The Weekly Connect 2/12/18

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:

A Stanford University study finds having a positive attitude makes students more successful.

Asthma attacks decline.

How the 9th graders of 2009 are doing.

How States are using Title II funds to strengthen the teaching profession.

Dallas creates centers to help homeless high school students.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

School Counselors Responsible for 482 Students on Average, Report Finds
Ed Week High School & Beyond Blog: The heavy caseloads of school counselors haven’t gotten much lighter in the past decade, even as schools are under pressure to deliver quality advice and guidance on a growing range of issues. A report issued by two groups that represent school counselors shows that the national average student-counselor ratio was 482 to 1 in 2014-15, the most recent year for which data are available. In 2004-05, the average ratio was 479 to 1. 

New Study from Stanford University Finds That Positivity Makes Kids More Successful
CNBC: Schools across the country should dust off their “If you believe it, you can achieve it” posters, because scientists from Stanford University have discovered the brain pathway that directly links a positive attitude with achievement. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine studied 240 children ages seven to 10 and found that being positive improved their ability to answer math problems, increased their memories, and enhanced their problem-solving abilities. They also used MRI brain scans to map the neurological effects of positivity. Results are published in the journal Psychological Science.

Asthma Attacks on the Decline Among U.S. Kids
HealthDay: Fewer U.S. children are having to deal with asthma attacks in recent years, federal health officials reported. That also translates into fewer missed school days and hospital visits, the researchers noted. In fact, the number of kids with asthma who had one or more asthma attacks in the past year dropped from nearly 62% in 2001 to about 54% in 2016, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The 9th Graders of 2009, 7 Years Later
Inside Higher Ed: Nearly three-quarters of ninth graders tracked in a major federal study had received some kind of postsecondary education or training within seven years – and nearly a quarter of them had left their programs without a credential of any sort. Of the 28% of respondents to the survey who were ninth graders in 2009 but had not enrolled in any postsecondary program by February 2016, more than four in 10 cited financial reasons, and roughly the same proportion earned $10,000 or less in 2015. Those were among the findings of the second follow-up to the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, released by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Policy

These States Are Leveraging Title II of ESSA to Modernize and Elevate the Teaching Profession
Center for American Progress: The Center for American Progress has reviewed each state’s ESSA plan, searching specifically for state-led and state-supported programs that will be funded, at least in part, through Title II, Part A of ESSA—the section of the law that designates funding specifically for recruiting, preparing, and supporting teachers.This is not an exhaustive list of states’ strategies to improve their educator workforce; rather this brief highlights a few noteworthy states that have proposed promising teacher pipeline initiatives that they are either starting or continuing with support from Title II, Part A of ESSA. See related article: Ed Week Teacher Beat Blog “Here’s How States Are Using Title II Funds to Strengthen the Teaching Profession.”

Will Trump Help Rebuild America’s Schools?
U.S. News & World Report: President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass a sweeping $1.5 trillion infrastructure package during his State of the Union address. Public schools are the second largest sector of the country’s infrastructure, after roads and highways, with more than 50 million children and adults setting foot in a public school every day. But half of those buildings are at least 50 years old and many are plagued by chronic facilities issues. Given this, it would make sense for any federal infrastructure investment to include these buildings — but as he made his infrastructure pitch, the president did not mention schools.

Betsy DeVos Opens Up ESSA Pilot Allowing Federal Money to Follow Students
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: School districts: Are you interested in having your local, state, and federal funding follow children, so that kids with greater need have more money attached to them? Now’s your chance. The U.S. Department of Education is officially opening up the “Weighted Student Funding Pilot” in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The department can allow up to 50 districts to participate initially, and ESSA leaves open the possibility of opening that up to more districts down the line. See related articles: Education Week “Betsy DeVos: A One-Year Progress Report” and Center for American Progress “Do ESSA Plans Show Promise for Improving Schools?

Around the Nation

Tennessee’s Special Education Population is Changing Under Its New Academic Intervention Program
Chalkbeat: Today, the rates of minority and non-minority students identified with disabilities are nearly equal statewide, while the gap between males and females being placed in special education has decreased. Also notably, the number of students identified with specific learning disabilities has dropped by a third. State officials are hailing a personalized learning program launched in 2014 for improved equity statewide and a decrease in special education referrals. Called Response to Instruction and Intervention, the national model aims to keep struggling students from falling through the cracks by identifying them early and tailoring academic instruction to meet their needs. 

With Thousands of Homeless Students, This District Put Help Right in Its Schools
KERA News: Dallas schools have put something called a drop-in center at nearly every high school in the district to help an estimated 3,600 homeless students. At Bryan Adams High School, the drop-in center is a converted classroom that offers coffee, packaged foods, deodorant, a new backpack, even counseling. Some local nonprofits lend supplies and volunteers. “They’re trying to make ends meet and are having a hard time making it,” principal Mike Moran says about his students.

System of Positive Rewards to Reduce Student Discipline Takes Off in California
Ed Source: A 2012 EdSource survey showed that PBIS [Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports] was by far the most popular behavior management system in place in California school districts. And the practice has grown substantially since then. The data show 2,500 California schools — or 1 in 4 — now committed to the rigorous framework. Research shows that successfully implementing the approach reduces suspensions as well as overall behavior problems that result in student referrals to the principal’s office. It can improve academic performance, attendance, and the ability of students to regulate their emotions and behaviors.

Indiana House Passes Bill to Limit School Suspensions, Expulsions
Chicago Tribune: A bill looking to reduce suspensions, expulsions and school arrests unanimously passed the House. The effort follows years of state data showing Indiana suspends children at higher rates than surrounding states — a trend that disproportionately falls on African-American and special education students. The bill would require the state department of education to provide a framework for schools starting in 2019-2020 to develop an “evidence-based plan” emphasizing positive discipline strategies and restorative practices to deescalate behavioral problems before they lead to suspensions, expulsions or school arrests.

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