The Weekly Connect 11/19/18

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:

Having one black teacher can improve black students’ chances of going to college.

Should childhood trauma be treated as a public health crisis?

In New York, a focus on house could lead to more diverse schools.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

SEL Assessment Guide a One-Stop Shop for Real-World Examples of How Progress is Being Measured
Education Dive: A new guide from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning provides educators with assessment tools for gauging social emotional learning (SEL) as well as guidelines for collecting data on student progress and using that data to inform instruction, practice, and policy implementation. The SEL Assessment Guide includes a catalog of assessments as well as real-world examples of how practitioners are using the data. 

Study: Having Just One Black Teacher Can Up Black Students’ Chances of Going to College
Ed Week Teacher Beat Blog: If a black student has just one or two black teachers in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to enroll in college, a new Johns Hopkins University study has found. Black students who had just one black teacher by 3rd grade were 13% more likely to enroll in college, while those who had two black teachers were 32% more likely, the study found. These findings are a continuation of the 2017 study that found that a low-income black student’s probability of dropping out of high school is reduced by 29% if he or she has one black teacher in grades 3-5.

The Single Biggest Risk Factor in Getting Expelled Is Being a Preschooler
Governing: Walter Gilliam, a child psychiatrist at Yale University, led the first national study on preschool expulsions in 2005. What he found then still surprises many to this day: Preschoolers are three times more likely to be expelled than K-12 students. In private preschools, that number jumps even higher, to 13 times more likely. “The single biggest risk factor in getting expelled is being a preschooler,” Gilliam says. 

Why Aren’t Schools Using the Apps They Pay For?
EdSurge: With thousands of education apps available today, it can seem like students’ success is in the palm of their hands. But it’s easy to forget is that technology is not in itself a solution. For it to work as intended, it must be paired with other critical elements, such as professional development for teachers, thoughtful implementation, and consistent engagement. A new report that analyzes 1.48 million hours of technology usage by 390,000 students across 48 U.S. school districts underscores this point. See related article: The Hechinger Report “Designing Accessible Ed tech can be Costly, but Demand is on the Rise.” 

Should Childhood Trauma be Treated as a Public Health Crisis?
NPR: When public health officials get wind of an outbreak of Hepatitis A or influenza, they spring into action with public awareness campaigns, monitoring and outreach. But should they be acting with equal urgency when it comes to childhood trauma? A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests the answer should be yes. It shows how the effects of childhood trauma persist and are linked to mental illness and addiction in adulthood. And, researchers say, it suggests that it might be more effective to approach trauma as a public health crisis than to limit treatment to individuals. 

Pre-To-3: Researchers Find More Reasons Why the Arts Are Good for Young Children
Education Dive: Researchers and educators have a lot of questions about how art-related experiences benefit children in the early grades and as they continue through school. A special section in Early Childhood Research Quarterly provides some answers. For example, one study focuses on preschoolers who attended an arts-themed Head Start program at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. Children in the program participated in daily music, dance, and visual arts instruction in addition to receiving the Creative Curriculum program. Researchers compared findings for these students to a sample of children at another Head Start program that didn’t include daily arts integration and found that children in the arts-themed program made greater gains in school readiness. 

Docs Should Screen Kids’ Daily Physical Activity as a ‘Vital Sign’ for Health
Reuters: More than half of U.S. children may not be getting the recommended amount of physical activity, and doctors can help by making exercise one of the “vital signs” assessed in routine health checks, researchers say. “We need to start asking children and their parents questions about physical activity on a routine basis. Exercise guidelines for families should be specific, and education about what counts as ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’ should be included,” said the lead author of a study, which was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

Policy

Schools Are Spending Millions on Safety. How Will They Know It’s Working?
Education Week: Schools are spending tens of millions of dollars this year to shore up security in the wake of two mass school shootings. But how do K-12 leaders know if they are spending their scarce funds in the right way? Are the measures they invest in going to make their schools safer? How will they know if what they’ve done is working? Researchers who study school security worry school leaders can’t get good answers to these questions. 

Expert Review: Some States’ ESSA School Improvement Plans Are Missing the Mark on Equity
The 74 Million: Now that all state plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act have been approved, it’s on to the next step: identifying chronically underperforming schools and working to improve outcomes for the primarily low-income children and students of color who attend them. Some states, though, are falling short of making real change, according to a new analysis. Less than half of the 17 reviewed states’ plans “promote equity as a clear focus” in their school turnaround plans, only two require districts to show how they’ll address the achievement gap, and just four ask districts to tackle inequitable distribution of key resources, such as challenging curriculum and well-qualified teachers. 

New Law Promotes Civics Education in Public Schools
Associated Press: A new state law encourages civics education in public schools with the goal of giving students a better understanding of how the nation’s political system works and their place in it. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker was joined by Democratic legislative leaders as he signed the bill. Among other things, the law requires school districts to help eighth-graders complete at least one student-led civics project, either individually or with a small group or class.

Democrats Seek to Sharply Curtail Restraint, Seclusion of Students
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Democrats on Capitol Hill are seeking to ban the practice of isolating students in special rooms or otherwise secluding them in schools that receive federal funds. They also want to put limits on when students can be physically restrained. The Keeping All Students Safe Act would also require schools to notify parents within 24 hours when their child has been physically restrained, and to require states to collect and publish data on restraint and seclusion, including reports of injuries or death. 

The 2020 Presidential Field and Education: Your Very Early Cheat Sheet
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: The 2020 presidential election is right around the corner. And there’s a good chance that education could be a higher-profile-than-usual issue in what’s shaping up to be a large and unwieldy Democratic primary field. After all, educators—and their unions—are a big part of the party’s constituency. Plus there are at least a couple of Republicans who might try to run in the republican primary against President Donald Trump—or even run against him as an independent. They could use education to appeal to the middle. So what kind of background do many of the potential candidates have on K-12? Here’s your way-too-early cheat sheet with some answers.

Around the Nation

They Started as An Experiment in Rural Areas. Now, Mobile Preschools Are Rolling into Metro Denver
Chalkbeat: In several of Colorado’s rural communities, some children have long attended preschool in specially equipped mobile classrooms with names like Gus the Bus, Magic Bus, and El Busesito. The rolling preschools, which travel to apartment complexes or mobile home parks a couple times per week, are seen as an innovative way to reach children who can’t access traditional bricks-and-mortar preschools. Now, they’re coming to the Front Range. 

In New York, A New Focus on Housing Could Also Spur More Diversity in Schools
Chalkbeat: It is often taken as a given that schools are segregated because neighborhoods are. Yet the twin challenges of integrating where children live and learn are rarely tackled in tandem. In New York, two recent moves have the potential to address both. The first: State education leaders who are working with local districts to craft school integration plans are also inviting housing officials to the table early on — and plan to include them throughout the process. The second: In New York City, housing officials have launched a tiny pilot program to help low-income renters move into neighborhoods that offer more opportunities, defined partly by school performance. The initiative isn’t meant to tackle school segregation directly, but if it grows, it could result in more diverse classrooms.

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