The Weekly Connect 2/4/19

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These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

High-quality afterschool programs can promote positive student outcomes.

States have few policies in place to fully meet the needs of students who are grappling with trauma.

Hawaii’s governor offers a roadmap for universal preschool.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Tighter Home-School Bonds Improve Students’ Social and Emotional Skills (as Well as Academics)
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: School and family partnerships can be as important for students’ social and emotional development as for their academic progress, according to a new meta-analysis in the American Educational Research Association’s Review of Educational Research journal. The analysis suggests that common parent-involvement programs affect students’ social-emotional development and mental health in different ways. 

Kindergarten Classes Are Getting More Academic. New Research Says the Kids Are All Right
Chalkbeat: Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be — and that might not be a bad thing. Recent research has found that kindergarten classrooms look increasingly academic, with the casualties often being art and free time for play. That has worried plenty of parents and child advocates. But a new study suggests the concerns about academic rigor in early grades may be overblown. It finds that students in kindergarten classes with more academic content not only show higher math and reading ability, they don’t do any worse — and in some cases do better — on social-emotional metrics like self-control, focus, and behavior.

Immigrants Learned English in Half the Time when they were Held Back in Third Grade
The Hechinger Report: A paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research examined 40,000 English language learners in Florida and found that those who were held back in third grade learned English substantially faster and took more demanding classes in subsequent years. The retained kids became proficient in English in just one year, on average, half the time of their peers who were directly promoted to fourth grade. 

Building Protective and Promotive Factors in Afterschool
Child Trends: In the United States, approximately 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs. High-quality afterschool programs can both support positive youth outcomes—including enhanced academic, social, and emotional skills—and prevent poor youth outcomes. Child Trends, the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC), and LA’s BEST—a large afterschool program in Los Angeles—developed a white paper that provides a common approach for addressing three important developmental outcomes in childhood and adolescence: substance misuse and abuse, problem behaviors, and academic performance.

Why Mindfulness and Trauma-Informed Teaching Don’t Always Go Together
KQED News Mind Shift: Mindfulness is a fast-growing trend both in the world generally and in schools. Teachers are turning to the practice as a simple way to restore calm to the classroom, help students find some quiet space, and build self-regulation skills. But it’s also important to realize that some of the ways mindfulness is practiced — sitting still, eyes closed, in silence — can also be triggers for students who have experienced trauma. See related article: The Hechinger Report “Can Mental Health Training for Teachers Reduce Preschool Suspensions.”

Locked Away: The Toll of Mass Incarceration on Students
Edutopia: One in 14 children has had an incarcerated parent and about half of children with incarcerated parents are under the age of 10. The scope of the racial disparity is even more staggering: Among Black children, one in nine has experienced parental incarceration, a rate twice that of white children. Children with imprisoned siblings or parents often suffer silently, but schools can help students confront the stigma and trauma.

The Startling Toll on Children who Witness Domestic Violence is Just now being understood
USA Today: New research is giving scientists more insight into the far-reaching and long-lasting harms of domestic violence to the children who grow up around it. Brain imaging in infants shows that exposure to domestic violence – even as they are sleeping, or in utero – can reduce parts of the brain, change its overall structure and affect the way its circuits work together. One recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that exposure to domestic violence had the same serious and life-changing effects as experiencing the abuse directly.

Policy

Despite Prevalent Trauma, from School Shootings to the Opioid Epidemic, Few States Have Policies to Fully Address Student Needs, Study Finds
The 74 Million: Despite the pervasive effect that stressful experiences — from mass school shootings to the opioid epidemic — have on student performance, only 11 states encourage or require staff training on the effects of trauma. Half of states have policies on suicide prevention. And just one state, Vermont, requires a school nurse to be available daily at every school campus. Those are among the key findings of a report recently released by the nonprofit Child Trends, which found that most states have failed to adopt a comprehensive set of policies to address student wellbeing. 

Growth Data: It Matters, and It’s Complicated
Data Quality Campaign: Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have committed to measuring and reporting individual student growth under the Every Student Succeeds Act. This means everyone in those states – from parents to policymakers – will have more information than before on student performance and school quality. But the questions they’ll be able to answer depend on how states measure growth. This brief explores the different ways states have committed to measuring student growth and what that means for education stakeholders and their understanding of student success. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Betsy DeVos’ Team Makes Grants Available for States to Improve Testing.” 

States Earn Low Grades on Student-Data Privacy Protections from New Report Card
Ed Week Digital Education Blog: The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Network for Public Education issued a report that analyzes the thoroughness and quality of student-data privacy laws passed in the U.S. in the past five years. The goal of the report is to help parents, advocates, and legislators untangle the complicated web of state student-data privacy laws across the country, according to the two groups. The report grades each state on its efforts, analyzing 99 student privacy laws passed in 39 states and the District of Columbia between 2013 and 2018.

Around the Nation

Graduation Rate for Students with Disabilities Shows Improvement
Disability Scoop: The high school graduation rate for students with disabilities across the nation is on the rise again, new federal figures indicate. For the 2016-2017 school year, the graduation rate for those with disabilities reached 67.1 percent. That is up from 65.5 percent the previous year and represents the sixth year in a row that the rate has increased. The numbers come from a report released this month by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Hawaii Governor offers Roadmap for Universal Preschool
AP News: During his State of the State address, Gov. David Ige laid out what he called a road map for creating universal public preschool in Hawaii over several decades. The central part of the plan is to offer pre-kindergarten through fifth grade at elementary schools instead of the current kindergarten through grade six. Grade six would become part of middle schools. The governor noted research shows early childhood education is critical for brain development. “Children’s early years set the stage for how well they learn for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Yoga, Martial Arts Classes part of new kind of PE Curriculum for Frisco Kids
Dallas News: Pink Elementary and the rest of Frisco ISD’s 42 elementary schools are finding new ways to get kids moving to keep them healthy. That means yoga classes, martial arts lessons, vegetable “try days” in the cafeteria, and more. It all works in concert with expanded counseling and mental health services to provide education to the “whole child,” in the parlance of the district. The idea is that all of a student’s classes should work together to promote not just academic but social and emotional learning as well. See related article: The Oakland Press “Child Obesity: Healthy Programs across the County aim to Lower Obesity Rates.”

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