The Weekly Connect 6/6/22

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:

Schools can address the impact of gun violence

More states pass bills limiting transgender students’ participation on sports teams

Oklahoma is investing in school counselors

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Gun Violence Leaves a Lasting Imprint on Survivors. How Schools Can Help Students Recover
Education Week: Fear, grief, and trauma from a school shooting ripple out to the school community, and the effects can last for years. A Washington Post analysis found some 311,000 children have attended a school during a shooting since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Research suggests the effects of the trauma and the supports needed can change over time. That means any planning to help students, staff, and families recover may require a district- or community-wide approach, as children age into different grades and schools that may be less familiar with the trauma they’ve experienced.

How Much Time Should Schools Spend on Social-Emotional Learning?
Education Week: How much time should educators spend during the school day helping students develop healthy social and emotional skills? It’s an important question as school districts across the country invest more money in social-emotional learning programs and some communities face parent pushback against those efforts. Plus, local and state policies—as well as differing levels of sophistication in how social-emotional learning is integrated at the classroom level into academic subjects—make the question difficult to answer. In a national survey of district leaders, principals, and teachers across the country conducted by the EdWeek Research Center last year, about 85 percent said one hour should be the maximum amount of time devoted to social-emotional learning per day.

EL, High-Poverty Students Struggle to Access Appropriate Virtual Learning Workspaces
K-12 Dive: High-poverty students learning virtually during the 2020-21 school year were more likely to lack an appropriate workspace than their peers and also more likely to regularly fall behind academically, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report. The report also found English learners (ELs) more likely to struggle in accessing an appropriate place to work. EL students likewise faced more difficulties understanding lessons and completing assignments. Teachers surveyed shared that small, in-person group work and 1:1 check-ins were effective in helping EL students make academic progress.

Federal Special Ed. Funding Is Woefully Inequitable, New Studies Show
Education Week: President Biden promised during his presidential campaign to fully fund the federal government’s $38 billion in obligations to students with disabilities. But two new research papers say dumping more money into existing funding formulas only widens gaps that shortchange students with disabilities, students from low-income families, and students who live in large states. More than 7 million students, or roughly 15 percent of the nation’s K-12 population, currently qualify for special education services. While that population has increased and costs of services have soared in recent years, federal funding for those services has stayed largely flat in the past two decades.


Mental Health, Community Schools Top of Mind in FY 23 House Hearing
K-12 Dive: U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona promoted strong school-based mental health supports and expansion of community schools during a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee on Capitol Hill. The hearing’s intent was to discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s priorities and proposed FY 2023 budget, but lawmakers raised a variety of issues, including support for schools, in the wake of this week’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Community schools that have student and family resources — such as education, health and housing services — in addition to increased funds for Title I, can be long-term solutions for reengaging students, partnering with parents and helping high poverty areas, Cardona said. He added that mental health and trauma services in schools remain crucial programs as students recover from the pandemic.

More States Pass Bills Restricting Transgender Students on Sports Teams
K-12 Dive: More states — including South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Indiana — are advancing legislation that would prohibit transgender students from participating on sports teams or using school facilities like bathrooms that align with their gender identities. In May, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, signed into law a bill prohibiting transgender students from participating on women’s athletic teams. Last week, Louisiana legislators sent their version of such a bill to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who vetoed a previous proposal. Last week, Indiana’s legislature overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a bill that will prohibit transgender girls or women from playing on female sports teams.

Around the Nation

Oklahoma Bets on School Counseling Corps to Address ‘Mental Health Deserts’
The 74 Million: The Oklahoma Counseling Corps is a new initiative designed to increase the number of mental health professionals in Oklahoma schools. The new grant program aims to fill a void in a state where the counselor-to-student ratio far exceeds the 1-to-250 goal set by the American School Counselor Association. The average school counselor in the state is responsible for almost 400 students. Caseloads in some states are even larger — as high as 716 students in Arizona and 665 in Illinois. The state put $35 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward hiring 300 counselors and other mental health professionals, with 181 districts matching it with another $35 million.

Dallas Sees Positive Results in First Year of Discipline Reform
K-12 Dive: Dallas Independent School District leaders say a bold approach to reforming discipline practices by eliminating most traditional in-school and out-of-school suspensions is showing promising results in its first year of implementation. As an alternative to suspensions, Reset Centers opened last August at 60 of the district’s comprehensive middle and high schools to give students time to de-escalate and discuss their behaviors with trained staff and other students. During the 2020-21 school year, the 145,000-student district recorded 4,800 out-of-school suspensions and 1,100 in-school suspensions. This school year, the first year of discipline reform, there have been 1,168 referrals to Reset Centers, with about 100 students having a second referral.

Schools Seek to Strengthen Work-Based Learning Opportunities
K-12 Dive: Interest in middle and high school work-based learning programs is growing at the state and local levels. These programs enable students to have more opportunities to learn workplace skills and gain exposure to careers before high school graduation, say educators and advocates. Incentivizing the participation of students and employers in work-based learning programs, such as internships and apprenticeships, is one of the most common approaches to this growing movement. Other activities include setting policies and practices around opportunities, sharing evidence-based practices, securing funding and managing logistics, experts say.

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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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