The Weekly Connect 9/26/22

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:

Pandemic disturbances drive a 9% decline in public school enrollment.

More at-risk children and families need the services provided by home visits

Report raises concerns about low expectations for students with disabilities.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

How Pandemic-Related Disturbances Drove a 9% Decline in Public School Enrollment
District Administration: According to research released this week by Tyton Partners, overall public school enrollment dropped nearly 10% between 2021 and 2022. Researchers point to lingering enrollment challenges that existed even before the pandemic: increased dropout rates, more students aging out of public school than entering, and deferments, which occur as families hold their children back and which researchers argue have increased over the pandemic. These factors contribute to an estimated decline in 300,000 students from 2021-2022, but do not account for the full 10% drop in enrollment. According to the report, most students exited their district public schools to enroll in charter schools and private schools or pursue homeschooling as a result of their experiences during the pandemic. 


Cardona Clarifies Funding Priorities for Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
K-12 Dive: In a recent letter sent to state education leaders, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona clarified how states distributing funds from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — meant to curb gun violence in schools — should identify high-need districts. Priority for funding should go to districts with high rates of poverty and one of the following: 1) a high student-to-mental-health-professional ratio 2) high rates of chronic absenteeism, exclusionary discipline and/or referrals to the juvenile justice system, bullying/harassment, community and school violence, or substance abuse 3) students who recently experienced a natural disaster or traumatic event, and 4) poverty measures should take into account both numbers and percentages of students, the Education Department said. 

Is Federal Funding for Immigrant Students Falling Short?
Education Week: Year after year, more immigrant students have been enrolling in U.S. schools after arriving from Latin America, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and elsewhere—all with needs that go beyond instructional support. That’s why researchers and advocates want to improve the federal funding mechanism to better serve all English-learners’ academic and social-emotional needs emerging out of the pandemic, particularly in districts with an influx of immigrant children and youth. A new report from the Next 100—a startup initiative out of The Century Foundation—outlines how the current federal funding model for supporting immigrant students limits school districts’ abilities to sustain programming these students and their families rely on.

More At-Risk Children and Families Need Voluntary Home Visits
K-12 Dive: Voluntary home visiting programs for young children and their families yield benefits like school readiness, crime prevention, and economic independence for families, but only 9% of the highest-priority families receive services when federal, state, and local resources are combined, according to a recently released report. Council For A Strong America released the report ahead of a Sept. 30 congressional deadline to extend federal funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, or MIECHV, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In FY 2020, nearly 300,000 families nationally received home visiting services, of which 71,000 — or about 2% of the highest-priority families — were served through MIECHV-funded programs. The report estimates that approximately 3.4 million highest-priority families nationally could benefit from home visiting.

Around the Nation

How States are Using ESSER Funds to Boost SEL and Well-being in Schools
K-12 Dive: State education agencies have directed about $1 billion of federal COVID-19 emergency funding toward initiatives on student and staff well-being, including through programs to improve mental health, social-emotional support, school nutrition and wraparound services for students, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers’ COVID Relief Data Project. Examples of these state wellbeing initiatives include Vermont’s PATH Forward program to provide targeted wellness supports for educators and Iowa’s partnership with a university for professional development opportunities. 

Report Raises Concern About Low Expectations for Students with Disabilities
K-12 Dive: State special education offices should avoid setting low expectations for students with disabilities in the wake of disrupted learning and services during the pandemic, warns The Advocacy Institute in a report. The nonprofit organization examined State Performance Plans’ Indicator 3B, which measures proficiency levels for children with individualized education programs on state assessments in reading and math for grades 4, 8, and high school. State special education offices submitted their six-year performance plans to the U.S. Department of Education earlier this year with improvement targets for proficiency on state assessments. Some state plans only show targets with minimal improvements, while others have more ambitious goals, The Advocacy Institute report said.

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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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