The Weekly Connect 1.23.23

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:

Telemedicine services can help keep kids stay in class. 

Support grows for universal pre-K programs

Greenville, S.C., is introducing students to career education in elementary school

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Telemedicine Could Help Keep Kids in Class
Education Week: Schools’ use of telehealth services expanded during the pandemic, and emerging research suggests it could help reduce chronic absenteeism. Researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina tracked student absenteeism in three rural school districts in North Carolina as the Center for Rural Health Innovation rolled out 22 school-based telehealth clinics serving students from 2011-12 to 2017-18. Through the clinics, school nurses partnered with physicians via live video appointments to help students with physical and mental health issues. Before implementing telehealth clinics, the schools chosen for the program had higher rates of chronic absenteeism than demographically matched schools. After the intervention, students in grades 3-8 who had access to telemedicine at school missed on average 10 percent fewer days of school (.8 days in a typical school year) and were 29 percent less likely to become chronically absent than before the schools implemented telehealth.

Confidence Key to Bridging Math Learning Gaps
K-12 Dive: Though a pandemic learning gap remains for middle school students in math, experts say driving more homework and memorization will not help get pupils back to pre-pandemic achievement levels. Instead, educators should focus on helping students feel more confident in their math skills, said Kevin Dykema, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Rather than focusing on how long it will take to close gaps in learning, energy should be shifted to helping students build their motivation to learn. That focus should extend into high school, where Dykema recommends educators partner with their middle school peers to learn about students’ strengths as well as deficits as pupils advance to high school.

Students of Color Disproportionately Suffer From Police Assaults at School, Says Report
Education Week: As the presence of police in schools continues to be debated, a new analysis of police assaults, including physical violence and sexual assault, from 2011 to 2021 adds to the mounting evidence that the presence of law enforcement negatively impacts students of color disproportionately. Conducted by the Advancement Project, a nonprofit advocacy group working toward eliminating police from public schools, the report looked at 285 incidents of police assault to find troubling trends about the physical safety of Black and Latinx students in districts with police officers or school resource officers working on school campuses. The incidents were drawn from published accounts in local, state, or national media, which means assaults not reported in the news did not make the list.

Pandemic Seriously Altered Teens’ Relationships, Pew Survey Finds
The 74 Million: A new poll released by the Pew Research Center revealed that both teenagers and their parents believe that the COVID-19 experience has substantially altered the way students relate to their families, friends, and peers at school. Nearly half of all adolescents surveyed said they felt closer to their parents after two years of disrupted learning, but a sizable group grew more distant from classmates and teachers than they were in February 2020. A strong majority also said they wished school would be delivered fully in person from now on. The report pointed to trends that align with other public opinion data released over the last two years: A plurality of parents said they were “very satisfied” with the way schools handled online learning, but a large minority were also concerned their children would fall behind academically. Teenage respondents generally did not share that concern but were also more likely to describe themselves as unhappy with virtual instruction at their school.

Policy

Charter School Funding Remains Steady for Second Year Under Biden
K-12 Dive: Charter school funding has so far remained stable under the Biden administration, as requested by President Joe Biden and approved by Congress, despite uncertainty about the then-incoming president’s support for charter schools. During Biden’s term, the U.S. Department of Education has requested and received $440 million from Congress for the Charter School Program grant every fiscal year. That request is in line with the expanded federal funding under former President Donald Trump, which steadily increased from $342 million in 2017 to $440 million by 2020. The Biden administration’s investment in the program, mirroring Trump’s final funding level, answers a longstanding question on what the administration’s footprint would mean for a traditionally divisive issue in public education.

Support for Universal Pre-K Grows as More States Jump on Board
Education Week: The number of states with universal pre-K can be hard to determine because it largely depends on how one defines “universal.” The National Institute of Early Education Research states that universal pre-K programs should be offered to all students regardless of location or income status, require all school districts in the state to offer pre-K, and have funding mechanisms to support the enrollment of all students in pre-K programs. While some states claim to offer universal pre-K, funding and enrollment caps prevent them from providing it to all students. Other states that haven’t developed a specific universal pre-K program have still managed to enroll a significant portion of the 4-year-old population into such programs. In general, states are nearing universal status when they have enrolled at least 70 percent of the population of 4-year-olds in prekindergarten. As of 2021, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia achieved that benchmark, according to the NIEER’s 2021 State of Preschool Report, the most recent report of its kind.

Around the Nation

What Happened When a City Embraced Career Education
Hechinger Report: Across the country, schools have shifted toward career-focused education in recent years. For example, the Greenville school district in South Carolina is now introducing the idea of a career path to students in elementary school and giving students the option to follow those programs to middle and high schools, hoping by eighth grade that they will have a better understanding of what they want to do after high school and what it will take to get there. Each elementary school focuses on a specific area — engineering, math, science, the arts, and more. The district allows students to attend schools outside of their attendance zones as long as space is available, which means students can continue to follow their chosen career pathway at a middle school with corresponding programs. In high school, students are expected to complete a career cluster by taking several courses in a subject area.

More Schools Requiring ‘Psych Clearances’ For Kids To Stay In Class
Disability Scoop: A growing number of New Jersey schools are requiring students to get mental health evaluations in order to return to class after discipline incidents. Although psychiatric evaluations have been required in the past for students who showed signs they were suicidal or in a mental health crisis, parents and advocates say more schools began requiring the assessments after classes resumed after the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, students are being told to get evaluations after getting in fights or making threatening statements. Some advocates say school officials have begun relying on psychiatric clearances as a way to quickly remove the most difficult special education and general education students from their classrooms. Others say schools have grown more cautious in the wake of recent school shootings and want more students who may be violent screened by professionals.

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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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