The Weekly Connect 3/28/22

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Investing in teachers’ mental health of can help them build healthy relationships with students that help students do better at managing traumas. 

The future of universal pre-K? Warm, supportive environments were young children can explore, instead of tackling academics. 

Rising fuel prices are hurting schools. 

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

How Teachers Can Support Traumatized Students (and Why They Should)
Education Week: Whether a child develops problems with thinking, self-control, and interpersonal relations because of trauma depends on more than just the traumatic event or events. It’s also driven by whether the child has healthy, supportive relationships that can help them regain a sense of safety. In a recent brief, experts recommend that schools consider investing in improving staff mental health; implementing whole-school strategies for addressing trauma; creating a school-wide plan that includes staff, families, and community stakeholders; and ongoing analysis of data to match students’ needs to evidence-based interventions.

What’s Getting in the Way of More-Effective Digital Learning?
Education Week: Districts purchased thousands of new devices during the pandemic, and teachers quickly got up to speed on digital teaching methods. Now that most schools are back to in-person learning, educators are encountering hurdles as they seek to broaden technology use. For instance, working on devices can be very distracting for students, who will often wander off task. In fact, 60 percent of teachers, principals, and district leaders flagged tech distractions as a big stumbling block to reaching meaningful tech usage, according to a survey conducted by the EdWeek Research Center.

Districts Dig into Data Seeking Solutions for Inequity
K-12 Dive: Deep analysis of student data can help educators make informed decisions to address inequities in learning and discover strategies for whole-child positive outcomes. Districts, however, can be “data rich but analytics poor,” meaning they are challenged with having more data than they know what to do with but do not know where or how to begin their analysis. As school systems continue to respond to pandemic-related academic, emotional, and behavioral needs, the need for quicker and broader access to tools to disaggregate data will increase, as will the need to interpret the metrics to find responsible solutions.


What Might the Future of Universal Pre-K Look Like?
Hechinger Report: Experts in early childhood development are urging policymakers to move away from the belief that young children need two more years of traditional “school” before kindergarten. Preschool experiences can help set the stage for children to flourish academically, but an overemphasis on teacher-led instruction of school-readiness skills may do just the opposite. The early childhood brain evolves to flourish not through rigorous schooling but through exploration, interaction, and conversation. As such, high-quality early childhood classrooms should be full of warmth and support with chances to explore the world while having rich conversations with teachers and classmates.

Around the Nation

$1.5 Billion in Recovery Funds go to Afterschool
Hechinger Report: U.S. schools are on track to spend more than $1.5 billion of their federal pandemic recovery funds on after-school programs. But the research evidence for reaping academic or other social benefits from after-school programs isn’t strong. After-school programs might seem like a good idea to help students catch up because they give teachers extra time to cover material that students missed during remote schooling. But getting students to attend regularly is a chronic problem. High quality after-school programs sometimes produce reading or math gains for students who do show up, but many programs operate with poorly trained teachers and lessons that are disconnected from what students are learning in their regular classes.

How Skyrocketing Fuel Prices Are Hurting Schools
Education Week: Fuel prices across the globe have been rising for months, propelled in recent weeks by ripple effects from the war in Ukraine. The latest spikes are already straining school budgets and causing headaches at the pump for school district administrators, bus drivers, and parents. The national average cost of diesel fuel crossed the $5 mark this week, according to the federal U.S. Energy Information Administration. Experts believe those prices aren’t likely to drop anytime soon.

A School Created a Homeless Shelter in the Gym and it Paid off in the Classroom
Hechinger Report: Research shows that schools and communities can mitigate the effects of poverty by providing support to children and families to address basic needs such as housing instability. In San Francisco every night, a K-8 public school converts its gym into a shelter for local families experiencing homelessness. One of the program’s core components is to do more than shelter families. Walking through the door brings with it entry into a case management system that guides families through the complicated process of finding affordable housing. See related article: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Federal Funds to Help Thousands of Georgia’s Homeless Students.”

Family Engagement is More Important Than Ever. How K-12 Leaders are Responding
District Administration: One of the responses to the pandemic that will remain in the Chelsea Public School system, which is 87% Latino, is access to the bilingual family liaisons that the superintendent placed at each of the district’s schools over the last two years. The liaisons in the Boston-area district have helped families with emergencies, such as providing support after a house fire as well as assistance with day-to-day needs, such as serving as interpreters. The liaisons are now working with families to ease students’ transitions from elementary to middle school. This initiative reflects the ways district leaders across the country have ramped up family engagement efforts during the pandemic.

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Author: City Connects

City Connects is an innovative school-based system that revitalizes student support in schools. City Connects collaborates with teachers to identify the strengths and needs of every child. We then create a uniquely tailored set of intervention, prevention, and enrichment services located in the community designed to help each student learn and thrive.

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