The Weekly Connect 3/27/23

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:

Less sleep during the pandemic linked to students’ poor mental health and to more difficulty with schoolwork. 

States are spending federal Covid relief funds on accelerated and extended learning time, such as tutoring and after-school programming. 

Even in the shadow of debates about book banning and LGBTQ rights, schools can do more to promote positive engagements with families.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

CDC: Poor Sleep During COVID-19 Linked to Greater Difficulty Doing Schoolwork
K-12 Dive: Over three-quarters of high school students were not getting enough sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shorter sleep times were linked to poor mental health and difficulty doing schoolwork, according to a nationally representative survey of 7,705 high school students released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students who slept less than 7 hours on an average school night were more likely to report poor mental health and greater difficulty doing schoolwork during the pandemic than before. Poor mental health was reported by over a third of the students (37%), and students who experienced poor mental health had a 17% higher chance of finding schoolwork more difficult. A quarter of students (25.2%) who met sleep recommendations reported poor mental health, compared to about half (49%) who slept 5 hours or less. See related article: Education Week “One Way to Set Students Up for Success: Let Them Sleep.” 

Study: Pandemic-Related Impact on Family Finances Worsened Child Mental Health
Healio: For the first time, a study, published in JAMA Network Open, found a link between the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on family finances and children’s mental health. Specifically, it found that financial disruptions during the pandemic worsened children’s stress, sadness, and worries related to COVID-19, with no similar impact seen from school closures. Ultimately, on average, children whose families experienced financial disruptions during the pandemic experienced a 205.2% increase in perceived stress and a 112.1% increase in sadness. Researchers hope the study will encourage primary care providers and pediatricians to ask about a child’s social needs when discussing their mental health.


Supreme Court Rules Against District In Perez V. Sturgis Public Schools Special Ed Case
K-12 Dive: In a rare unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that individuals who have entered into a settlement resolving their Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) claims can also pursue monetary damages against school districts under the Americans with Disabilities Act without exhausting the administrative process under IDEA. The decision reverses one from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The family of Perez, a deaf student who attended Michigan’s Sturgis Public School District, originally filed the case saying the district misled them about their child’s ability to earn a high school diploma. 

Here’s How 4 States Spent Their ESSER Money
Education Week: According to the Council of Chief State School Officers, state education agencies have spent most of their COVID-19 relief funding on accelerated and extended learning time, such as tutoring and after-school programming. The council—representing states’ top education leaders—spent the third day of its 2023 legislative conference in Washington highlighting how states have spent the federal funds that Congress allocated to help schools navigate the pandemic. While states have dedicated most of their funding to tutoring and after-school programs, some have been more creative, building programs that support mental health, giving students a voice in how money is used, and greatly expanding academic support. 

Around the Nation

Hundreds Of LAUSD Schools Shut Down As Workers At Nation’s 2nd-Largest District Strike
USA Today: The nation’s second-largest school district shut its doors to 422,000 students after more than 60,000 Los Angeles Unified School District employees – including school staff and teachers – made good on their promise to strike in response to a breakdown in contract negotiations. The strike, which is expected to last as long as three days, left parents scrambling to find child care, meals, and substitute learning arrangements. SEIU Local 99, representing 30,000 school employees, wants the district to tap into its billions in reserves to provide a 30% raise and a $2-an-hour equity wage increase. See related article: New York Times “Los Angeles Schools Strike: Classes Called Off for 420,000 Students.” 

How School Districts and Families Can Better Engage With Each Other
Education Week: Parents and schools locked in pitched conflicts—over curriculum, book bans, and policies that support LGBTQ students and staff—has been a dominant storyline for two years. But the reality of school-family dynamics in many districts is not one of constant combat over highly politicized issues. That said, districts and schools often struggle to foster meaningful engagement with the families of the students they serve. There are several ways that school districts can build effective relationships with parents and families. A few more intensive strategies that districts can implement are inviting families to participate in creating district policies before a decision is made or providing spaces for parents to build community with each other. Additionally, providing translation services or simply inviting parents to board meetings can go a long way toward building positive family engagement.

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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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