The Weekly Connect 12/3/18

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:

School counselors can have a positive impact, but in Massachusetts their caseloads are too large.

Some states are using ESSA to embrace arts education.

A study finds that the number of children who lack health insurance has grown.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Why School Counselors Matter
The Boston Globe Op/Ed: In Massachusetts, one school counselor is, on average, responsible for supporting the academic growth, emotional health, and future success of approximately 410 public school students, according to the most recent data from the American School Counselor Association. Even at the ASCA-recommended ratio of one counselor to every 250 students, the task is daunting, perhaps impossible. A wide body of research supports the positive impact of counselors throughout the K-12 system: Elementary schools with comprehensive school counseling programs have higher student academic outcomes. Simply put, counselors matter. 

Students Show Up to School More Often When They See ‘Familiar Faces,’ New Study Finds
Chalkbeat: New research shows that when students have more “familiar faces” around them in class, they’re less likely to be chronically absent — a connection that could prove useful to schools now being held accountable for reducing absences for the first time. The study, published last month in the peer-reviewed Elementary School Journal, focuses on thousands of elementary-school students across 13 schools in a small urban California district.

Teachers Want Education Research. The Feds Spend Millions on It. So Why Can’t It Get to the Classroom?
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: The initial results of the Institute of Education Sciences’ listening tour on teacher priorities highlight both an urgent need for new studies—in areas like technology, student trauma, and educational equity—and better outreach on existing research. 

Harvard Study: Children Who Start School Early More Likely to Get ADHD Diagnosis — Even if They Don’t Have It
The Washington Post Answer Sheet: Harvard University researchers have found that children who start school up to a year sooner than many of their peers are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD — even if they don’t really have the condition. As a result, large numbers of children may be improperly labeled with the disorder when, instead, they are just immature. Results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Autism Prevalence Now 1 In 40 US Kids, Study Estimates
CNN.com: A survey of parents across the United States estimates that one in 40 children has autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics. In other words, the condition was reported in 2.5% of children, representing an estimated 1.5 million kids ages 3 to 17. A report released this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the prevalence at one in 59 children or about 1.7%, based on 2014 data.

Policy

How Election Results Will Shake Up State Education Policy
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: There will be a new cast of characters overseeing state education policy in 2019—and many of them will be looking to shake things up to deliver on the many promises they made on the campaign trail in this year’s midterm elections. New governors—many of them Democrats—are expected to propose ambitious budgets with new ways of funding their K-12 systems. The fresh crop of governors and state board members is likely to lead to big turnover of state schools superintendents in places where they’re appointed. 

How Can States and Districts Use ESSA to Embrace Arts Education?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: States had to choose at least one indicator of school quality or student success to consider alongside test scores in gauging school performance. And at least five states decided to use the arts—either access to classes or some other indicator—to fulfill this requirement.

Around the Nation

The Number of Public School Students Could Fall By More Than 8% In A Decade
The Hechinger Report: What does the declining birthrate mean for elementary, middle, and high schools across the country? According to one set of projections, it could mean 8.5% fewer public school students a decade from now. “If it does come true, we’re going to see massive changes,” said Mike Griffith, a school finance specialist at the Education Commission of the States. Griffith says that a decline this large will likely lead to school closures around the country along with some unexpected consequences, such as more full-day kindergarten and publicly funded pre-kindergarten. Rural areas, already hard hit by depopulation, will likely feel the effects most severely. Teachers may face a tighter labor market. 

Okla. Police, School District Team Up to Help Children Exposed to Trauma
Policeone.com: An initiative called Handle With Care allows officers to alert school officials of students who have experienced trauma so they can provide extra care. It’s a simple idea, but one that they hope will have a big impact on the lives of local students. When police officers encounter a child who has experienced a traumatic situation, such as domestic violence, a car wreck, or the arrest of a parent, they send an email to the school district with the child’s name and age or school so school officials can check on the child the next day. 

Number of Uninsured Children in America Grows for the First Time in Nearly A Decade
CNN Politics: For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of uninsured children in America has grown. The reversal is unprecedented, particularly given a strong economy in which more people are landing jobs and gaining access to employer health coverage. It also comes at a time when the nation’s overall uninsured rate remained flat. Roughly 276,000 more children were uninsured in 2017 than the year before, bringing the total to more than 3.9 million, according to a report released by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families.

One Way to Avoid ‘Reform Fatigue’? Look at the Broader System, Report Says
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Call it “reform fatigue” or “solutionitus,” but most teachers and principals understand and dread the constant churn of promising school improvements that sputter out in classrooms or are discarded when district leaders change. A new report looks at how altering the way schools integrate innovation may help sustain effective changes for the long term.

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