The Weekly Connect 1/8/18

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:

Principals lack the early education expertise they need to manage the expansion of pre-K programs.

Chemistry isn’t offered in 3 of 5 secondary schools nationally.

How education programs and policies will fare in Washington next year.

A Seattle nonprofit boosts foster children’s high school graduation rates.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

As Public Pre-K Expands in Schools, Study Finds Principals Are Unprepared to Support It
The Hechinger Report: Principals lack the experience and expertise in early childhood education that they need as pre-K programs expand in public elementary schools. This could inhibit principals’ ability to manage and support pre-K teachers, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Chemistry Absent From 3 in 5 Secondary Schools, Analysis Finds
Ed Week Curriculum Matters Blog: Fewer than half of the nation’s secondary schools offer a chemistry course, according to a new analysis from the Education Week Research Center. The lack of chemistry dovetails with what appears to be increasing concern about the phenomenon of science and STEM “deserts,” or places where students have fewer opportunities to take classes in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. 

Autism Spectrum Disorders Appear to Have Stabilized Among U.S. Kids and Teens
Los Angeles Times: Researchers have a new reason to believe that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the U.S. has reached a plateau. The evidence comes from the National Health Interview Survey, which polls American households about a variety of conditions. The research team found that 2.41% of U.S. kids and teens had a form of autism between 2014 and 2016. That prevalence rose slightly over the three-year period — from 2.24% in 2014 to 2.41% in 2015 and then 2.58% in 2016. But that wasn’t enough to be considered statistically significant.


Trump, Congress, and Education in 2018: Eight Big Questions
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Heading into President Donald Trump’s second year in office, there’s plenty of suspense about education, and there are big educational issues on the horizon for the GOP-controlled Congress as well. What will be the fate of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget? Will U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos get to applaud any new school choice initiatives? And will Congress prevent hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” from being deported? Here’s a rundown of what to watch for in K-12 education this year in Washington. See related article: NPR “From DACA To DeVos: Education Predictions For 2018.” 

Concerns Mount Over K-12 Education Plans
U.S. News & World Report: As states cement education plans for their schools under the federal K-12 law, the Department of Education is working furiously to assess these plans amid mounting concerns about states’ commitment to following the law; their proposals to ensure historically disadvantaged students have access to quality education; and the department’s capacity – and in some cases, lack of desire – to police it all.

Around the Nation

Community Partnerships Mean Better Health for Memphis Kids
U.S. News & World Report: About half of the children in Memphis live in poverty. It’s one of the poorest metro areas in the country, plagued by food insecurity, and violent crime. As a result, Memphis is also one of the unhealthiest areas in the U.S., with rates of HIV, asthma, and infant mortality high above the rest of the state and nation. However, by partnering with more than 100 community-based organizations, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital is aiming to keep children out of the emergency room and reduce health disparities among Memphis’ racial and socioeconomic groups.

Teacher Shortages Linger in Many States
The PEW Charitable Trusts: All 50 states began the current school year short on teachers. And schools nationwide still are scrambling to fill positions in a range of subjects, from chronically hard-to-staff ones such as special education to typically easy-to-staff grades such as kindergarten. Districts that can’t find a qualified teacher may stop offering a certain class or hire a rookie with an emergency credential, a move that could lower the quality of instruction. To address this shortage, lawmakers in several states took actions to increase the supply of new teachers or raise teacher compensation.

Why Foster Care Students in Seattle Are Beating the Odds
NPR Ed: Thirty-six percent. That was the high school graduation rate for youth in foster care in Seattle and King County, Washington, in 2010. Until that year, Treehouse, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of foster youth, had been providing extras like backpacks, school clothes, music lessons, and summer camp. But when news about the disappointing graduation rate broke, the organization decided it also had to help students who had dropped out. Treehouse measures its success using five-year graduation rates because youth in foster care typically miss out on learning time. Last year, 89% of their students made it across that extended finish line. This beats Washington State’s overall five-year graduation rate by 7 points.

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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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