The Weekly Connect 6/25/18

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’ top concern is students’ mental health.

Technology could help boost classroom equity.

The fate of Obama-era K-12 policies under President Trump.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Student Mental Health, Effective Instruction, and Professional Development Are Among Principals’ Top Concerns
New America: The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recently released the ninth study in a series of research studies that report data collected on the school climate, challenges, and conditions of pre-K-through-grade-8 principals and assistant principals. Among the report’s key findings: the top concern of principals is addressing students’ emotional problems. Of the 58 concerns listed in the survey, principals rated as an extreme or high concern the numbers of students facing emotional problems, mental health issues, and poverty. Other top concerns were providing services for at-risk students, teacher performance, and professional development of staff.

Many Teachers Favor A More Integrated Early Education System, National Survey Finds
EdSource: Teachers of children in preschool through 3rd grade said a more unified education system for children younger than 8 years old, would help to establish a common foundation in early childhood education that would align teaching and student learning, according to a national survey. Having a unified system would mean creating a more fluid transition from the preschool system to the elementary system. In an ideal setting, teacher qualifications, compensation and classroom practice would be better aligned.

Technology Is Key for Boosting Classroom Equity
Ed Tech Magazine: As the growth in personalized learning initiatives has emphasized, students will exhibit differing aptitudes for subjects depending on their strengths. However, issues with classroom equity have left some students unable to perform, not because they are having trouble grasping the material but because of issues related to geography, race, gender, ethnicity, language or economics. In response, three organizations — America’s Promise Alliance, the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program, and the Council of Chief State School Officers — have issued a report to help school districts address these equity issues. Innovations in technology may be the key in establishing an equal playing field for students struggling to catch up to their peers. 

Separating Kids from Their Parents Can Lead to Long-Term Health Problems
NPR Shots Blog: Thousands of kids were taken from their parents by immigration officials and placed in detention facilities under the Trump administration policy that was in place from April to June. Researchers suggest these children, and others who have spent time in those detention facilities, may have increased long-term health care needs. That’s because the stress of being separated from a parent can also cause lasting physical harm to children. These harms can include reduced immune system functioning in the short term, and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes or other chronic health problems in the long term. 

What Teens Really Say About Sex, Drugs and Sadness
NPR Ed: Want to know what the teenagers in your life really think about sex and drugs? Well, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a pretty good idea, thanks to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Every other year, thousands of teens in public and private high schools across the country take this nationally representative survey. The results for 2017 have just been released.

Policy

How Do Districts Plan to Use Their ESSA Block Grant Money?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Many districts are about to get a big boost in funding for the most flexible piece of the Every Student Succeeds Act: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, better known as Title IV of the law. The program just got a big, $700 million boost from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018, bringing its total funding to $1.1 billion. Districts have a choice about how to spend the money. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “States Are Failing to ‘Put Students’ Civil Rights First’ in ESSA Plans, Advocates Say.” 

How Have Obama’s K-12 Policies Fared Under Trump?
Education Week: President Donald Trump has made it clear: He doesn’t like much of what President Barack Obama did as president. And, as in other policy areas, the Trump administration has rolled back several education initiatives or policies enacted during the Obama era. But just how much of its predecessors’ work has the Trump team discarded, and how much is still around? This article reviews a range of Obama administration education guidance documents, regulations, program initiatives, and other actions, and puts them into three categories to highlight where they stand under Trump. 

City Budget Includes Influx for School Accessibility, Social Workers for Homeless Students
Chalkbeat: After months of negotiations, Mayor Bill de Blasio reached a handshake budget deal with New York’s City Council this week. The deal includes a funding boost to make schools more accessible to students with physical disabilities as well as a modest increase in the number of social workers who serve the city’s growing population of homeless students.

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