The Weekly Connect 5/1/17

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:

The Springfield Public School system – a City Connects district – has seen substantial drops in the number of suspensions and school-based student arrests.

President Trump has ordered a study to determine whether the federal government has overstepped its legal authority in K-12 schools.

Performance in preschool math is a predictor of success in K-12 academic achievement.

More national medical associations are endorsing later school-start times for teenagers.

To read more, click on the following links.

City Connects

Proactive practices in Springfield schools yield dramatic drop in student arrests, suspensions
MassLive: Over the last five years, the Springfield Public Schools have tackled the so-called school-to-prison pipeline head on, implementing practices to keep students in school and out of the criminal justice system. School-based student arrests in Springfield have declined since 2011, dropping from 301 to 80 last school year, a change of 70%. Suspensions have decreased, dropping from 11,049 to 6,143 in the same time frame. As a way to support students who face varying challenges and social barriers that extend beyond school walls, the school district incorporated Wraparound Services as part of the City Connects model. The program allows for the schools to address outside factors that could hinder a child’s performance in the classroom and among their peers.


Trump orders study of federal role in education
The Washington Post: President Trump signed an executive order that requires Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study whether and how the federal government has overstepped its legal authority in K-12 schools, a move he framed as part of a broader effort to shift power from Washington to states and local communities.

Dems to GAO: Inspect School Tax Credit Voucher Programs
U.S. News & World Report: A group of Senate Democrats is asking the Government Accountability Office – the nonpartisan congressional watchdog – to assess whether state tax credit voucher programs used to help pay tuition at private schools result in a mismanagement of public funds.

Despite Missed Revenue Projections, State K-12 Spending Remains Priority
Ed Week State EdWatch Blog: Last fiscal year, more than half of the states overestimated how much tax revenue they’d pull in, resulting in midyear K-12 cuts in some states and forcing some to reexamine their education spending, according to an analysis by the National Association of State Budget Officers. Despite that fact, said John Hicks, the executive director of NASBO, education spending in most states remained flat, with the vast majority of states contributing toward their K-12 budgets at least the minimum amount required by their state law.


Research: preschool math performance predicts future K12 academic achievement
District Administration: Preschool math performance predicts future academic achievement more consistently than reading or attention skills, according to new research from New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

How Does Race Affect a Student’s Math Education?
The Atlantic: Lately, much of the discussion of race in math education has centered on the persistent underperformance of certain student groups, particularly black, Latino, and indigenous youth, and their disparate access to honors, gifted, and advanced mathematics courses. Yet a new paper published in the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education disrupts those narratives by examining an unaddressed element of the equation—namely, the ways in which “whiteness” in math education reproduces racial advantages for white students and disadvantages historically marginalized students of color.

How Parents Widen—or Shrink—Academic Gaps
Education Week: Analyses by the Education Week Research Center and others show that middle-class parents often engage in more social involvement at school—participating in school committees, parent groups, and volunteering in class, for example—experiences that can link them to more opportunities and resources for their children and more influence in schools. Those differences in parent involvement can create hidden disparities that are easy for schools to overlook but hard for poor families to overcome.

Around the Nation

Social-Emotional Learning: New Resources Aid Districts’ Implementation
Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, launched a new set of online resources designed to help school districts implement comprehensive SEL strategies. It includes a needs assessment, sample policies, resources, and videos from the organization’s group of collaborating districts—in cities ranging from Oakland, Calif., to Anchorage—which have spent years working to incorporate SEL into their work by changing school policies, using research-based social-emotional learning curriculum, and infusing SEL strategies into traditional classroom work. 

How to Bring Early Learning and Family Engagement into the Digital Age
New America: New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop have joined forces to document initiatives using digital tools to connect with vulnerable families and improve educational outcomes. Interactive tools such as on-demand video and text messaging are being used to inspire and reassure parents, to share learning materials between formal and informal settings, and to bring parents closer to their children’s learning. Some communities are also taking steps to prepare educators as media mentors to help families and children be choosy about media and learn how to use digital tools for learning.

Nation’s Report Card Finds Mixed Grades for U.S. Students in Visual Arts, Music
NPR Ed Blog: The government released a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music. In many ways, the numbers aren’t great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders. The findings come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. See related article: Ed Week Curriculum Matters Blog “8th Graders’ Arts Scores Hold Steady on Latest National Assessment.”

New York City Plans to Expand Preschool to 3-Year-Olds
Ed Week Early Years Blog: New York City, which in three years expanded its prekindergarten program to serve all the city’s 4-year-olds, now plans to offer a universal program for 3-year-olds—and it expects that the state and the federal government will contribute money to make that happen. See related article: NPR Ed Blog “The Research Argument For NYC’s Preschool Plan For 3-Year-Olds.”

Eat, Sleep, Repeat: How Kids’ Daily Routines Can Help Prevent Obesity
NPR The Salt Blog: A new study, published in the International Journal of Obesity finds that preschool-age children who didn’t have a set sleep routine were more likely to be overweight by the time they became tweens. “We found children who had inconsistent bedtimes were almost twice as likely to be obese by age 11 compared to kids who had regular bedtimes,” says study author Sarah Anderson, an epidemiologist at The Ohio State University.

Later School Start Times for Teenagers Get Another National Endorsement
Ed Week Time and Learning Blog: Another national organization of health-care professionals has come out in favor of school start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m. for middle and high school students. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has now made the same recommendation as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, and several other national organizations. The AASM made its recommendation through a position statement, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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Author: City Connects

City Connects is an innovative school-based system that revitalizes student support in schools. City Connects collaborates with teachers to identify the strengths and needs of every child. We then create a uniquely tailored set of intervention, prevention, and enrichment services located in the community designed to help each student learn and thrive.

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