The Weekly Connect 5/22/23

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:

Schools can use social media best practices to promote social connections.

Illinois becomes the first state to pass a law requiring public schools to integrate Asian American history into the curriculum

A grant program in Pennsylvania supports curriculum that boosts disability awareness

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

These 5 Best Practices Can Help Schools Make The Most Of Social Media
K-12 Dive: There is increasing attention paid to the power of social media in facilitating connections between people in the school context. A premise behind the educational use of social media is that communication is so important in schools, and the better the communication between the parents and the school, generally, the better the outcomes for the students. However, given the potential risk and negative impacts of social media, strategically utilizing and incorporating this technology is critical. Here are five, suggested best practices that can help schools make the most of social media: 1) leverage content to reflect schools’ core values and be aimed at specific goals, 2) choose platforms based on the audience, 3) be consistent and accurate, 4) pay attention to analytics, and 5) use social media to highlight positives. 

Covid Learning Loss Driven More By School And Community Factors Than Household Ones, Research Finds
Chalkbeat: A recently released report suggests that the pandemic-related learning loss was caused more by factors in students’ communities and school districts than in their homes. The finding is based on reading and math scores from state and federal tests for students in third to eighth grade. Across 7,800 school districts in 40 states, researchers found that students within the same district seemed to experience similar academic setbacks, regardless of their background (e.g., racial, ethnicity, family income). The report also points out that learning loss can persist for years without major interventions beyond normal instruction, which highlights the need for more intensive academic recovery efforts in some places.

4 Ways to Connect With Students as the Pandemic Eases
Edutopia: As schools enter the post-pandemic phase, teachers are trying to find new ways to help students build strong relationships. Four recommended strategies to adjust to the “new normal” and to meet kids where they are include: 1) understanding how students have changed since the pandemic in aspects such as struggles with social skills, lack of organization, and being less willing to take risks and to brainstorm solutions and implement them in the classroom, 2) bending rules and routines at times to accommodate the changes in student behavior caused by the pandemic as a means of finding solutions that work for the students while still maintaining some level of responsibility and accountability, 3) making connections with students a clear focus, and 4) avoiding the tendency to dwell on the past and instead focus on the present.


Parents Are Suing Schools Over Pronoun Policies. Here’s What You Need to Know
Education Week: In six U.S. states, parents have filed lawsuits against school districts over policies intended to support transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary students. The challenge is centered on students’ rights to privacy when making a gender transition or choosing to use a name or pronoun at school. The parents bringing suits have claimed their 14th Amendment right to direct the upbringing of their children has been violated, while school districts have argued that they are required to protect students’ rights to privacy. LGBTQIA+ advocates have upheld the importance of these policies in supporting transgender youth and have voiced concern that these suits are part of a national effort to restrict their access to education. Parents have yet to win any of the legal arguments, and none of the school districts have modified their policies in response to the legal actions. 

What Does The End Of Title 42 Mean For Schools?
K-12 Dive: The end of Title 42 raises questions about how U.S. schools will be impacted. During COVID-19, Title 42 was implemented to slow the arrival of migrants into the U.S. Across the nation, communities have been anticipating the needs of an increased number of asylum seekers. The U.S. Department of Education is issuing guidance for supporting newcomer students, and some districts have launched health and housing initiatives to support families seeking asylum. El Paso Independent School District is coordinating with local police to receive newcomer students. Civil rights organizations are advocating for compassion and due process rights for these youth and families fleeing violence, poverty, and other threats as newcomers arrive in states across the U.S. See also: “Seven school gyms are housing migrants or could soon. Parents and pols are pushing back.”

The Movement To Teach AAPI History In Public Schools Is Growing—Here’s The Impact, From Educators To Students
CNBC: Illinois became the first state to pass a law requiring public schools to integrate Asian American history into the curriculum. In the 2022-2023 year, teachers were required to include lessons about the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans and the contributions of Japanese American soldiers during World War II. Expert teachers collaborated with an organization called Asian Americans Advancing Justice to develop resources to support the process. Advocates uphold the importance of all children seeing themselves reflected in the curriculum they experience in school. At least three other states have passed a similar law with support from parents, teachers, and students.

Around the Nation

Pennsylvania launches grant program for disability awareness curriculum
K-12 Dive: Pennsylvania has launched a grant program to introduce disability-focused curricula in K-12 schools. The program is expected to launch in the 2023-2024 year and offers up to $30,000 across three years to schools launching curricula that promote the achievements of people with disabilities in politics, the economy, and society. Unlike similar programs, this initiative targets K-12, emphasizing disability awareness from kindergarten through graduation from high school. Curriculum experts are encouraging the use of media with disabled characters and a “reframing” of the word disability to create a foundation for inclusive interactions within classrooms and communities. Inclusion advocates also highlight the role that picture books can have in forging inclusion of people of all abilities with early childhood students. Pennsylvania hopes that the grant program will impact the climate and culture of local schools and foster a more inclusive society overall.

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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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