The Weekly Connect 10/23/17

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:

Children who read and write at home with parents are building both literacy and life skills.

Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child points to three principles for improving children’s and families’ outcomes.

School district leaders say that early education in needed by underfunded.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Literacy Builds Life Skills as Well as Language Skills
The New York Times: Schoolchildren who read and write at home with their parents may build not only their academic literacy skills, but also other important life and learning skills, a study published in the Journal Educational and Psychological Consultation found. Virginia Berninger, professor emerita at the University of Washington, said, “It’s not just the skills the parents teach at home, it’s also how they help their children’s self-regulation, sometimes called executive function.” Writing, she said, was just as important as reading, and the children in the study tended to struggle harder with writing, and to get more help with those assignments from their parents.

Suspensions Don’t Teach
Edutopia School Climate: Many states are legislating a movement away from prescribed punitive justice for misbehavior in schools, and restorative practices are gaining in esteem as evidence-based interventions that have proven successful when implemented correctly. Restorative practices can be implemented in five steps that are rather simple to describe but can take some effort. Restorative practices let schools grow as a community, and they give students permission to learn from failure and forgiveness rather than just enduring punishments.

Parent Notifications Have Become the Norm in K-12 Market
Ed Week Marketplace K-12 Blog: The education market today is replete with digital platforms and tools that deliver all manner of updates and information to parents, via e-mail, text message, and app. According to a newly released report about parent and family involvement from the National Center for Education Statistics, 62% of parents of K-12 students say they receive “notes or e-mails” delivered to them about their children. And nearly 90% of parents said they get either newsletters, memos, or notices addressed to all parents. 

How Schools Are Making Room for The Military
District Administration: Military-connected students—compared to civilian classmates—have moderately elevated rates of nearly all risk factors, including suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and bullying, according to a University of Southern California survey of middle and high schools in that state. To ease transitions, districts have developed buddy programs in which students who have been in the district show their new military-connected classmates around, says Cindy Simerly, of the Military Child Education Coalition, an organization that provides social-emotional and academic programs. 

A Bridge Between School and Faith
Usable Knowledge: Populations at risk of adverse academic outcomes, especially black and Latino students, tend to have strong ties to faith communities.Can schools leverage the support these institutions provide, in order to enhance achievement for children? Irvin Scott, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is exploring that question as he leads a new initiative to bring faith and education communities together.

Educators Employ Strategies to Help Kids with Anxiety Return to School
NPR: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates anxiety-based school refusal affects 2 to 5 percent of school-age children. It is often triggered when students are transitioning into middle or high school. Doctors say it should be treated with flexibility and therapy – not punishment. Some schools are employing new strategies. For example, the Threshold Program at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, which is a public charter high school, sends teachers into the homes of students.

Policy

Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families
Center on the Developing Child: The science of child development and the core capabilities of adults point to a set of “design principles” that policymakers and practitioners in many different sectors can use to improve outcomes for children and families. To be most effective, policies and services should: (1) support responsive relationships for children and adults, (2) strengthen core life skills, and (3) reduce sources of stress in the lives of children and families.

Will Betsy DeVos Change Course on Racial Disparities in School Discipline?
Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: Will the U.S. Department of Education back pedal on another key education civil rights action of the Obama administration? As the agency reversed Obama-era civil rights policies—those related to issues like sexual assault, systemic investigations, and transgender students—policy watchers have wondered if it will next withdraw or alter 2014 guidance on racial disparities in school discipline.

2017 State Policy Review: School and District Leadership
Education Commission of the States: This special report provides context and examples of new legislation impacting preparation, certification, induction, professional development, evaluation, and compensation for the leaders of schools and districts.

Around the Nation

Academic Gaps Linger Between Social Classes at Kindergarten Start, Study Finds
Ed Week Early Years Blog:new study finds that the academic gaps present at kindergarten between students from the highest socioeconomic groups and the lowest went unchanged between 1998 and 2010. That’s despite several programs that have been implemented or expanded during that time to help students living in poverty catch up to their more well-to-do peers. 

A ‘Walking School Bus’ Keeps Kids Safe, Boosts Neighborhood
The Washington Post: Moments after dismissal, hundreds of students pour outside from the back doors of Frederick Elementary School in Baltimore. Some hop into waiting cars while others begin the short walk to row homes on nearby blocks. But a small group of children hangs back, forming a single-file line against a chain-link fence. They wait to be led home by adults in what’s called a ‘walking school bus.’ Supervised by these adults, the kids walk to and from school together while playing games, singing songs, and learning tips on how to cross the street safely.

School District Leaders Say Early Education Needed, But Underfunded
Ed Week Early Years Blog: More than three-quarters of American public school superintendents say that early-childhood care and education means “a great deal” to a child’s future success—but that they work in states that are investing too little in it. These findings come from a survey of a nationally-representative sample of district leaders conducted by Gallup earlier this year. The majority of superintendents also said that quality care was hard to find—63 percent said they “strongly disagreed” or “disagreed” with the statement that high-quality care was “available to every family in my state.”

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