The Weekly Connect 5/11/20

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Deportations can hurt the achievement of Latinx students.

Schools struggle with reopening even when governors say it’s okay.

School counselors suggest ways to help students — and adults — through the trauma caused by COVID-19.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Teachers Favor Moving on to Next Year’s Content in the Fall
Education Dive: In a new nationwide poll conducted by the Collaborative for Student Success, 65 percent of teachers favor starting next year with “regularly scheduled instruction” over other options, such as revisiting concepts from the end of this semester, extending next school year, or offering students the chance to repeat a grade. However, administrators — who made up about 12% of the 5,555 respondents — think the best strategy is to begin next year with April 2020 concepts to address the learning loss caused by school closures. Advocates and policymakers, about 250 respondents in the sample, agreed with administrators. 

Effective Counselors Boost Graduation, College Attendance
Education Dive: High school counselors make a positive difference in graduation rates and enrollment in college, especially for low-achieving and low-income students, according to research presented in Education Next. The most effective high school counselors boost students’ high school graduate rate by 2 percentage points. These counselors also raise college attendance rates by 1.5 percentage points and college graduation rates by 1.3 percentage points. Minority students’ high school graduation rates rose by 3.2 percentage points, and their college attendance rates rose by 2.2 percentage points. Low-achieving students were 3.4 percentage points more likely to graduate high school and 2.5 percentage points more likely to attend any type of college. See related article: The Hechinger Report “From Private to Public School: A College Counselor Straddles an Economic Divide.”

Deportations Widen Latino-White Achievement Gaps at School
The Hechinger Report: In a recent study, a team of education researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, looked at places where hundreds of thousands of people had been deported between 2009 and 2016 to see what happened to the academic achievement of students who attended a school nearby. The researchers found that Latino-white gaps in chronic absenteeism and in math test scores widened in nearly 2,000 school districts located within 25 miles of a deportation. That affected some 2.75 million Latino students who attended school near 262 deportation sites around the country. The achievement gaps between Black and White students, by contrast, didn’t move in tandem with deportations. The researchers also found that proximity mattered. Schools that were 25 miles beyond a deportation site didn’t see the Latinx-White gaps in achievement and absenteeism grow with deportation rates.

Policy

CDC’s Draft Guidance for Reopening Amid Coronavirus Includes Spaced-Out Seating in Schools, Disposable Menus in Restaurants
CNN Health: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has drafted a document that details interim guidance on how businesses, schools, and other organizations should handle safely reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. The document is still under review by the Trump Administration and could change. For schools and day camps that are preparing to reopen, the document recommends keeping classes together in order to include the same group of children each day and avoid mixing between groups. The document also suggests placing seating and bedding six feet apart if possible and avoiding “non-essential” assemblies and field trips as well as having students eat lunch in classrooms rather than cafeterias. See related article: The Washington Post “Under Pressure to Reopen Schools This Fall, School Leaders Plot Unprecedented Changes.” 

A Few Schools Could Reopen, But Remote Learning Could Go On For Years In U.S
NPR: With fewer than 500 reported cases of coronavirus, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock recently declared it was safe to open up schools. But just a few school districts in small towns have taken the governor up on the offer. That gap — between a state executive proclaiming schools OK to open and the reality of tiny groups of students gathering in just a few schools — shows the logistical challenges educators and state officials around the country face in any decision to reopen. Public schools play a range of roles in society beyond education by providing child care and essential social services, but before they can do this work, they must ensure that they are safe places for children. See related article: New York Times “Despite Trump’s Nudging, Schools Are Likely to Stay Shut for Months.” 

Who’s Being Hit Hardest by New York’s Budget Crisis? Its Highest Poverty Districts.
Chalkbeat: The recently passed coronavirus relief package earmarked billions for the country’s highest-poverty schools. New York City was due hundreds of millions, money that could help the largest school system in the country with its ongoing transition to online instruction. However, that money was wiped away when Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut the incoming $716.9 million in state funding from New York City schools. The move allowed state leaders to say school funding was holding steady for all, implying that school districts would equally share the pain of this economic downturn. In reality, districts with the most children from low-income families will shoulder that burden, two recent analyses show (see here and here). See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “New York State Teams With Gates Foundation to ‘Reimagine Education’ Amid Pandemic.”

Around the Nation

The Pandemic Is Causing Widespread Emotional Trauma. Schools Must Be Ready to Help
Education Week: While every crisis is different, there is a common reality that shapes recovery: Crises always reveal both strengths and vulnerabilities in individuals and systems. Among those who most aware of these strengths and vulnerabilities are school psychologists. Serving on the front line, school psychologists are working to figure out how to support learning and meet students’ physical and mental-health needs in a virtual context because it’s tough to proceed with academic efforts without addressing psychological and emotional trauma amnog students and adults. To help, school psychologists’ recommend that district leaders develop a long-term recovery plan, conduct structured needs assessments, and develop a resource map of in-school and out-of-school mental health services. See related articles: District Administration “What Social-Emotional Needs Will Students Return With?” and Los Angeles Times “Society Must Prepare for the Mental Health Impacts of Coronavirus on Kids.” 

When Afterschool is Shut Down Too
NPR: Across the country, kids who have been cooped up at home for weeks are craving both physical activity and the mental and creative challenges that extracurricular activities bring. And ballet instructors, soccer coaches and piano teachers — just to name a few — are finding the shutdown every bit as complicated as school teachers who have had to move academic lessons online. It’s difficult for dance teachers, coaches, and other after-school and extracurricular instructors to show children who are watching on screens how to hold a paint brush or preform a proper sidekick in karate. Nevertheless, coaches and instructors are finding creative ways to keep children active and engaged. See related articles: Education Week “Coronavirus Upends After-School World” and Education Dive “After-School Providers Pivot to Provide Online Activities, Meals and Diapers Amid Pandemic.” 

Student Internet Access Concerns Rise as Discounted Hotspot Programs End
Education Dive: As discounted hotspot programs phase out, school leaders worry low-income families will have difficulty maintaining access to the Internet during school closures, according to District Administration. Options remain, however, with one expert noting that some Internet companies plan to continue $10-a-month programs beyond the duration of COVID-19. While plans vary, some only require families to fill out applications showing students receive free or reduced-priced lunch — though in some cases, hardware is still backordered.

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