An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment. 

May 21, 2013 -- Issue 2

Dear Friends:

Welcome to our next issue of EdHealth, an online EdSource newsletter focusing on student wellness. Our first issue prompted a terrific number of subscription requests. 


If you've already signed up for the EdHealth newsletter, thank you. If not, please let us know if you would like to receive the newsletter by clicking here to subscribe. We anticipate producing the newsletter no more than twice a month and you may cancel your free subscription at any time.  


Promoting student wellness -- including both physical and mental health -- has for years been a fixture on college campuses, but much less so in K-12 schools, despite research showing that wellness has a direct impact on a child's ability to learn at optimal levels.


In our work, we will take a broad look at various aspects of student wellness  -- from more traditional health issues, such as school nutrition, to those that contribute to a student's emotional well being, including positive school discipline policies and summer programs that strengthen students' relationships with their peers. 


And please send us your ideas for issues we should be covering!



Best regards,






Louis Freedberg

Executive Director


Promoting a Positive School Climate: 

Social and emotional learning gaining new focus under Common Core
Morning Meeting at Capitol Heights includes how to persevere in solving math problems. Photo: Jane Meredith Adams


By Jane Meredith Adams

EdSource Today


SACRAMENTO - School is nothing if not an intensely social experience, which is why teacher Michelle Flores posed this question to 24 third graders at Aspire Capitol Heights Academy: "When someone makes a mistake, what do we say?"


"That's cool," the third graders responded in unison. "We are experts at making mistakes," said Flores, who incorporates social and emotional instruction, including the idea that making a mistake is not cause for embarrassment, into academics at the charter school using an approach called Responsive Classroom. 


As California teachers begin to strategize about how to meet the Common Core standards, some educators say that explicit instruction in social and emotional competence - teaching students how to regulate their emotions, problem-solve, and disagree respectfully, among other abilities - should be a key part of the equation. Social/emotional skills continued
More reports from EdSource Today
Students at Sacramento's summer program meet at a community garden. Credit: Partnership for Children and Youth.

Marketing Smoking: 


Tobacco use a marker of academic trouble  


By Jane Meredith Adams

EdSource Today 


Despite decades of efforts to keep the tobacco industry away from children, tobacco companies are successfully promoting their products to 9 out of 10 middle and high school students in the U.S., says a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control.


What's more, the dramatic decline in tobacco use among California high school students appears to have flattened out, a troubling development both for health reasons and because tobacco use is a strong indicator of failure to graduate high school on time, according to recent research. Teen smoking continued   

Targeting Suspensions:

District ends
'willful defiance' suspension

By Susan Frey
EdSource Today

Los Angeles Unified is the first district in the state to stop suspending students for "willful defiance" - a subjective category that accounts for 54 percent of suspensions and a quarter of all expulsions across the state.


The school board voted 5-2 to ban suspensions for defiance. The vote is a victory for civil rights groups who have been working to change the "zero tolerance" approach to discipline in favor of alternatives such as referring students to counseling or contacting parents to determine the root cause of the misbehavior.


Willful defiance continued



Positive Connections:

'Soft skills' in summer  camp boost learning

By John Fensterwald
EdSource Today 
Summer enrichment programs that emphasize developing 'soft skills' - including strengthening peer relationships, ties with adults and an ability to stick with a task - improve vocabulary and reading, according to an evaluation of the Partnership for Children and Youth's Summer Matters initiatives in Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

The results were surprising, said Katie Brackenridge, senior director for Out of School Time Initiatives for the Partnership, because the literacy component wasn't tied to a curriculum.

 Summer Matters continued

Reports from Other Sources 

Open-campus policies eat away at school nutrition  


Source: Center for Investigative Reporting   


At lunchtime, hundreds of Berkeley High School students rush off campus, leaving behind healthy meals served in the cafeteria. Many of them head to Bongo Burger, Top Dog and other joints selling high-fat, high-sugar alternatives.


Six miles away at Oakland High School, the cafeteria is mobbed. There are not enough seats for everyone. Lunch continued 




Nearly 2 of 3 children exposed to violence, crime and abuse

Source: Ed Week/Rules for Engagement

The evidence is mounting that children's exposure to violence, crime, and abuse can have serious consequences on their development, lead to the development of problem behaviors, and cause physical and mental health problems.  


Despite the consequences, a large portion of American children are exposed to violence and assaults. 

Youth exposure continued 




Poverty hurts children: poor health, poor academic outcomes

Source: Academic Pediatric Association

One in five children lives below the federal poverty level in the United States and almost one in two are poor or near poor.


Children growing up in poverty have poorer
educational outcomes with poor academic achieve-
ment and lower rates of high school graduation; and they have less positive social and emotional development. Child poverty continued


Data Update

As many as 1 in 5 children experience a "mental disorder," says CDC

New data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that between 13 and 20 percent of children living in the U.S. experience a mental disorder in a given year,  

according to the report "Mental Health Surveillance Among Children - United States, 2005-2011." Data from 1994 to 2011 finds the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (6.8 percent) was the most prevalent parent-reported current diagnosis among children aged 3-17 years, followed by behavioral or conduct problems (3.5 percent), anxiety (3 percent), depression (2.1 percent), autism spectrum disorders (1.1 percent), and Tourette syndrome (0.2 percent among children aged 6-17 years), according to the report.


Suicide, which can result from the interaction of mental disorders and other factors, was the second leading cause of death among children aged 12-17 years in 2010.


Approximately 8 percent of adolescents aged 12-17 years reported 14 or more "mentally unhealthy" days in the past month. Mental health data continued

California Legislation to Watch
Nutrition: Senate Bill 622 would tax sweetened beverages such as soda and energy drinks a penny per ounce in what its authors say is an effort to help stem the epidemic of childhood obesity. Authors: Senators William Monning, D-Monterey, and Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord. Status: Passed in the Senate committee on governance and finance. Referred to the appropriations committee suspense file because of fiscal costs. Consideration by appropriations committee on May 23 regarding funding for implementation of the bill.

Groundwater. Assembly Bill 69 would create a fund to provide access to safe drinking water for communities with pervasive nitrate-contaminated groundwater. Author: Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno. Status: Passed the Assembly and ordered to the Senate committee on environmental quality.
Upcoming events and webinars

What's next in school-based health care for students

Giving vaccinations, treating asthma, cleaning teeth, and providing mental health care -- it's all happening at school health centers. "Redefining health for kids and teens" is the theme for the 2013 National School-Based Health Care Convention in Washington, DC. from June 23-26, 2013. Learn more. 



Reducing firearm violence among children

This webinar, co-sponsored by the Children's Safety Network and the Network for Public Health Law, will focus on law and policy issues in reducing firearm violence among children and teens. Register here.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 11 a.m. to 12 noon, P.T. 

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