The Weekly Connect 2/18/19

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

Half of U.S. teens with mental illness go untreated.

Community Schools could become more common in Colorado.

Mississippi leads in encouraging well-rounded, “healthy schools.”

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Nearly 1 in 7 US Kids and Teens has a Mental Health Condition, and Half go Untreated, Study says
CNN Health: Half of children with a mental health condition in the United States go without treatment, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The researchers analyzed data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationwide survey administered to parents of children and teens. Of the 46.6 million children ages 6 through 18 whose parents completed the survey, 7.7 million had at least one mental health condition — such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — and only half received treatment or counseling from a mental health provider in the 12 months prior to the survey. 

Extra Arts Education Boosts Students’ Writing Scores — and their Compassion, Big New Study Finds
Chalkbeat: A new study shows that an initiative to expand arts education in Houston elementary and middle schools helped students in a few ways: boosting students’ compassion for their classmates, lowering discipline rates, and improving students’ scores on writing tests. It’s just the latest study to find that giving students more access to the arts offers measurable benefits. And adding time for dance, theater, or visual arts isn’t at odds with traditional measures of academic success, according to the research. See related article: Education Dive “Amid Push for STEM Education, Arts Instructors Stress Value of Theater.” 

North Carolina Study Links Pre-K to Middle School Achievement
New America: A December 2018 report from Duke University adds another study to the pile of research showing the benefits of pre-K. This study examined the outcomes of North Carolina’s pre-K programming. Researchers compared 2.7 million 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students’ end-of-year standardized math and reading scores, examined grade retention over students’ academic careers, and indicated whether students had been placed into special education. The study found a strong correlation between individual students’ assessment scores in reading and math in elementary and middle school and their participation in the Smart Start and/or More at Four early education programs.

The ‘Transformative Power’ of Reaching Children before Kindergarten 
Education Dive: A New York City charter network partners with Parent-Child Home Program, an early-childhood home-visiting program, in hopes of preventing the delays seen when kids enter school. The program has trained “early-learning specialists” conduct twice-weekly, 30-minute home visits to low-income families over a two-year period, beginning when the child is 18 months old. Each week, the families receive a book or an educational toy, and the specialists focus on modeling interaction with the child. A year ago, the charter network launched a pilot with 30 families and plans are underway to expand the partnership. See related article: Child Trends “Home Visiting and Early Childhood Education can Benefit Families by broadening their Strategies for Family Engagement.”

Policy

Community Schools Serve Students and their Families. This Colorado Bill Would promote them.
Chalkbeat: Community schools are unique in that they strive to go beyond academics and more broadly serve students and families. Soon, community schools could become more common in Colorado under a bill that received preliminary Senate approval and is likely to become law. Senate Bill 102 is aimed at helping struggling schools get community support and extend their reach to turn themselves around.

School Safety and Student Privacy: Betsy DeVos Seeks to Clarify Law
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: The U.S. Department of Education sought to clear up confusion about how school privacy laws should be interpreted in the context of school safety with the release of a new, frequently-asked-questions document that puts previous guidance and technical help on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act all in one place. The new, comprehensive document, School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), builds on conclusions from the Federal School Safety Commission, which found that school districts seeking to bolster their safety efforts were confused about when and how they could share student information without violating FERPA.

Around the Nation

Report: Access to Reliable Internet, Devices Outside of Class Ongoing Challenge
Education Dive: The 2019 State of Digital Learning report from Schoology shows digital device access remains “the biggest obstacle to student learning,” for rural and urban schools alike, eSchool News reports. More than half of the survey’s 9,200 respondents said their school or district has a 1:1 device program, but only half of those allow their students to take those devices home. K-12 teachers reported that home access, finding time for individualized instruction, juggling digital tools and online safety were among their top challenges, while improving assessments, reporting and data-driven decision-making are top priorities.

Mississippi One of Ten States Leading the Nation in Encouraging Well-Rounded, ‘Healthy Schools,’ Report Finds
The Hechinger Report: Mississippi has been highlighted in a new report as one of ten states in the nation that has robust policies that encourage “healthy schools,” defined as those that fully support a student’s “academic, physical, emotional, and social well-being.” The report, released by several organizations including the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Child Trends, the Institute for Health Research and Policy, and EMT Associates, Inc., analyzed state statutes and regulations relating to ten domains of health, including nutrition, social services, employee wellness and family engagement. 

New York City Public Schools Should Be Evaluated Based on Diversity, Not Just Tests, Panel Says
The New York Times: New York City is currently home to one of the most segregated urban public school systems in America. A high-level panel commissioned by Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the city to adopt a sweeping measure to address entrenched segregation in education: create diversity targets for all 1,800 schools so that their population reflects the racial and economic makeup of the surrounding areas. Over the next five years, the panel recommended, schools should look as much like their local borough or school district as possible, in terms of race, income level, disability and proficiency in English. See related article: The New York Times “‘I Love My Skin!’ Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools.” 

How Teachers are Helping Students Affected by Deportations
The Hechinger Report: Teachers in the classroom have been doing their best to support students whose family members have been deported or who face deportation themselves. Feeling a moral and ethical duty to help, teachers are turning to nonprofit immigration law offices and training by education experts to educate themselves. In the months after Trump’s inauguration, Rebekah Wolf, a former high school teacher and a current immigration lawyer with the New Mexico Immigration Law Center, initiated “know your rights” training sessions for educators in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The training focuses on “what ICE is supposed to do and what ICE isn’t supposed to do.” See related article: Education Dive “Trainings Help Educators Respond to Immigrant Families’ Deportation Concerns.”

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