The Weekly Connect 2/11/19

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:

How City Connects works in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.

The link between bullying and depression among preschool children.

An overview of all 50 states’ education policies.

Head Start improves in Jacksonville, Fla.

New Orleans works to cut student absenteeism.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Meet the Support Network Addressing Out-Of-School Challenges for Every Student
Ed Surge: City Connects, a longstanding nonprofit organization, serves as a liaison between school districts and families and, frequently, the community partners that offer much-needed assistance to low-income families that may need more support than their schools traditionally provide. City Connects has been around since 2001 and currently serves about 85 schools in five states. The program has been associated with higher report card grades and lower rates of chronic absenteeism in the schools where it operates. See related article: Education Dive Nonprofits Key to Helping Districts Bridge Poverty-Related Achievement Gaps.”

Untangling the Evidence on Preschool Effectiveness: Insights for Policymakers
Learning Policy Institute: A recent report adds to the growing consensus that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that high-quality preschool leaves children better prepared for school, especially in terms of their academic skill development. This conclusion draws on reviews of rigorous evaluations of 21 public preschool programs. The research finds that students who attend high-quality preschool programs reap benefits that can last throughout their lives, and these students are more prepared for school and experience substantial learning gains compared to children who do not attend preschool. See related article: The Hechinger Report “OPINION: The Power of Education Data for Mississippi’s Littlest Learners.”

Social-Emotional Learning Data May Identify Problems, But Can Schools Fix Them?
Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: Educators who saw survey data about school climate and students’ self-perception of social and emotional strengths were motivated to change their practices, a new report by Future Ed at Georgetown University concludes. The report looks at the experiences of the Fresno Unified School District, a group of California school systems that regularly survey students about social-emotional learning competencies like social awareness. 

English-Learners and Reclassification: Principals Play Pivotal Role, Study Finds
Ed Week Learning the Language Blog: Principals have the power to ensure English-language learners get an equitable education, but many don’t realize how much influence they wield, a new study on school leadership concludes. Researchers examined how principals empower or impede equity through their leadership during decision-making about English-learner reclassification—the process schools use to determine when and if English-learners are proficient in the language and no longer need specialized instruction. The authors found that well-informed leaders who have a thorough understanding of policies are better equipped to push for equity to improve the social and academic outcomes for students. See related article: New America “Integrating DLLs’ Home Language in the Classroom Does Not Hobble English Learning, New Study Finds.”

What’s a More Important Parent Investment: Money or Time?
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Two new international studies published by the National Bureau of Economic Research take different approaches to tease out the influence of various parent contributions on children’s achievement. The first study looked at how parents decide to support their children’s learning, while the second study investigated the importance of parent education, as higher levels of parent education have long been associated with better education trajectories for their children.

Most U.S. Kids not Meeting Sleep, Exercise, and Screen Time Targets
Reuters Health: Just one in 20 U.S. children and teens gets the amount of sleep, exercise, and screen time that doctors recommend for optimal health, a new study recently published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests. Children and teens are supposed to get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, limit screen time to less than two hours, and get 8-12 hours of sleep nightly, depending on their age. See related article: Science News for Students “Later School Starts Linked to Better Teen Grades.”

Among Preschoolers, Bullies who get bullied are at High Risk for Depression
Hechinger Report: According to recently published research in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly journal, emotional bullying in the preschool years hurts quite a lot. When a child both bullies and gets bullied, the findings are especially clear: Depression symptoms begin to appear as early as age 3. Depression in early childhood increases the risk of depression in later childhood, which predicts depression in adolescence. See related articles: Education Dive “Study Ties Pre-K Bullying to Childhood Depression” and Science Daily “Why it’s Key to Identify Preschoolers with Anxiety and Depression.”

Study Links Suspension, Expulsion to Drug Use
Education Dive: A student who is suspended or expelled from school is more likely to use drugs than a student arrested by police, according to a new study appearing in the journal Justice Quarterly. Researchers analyzed data from the Rochester Youth Development Study, which first interviewed a sample of 1,000 7th- and 8th-graders in 1988 and followed the participants through age 31. The researchers found that suspension and expulsion were more predictive of later drug use for minority students.

Policy

Blink and You Missed It: Besides a One-Sentence Call to ‘Pass School Choice,’ K-12 Education Is Notably Absent from President Trump’s State of the Union
The 74 Million: Discussion of K-12 education was next to nonexistent in the State of the Union address, President Donald Trump’s second. The president mentioned the issue just once, when he said, without elaboration, “To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America’s children.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a press release praised the president’s call for school choice and said she looks forward to continuing to work with Congress on the issue. See related articles: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “What Would It Mean to ‘Pass School Choice,’ as Trump Wants? and “Trump in State of the Union Speech: ‘Pass School Choice,’ Fund Family Leave.” 

Tracker: 50 States of Education Policy
Education Dive: With the 2019 legislative sessions underway, lawmakers are showing that education policy remains a priority. Education Dive provides an extensive overview of laws, bills, and proposals from every state in the nation on a wide range of pertinent topics such as school safety, early childhood education, and teacher pay. See related article: Ed Note “What Are the Trending Education Topics in States in 2019?

Around the Nation

Cleaner Classrooms and Rising Scores: With Tighter Oversight, Head Start Shows Gains
The New York Times: Jacksonville’s Head Start program has made great strides in the last five years. Now run by Lutheran Services Florida, the program has cleaner classrooms, more teachers with college degrees, a full-time teaching coach, and rising scores on the federal government’s main yardstick of classroom quality. Once in the lowest 10 percent nationwide, Jacksonville now has scores that approach the national average. The change reflects an unheralded trend: Head Start, the country’s biggest preschool program, is getting better.

New Orleans Public Schools Roll Out Program to Cut Student Absences
NOLA Education: Research shows students who chronically miss school are less likely to succeed academically and more likely to drop out of high school. Starting this year, New Orleans public schools are partnering with community leaders to address the city’s own high rate of absenteeism through an initiative called, “Keeping Kids in School.” The new initiative aims to address a wide range of issues that affect school attendance, including poverty, juvenile arrests, lack of access to social services, and weak, uncoordinated support systems for students and their families.

Gwinnett Schools open ‘Pantry’ for Students, Families
AJC News: Many families residing in Gwinnett County experience food insecurity, meaning they lack consistent access to adequate food resulting from the lack of money and other resources during the year. With a grant from the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Gwinnett County Schools have implemented several initiatives to ensure that its students are getting breakfast and have food once they leave school. One initiative that was launched is the “Atlanta Community Food Bank Food Pantry/Market Day Program,” where parents could shop for both perishable and non-perishable items that can be used to make five to seven meals per household.

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