The Weekly Connect 5/16/22

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:

Disruptive kindergarteners are likely to be bullied when they get to elementary school. Interventions can help. 

A White House program will offer low-cost internet access to eligible families. 

Students need summer learning programs that don’t feel like school. 

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Disruptive Kindergartners are Likely to be Bullied Later in Elementary School
The Conversation: Kindergartners who act out, disrupt classrooms, get angry and argue with their teachers are especially likely to be bullied once they reach third, fourth, and fifth grade, research has found. Schoolchildren who are frequently bullied are likely to later be depressed, anxious and suicidal as well as to be unemployed, impoverished and abusing substances. These risks are as large as those associated with being placed in foster care or experiencing maltreatment. Early identification can help support those children who are being bullied and so limit the potential damage. Screening and prevention efforts are more effective when delivered while children are still young. Mental health supports may be needed for those being frequently bullied.

​​Is Recess a Right or a Privilege?
Hechinger Report: Amid long, structured school days filled with academic demands, recess serves as a critical outlet and break for kids. But many children in elementary schools nationwide have all or part of their recess revoked for infractions such as failing to finish their work, talking out of turn or not following directions. This common punishment occurs even though the practice flies in the face of considerable research supporting the importance of free play for young children. “Play is how kids learn. It’s their social time, emotional time, physical activity time, time to connect with other children, their time to be imaginative,” said Rebecca London, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. When recess is withheld, “it’s not only that they aren’t able to enjoy the time, they’re also being harmed by taking away this opportunity for important child development.”


Ed Department Begins Review of Often Misunderstood Section 504 Rules
K-12 Dive: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is requesting public comments regarding general feedback on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for students with disabilities in K-12 and higher education institutions. The comments will inform a proposal to amend these regulations, which would then go through another round of public input before being finalized by the Education Department. These regulations have remained largely unchanged for 45 years. The Education Department says this review aligns with President Joe Biden’s Unity Agenda, which includes reforms for mental health support in elementary and secondary schools and colleges.

School Accountability Is Restarting After a Two-Year Pause. Here’s What That Means
Education Week: For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, states did not have to use the results of standardized tests to identify schools needing help. Now, the U.S. Department of Education is requiring states to identify three groups of schools in the fall for assistance, based on this spring’s testing results. The first group is composed of the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, and high schools in which a third of students aren’t graduating. These “comprehensive support and intervention” or CSI schools receive the most help. States will also have to identify two other groups of schools: those in which only particular groups of students (like English-language learners or students with disabilities) repeatedly fall behind and those in which one of these subgroups performs as poorly as students in the lowest-performing schools.

White House Eyes Digital Divide With Discount for Low-income Families
K-12 Dive: In a new bid to close the digital divide, families whose children get free or reduced-price school meals will be among those qualifying for high-speed internet subsidies under a program announced by the Biden administration. The White House estimates almost 40% of American households will be eligible for subsidies lowering internet costs to no more than $30 a month under the administration’s $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program. This is possible through secured commitments from 20 internet service providers promising to lower prices or raise internet speeds for eligible households. Federal agencies will begin to reach out to households that qualify for ACP based on their income or participation in federal programs, such as free or reduced-price school meals, Pell Grants, Medicaid, and others.

Reducing Exclusionary Discipline Practices in Early Childhood Education
New America: While research shows that exclusionary discipline practices in the early years are ineffective and developmentally inappropriate, young children continue to be suspended and expelled at high rates. An increasing number of states have taken steps to ensure that young children are not removed from programs due to their behavior. Illinois and Colorado are limiting the use of these exclusionary discipline practices and providing supports to educators to equip them to better serve the children in their programs. The issue of exclusionary discipline practices has long been a problem, but it has been made more urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic as child and adult well-being have suffered.

Around the Nation

Students Need Summer Learning That Doesn’t Feel Like School
EdSurge: With summer almost here, district and school teams are making final plans about what to do with students over the break. According to the Center for Reinventing Public Education, more than half of districts plan to use federal recovery dollars to support summer programming. Beyond learning loss, these decision-makers must consider the longer-term recovery needs and realities of students and staff. For many, last summer focused on lost learning; this summer should focus on making sure kids are ready and well when next year starts. Some of the most innovative and beloved summer learning programs are planning to prioritize giving kids learning options that (1) don’t feel like school, (2) focus on healthy relationships, (3) provide voice and choice, (4) are joyful and fun, (5) are able to re-energize and replenish.

As Absenteeism Skyrockets, Schools Get Creative About Luring Back Lost Students
The 74 Million: In some districts, chronic absenteeism far exceeds the 10% a year that typically defines the problem. In March, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released data showing that over a million teachers — nearly half — had at least one student during the 2020-21 school year who never showed up for class. Some educators say they haven’t seen any improvement since then. Schools are under pressure to reduce chronic absenteeism because most states track it for federal accountability purposes. The issue has fueled creative approaches to reminding parents of the importance of keeping their children in school. For example, staff members from Metro Nashville Public Schools recently gathered at a local church as part of their newest strategy, offering information on COVID vaccines, housing, and transportation assistance in hopes of pinpointing the reasons children miss school.

Some States Back Away From a Major Student Well-Being Survey. Why, and What It Could Mean
Education Week: As schools face a student mental health crisis, some experts fear that growing resistance to collecting data about child well-being could jeopardize key efforts to protect kids. Florida officials, for example, notified the CDC in March that the state would no longer administer an anonymous, voluntary, biennial survey centered on issues of child well-being. The concerns come as schools around the country face scrutiny over a variety of locally administered student surveys on subjects like school climate and social-emotional learning. Parents have objected to questions, even anonymous ones, about students’ sexual orientation, and some conservative political groups argue that schools’ efforts around child well-being may teach children values that differ from their parents.

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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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