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

June 26, 2013  Issue 3

Dear Friends:

Summer has arrived! Welcome to our latest issue of EdHealth, an online EdSource newsletter focusing on student wellness. 


Best regards,





Louis Freedberg

Executive Director


Student Mental Health:   

By Jane Meredith Adams
EdSource Today


Teachers should be trained on how to identify and respond to mental health problems they are likely to encounter among their students, a high level group of educators and mental health experts is recommending.  


A 35-member  Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup, convened in 2012 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, is hoping that its recommendations will gain traction this summer when the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing takes up in August a slew of reforms on various aspects of teacher preparation.


"Research indicates that teachers feel they lack the training needed for supporting children's mental health needs," the work group group said in a statement. The group cited a 2011 study in the journal School Psychology Quarterly that found that only 34 percent of teachers surveyed felt they had the necessary skills to identify and find help for students with mental health needs.

Depression-Related Feelings by Grade Level
Large numbers of students reported feeling so sad and hopeless for most days over two weeks or more that they stopped doing some usual activities. Click on image to see more data. Source: California Department of Education, California Healthy Kids Survey

"We feel this is a crying need in California credentialing programs," said David Kopperud, a consultant in the State Department of Education who chairs the work group. This is something school administrators and teachers run into frequently - depression, eating disorders, and other mental health issues - and yet they are not trained to handle situations like these." Read more on student mental health. 

School Climate:
New federal proposal would require schools to track anti-gay bullying

By Jane Meredith Adams
EdSource Today

For the first time, the federal education department is proposing that schools collect data about anti-gay bullying in its biennial survey of civil rights compliance, a move advocates said could improve the safety and mental health of gay, lesbian and transgender students and boost what educators call "school climate" -- a sense of safety and wellbeing for all students.


In an announcement posted last week in the Federal Register, the Department of Education proposed adding sexual orientation, as well as religious background, to the types of alleged student harassment schools will be required to report. Data are already collected about student harassment based on gender, race, national origin or disability, which are considered protected classes under federal law. Federal civil rights laws do not cover harassment based on sexual orientation. Read more on bullying.


More students felt unsafe at school because of sexual orientation and gender expression  than because of religion, gender, race, ethnicity, disability or other reasons. Source: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, National Climate Survey, 2011. 
More from EdSource Today

School air quality: 


Study: Ventilation linked to absences  


By Jane Meredith Adams 

EdSource Today 


California could significantly improve elementary school student attendance and health by increasing the amount of fresh air coming into classrooms, according to the largest U.S. study to date of ventilation rates in classrooms. Poor ventilation in classrooms is correlated with student absences due to illness, researchers found.  Read more  

School safety:

Bill would clarify role of school police, counselors

By Susan Frey
EdSource Today

Unlike most school safety legislation introduced after the Newtown shootings, which called for increased security measures and beefing up school police forces, a bill by one California assemblyman takes a different tack: It seeks to limit the police role on school campuses. Assembly Bill 549 would encourage school districts to clarify the roles of school police. Read more  



Two leaders in nursing in California and nationally argue that costs should not be the major determinants of whether non-medical school employees rather than licensed nurses should administer insulin to diabetic students in school.  
The state Supreme Court is considering a precedent-setting case to protect the right of schoolchildren with diabetes... Read more

Photo Spotlight: Social and Emotional Learning In Action
Capital heights kids
Aspire Capitol Heights Academy, a charter school in Sacramento, uses a social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that incorporates empathy and cooperation into academic instruction. Here students make a transition by taking a moment to touch each others' shoulders and signal they are ready for the next lesson.
 Photo by Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource Today.

EdHealth Extra: Other Voices  

Obesity as a disease: A first step to prevention?


Commentary by Sherry Pagoto, a psychologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, on the recent decision by the American Medical Society to recognize obesity as a disease.


While the definition of "disease" continues to be debated, the AMA's call to action is much needed given that access to non-surgical preventive care is virtually non- existent. Rates of physician counseling for obesity have declined as rates of obesity have risen, meaning physicians are doing less, not more, over time to combat the risks that obesity imparts on patients. Read more

By Salinas KCBV-TV

A gasoline storage facility that air pollution control officers say emits toxic contaminants into the air is planned to go in near a Salinas elementary school.


Valley Pacific Petroleum Services' ground work to put in a new storage facility is already under way; the group was required to announce its plans.   


Monterey Bay Air Pollution Control officer Richard Stedman says the exposure would be similar to what people experience when pumping gas. "There  

are risks associated with being next to a roadway, with other operations, filling your own gas for instance at a gas station," said Stedman. 

Read more 

New federal rules for school vending machines  


By Education Week


Long-awaited rules that regulate the fat, salt, sugar, and calories in snacks and vending machine foods sold in schools were finally released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday.   




All snacks and vending machine foods must be either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food, whole-grain or a combination food that includes at least a quarter cup of fruits or vegetables.


Any snack would be limited to 200 calories and no more than 200 milligrams of sodium. Entrees sold individually would be limited to 350 calories.

Read more 


California Legislation to Watch

School Mental Health: Assembly Bill 174 would create a grant program to fund school-based mental health services for students impacted by trauma. The bill has been amended to become a pilot program focused on Alameda County. Author: Rob Bonta, D-Oakland. Status: Scheduled to come before the Senate health committee on July 3.

Transgender Students: Assembly Bill 1266 would give transgender students the right to participate in school sports and use bathroom facilities that correspond with their expressed genders. Author: Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. Status: Passed the Assembly and the Senate education committee. Now heading for the Senate floor.
 Information You Can Use

Webinar: The connection between physical education and learning

"Enhanced P.E.: Making the Connection Between Physical Activity, Learning, Behavior & Health" will include a keynote address on "the neuroscience that supports the return on investment of enhancing P.E. in schools," according to the webinar host in Springfield, IL., the Illinois State Board of Education. Register here. Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 8 to 9 a.m, P.S.T. 
'Acceptance': Keynote about legendary school counselor

David Marcus, author of "Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges - and Find Themselves," will give the keynote address at the American School Counselor Association's 2013 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, June 30 to July 3, 2013. Parts of the conference will be available on a live webcast.
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