uses data from national and government sources to take a look at girls’ well-being in the United States.

Around the Nation

The Nonwhite Student Behind the White Picket Fence
The Atlantic: Suburban districts nationally are struggling to adjust to the new realities in schools. A recent report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education concludes that large numbers of English-language learners, student refugees, and students whose families struggle with poverty require suburban school districts to adapt and shift resources.

English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing
NPR Ed: About 1 out of every 10 public school students in the United States right now is learning to speak English. There are nearly 5 million of them, and educating them — in English and all the other subjects and skills they’ll need — is one of the biggest challenges in U.S. public education today. As part of our reporting project, 5 Million Voices, we set out to gather up all the data and information we could find about who these students are and how they’re being taught. Here’s our snapshot. 

Meet NYC’s First-Ever Gender Equity Coordinator for Public Schools
DNA Info: Kimberly Shannon, the Department of Education’s recently hired, first-ever gender equity coordinator, has a long list of issues she plans to tackle, from gender-based violence and pregnant or parenting students to boosting representation in career technical programs or STEM classes. Shannon is also charged with figuring out ways to better support and empower girls, transgender students and gender non-conforming students — particularly students of color, students with disabilities and students in temporary housing — in the city’s 1,800 schools.

Emotional Agility as a Tool to Help Teens Manage Their Feelings
Mind/Shift: Navigating the ups and downs of the teenage years has never been easy, as young adults manage a lot of changes that are hormonal, physical, social and emotional. Teens could use help during this period; according to a recent study, the prevalence of depression in adolescents has increased in the last decade. One way teens can manage these experiences, according to psychologist Susan David, is by equipping teens with the emotional skills to “help them develop the flexibility and resilience they need to flourish, even during hard times.”

Transgender and gender-fluid teens left with few safe harbors
Science News: Transgender and gender-fluid teens, particularly those born male, face up to three times more mental and physical abuse at school and at home than their gender-conforming peers, according to a new study published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.

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