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


Aug. 26, 2013 Issue 6

Dear Friends:

Welcome to our latest issue of EdHealth!


Please be sure to contact Jane Adams, our student wellness reporter, about any student wellness issues you think deserve greater coverage. And if you have not yet subscribed to EdHealth, please click here


Best regards,





Louis Freedberg

Executive Director


School Safety

By Jane Meredith Adams

EdSource Today


Responding to concerns that schools should do more to stop bullying, a new state audit found that most schools do not track whether their anti-bullying programs have made campuses any safer and that schools are inconsistent in how they record and resolve bullying incidents.


Oversight and guidance from the California Department of Education has been insufficient, the audit said, noting the department went four years without noticing that it was not monitoring schools to ensure they were addressing student complaints, as required by law. At the same time, funding has been cut for statewide surveys on student safety, making it more difficult to determine students' experiences with bullying. Read more.   

Healthy Students
By Jane Meredith Adams
EdSource Today

In a move that affects millions of California students who rely on Medi-Cal for dental services, reimbursement rates for dentists who care for low-income children will be cut, the Department of Health Care Services announced. Dental disease has emerged as a key factor in depressing school attendance rates and academic performance among low-income students. Read more.  



By Jane Meredith Adams 
EdSource Today   

Schools with diabetic students - that would be nearly every public school in California - received a mandate from the state Supreme Court to provide students with the insulin shots they are entitled to under the Americans with Disabilities Act, regardless of whether a nurse is on campus. The court found that state law permits "trained, unlicensed personnel" to administer the shots. Read more.

By Susan Frey
EdSource Today

A federal class action lawsuit filed by juvenile justice advocates alleges that Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall officials have kept teenagers with disabilities in solitary confinement for up to 100 days and have denied them legally required special education services. About a third of all students in the county's Juvenile Hall are estimated to have disabilities.   

Read more.    



Healthy Schools

By John Fensterwald
EdSource Today

The eight California school districts that recently received a waiver from onerous provisions of the No Child Left Behind law have proposed to include "social and emotional" factors in its measures of school achievement. The eight districts are piloting the inclusion in its assessments such factors as rates of chronic absenteeism, suspensions and expulsions, as well as difficult-to-quantify measures of grit and determination that are predictive of success in college or work. Read more.

By John Fensterwald
EdSource Today

A statewide survey from EdSource has found that the number of counselors in California's largest school districts has continued to decline, at the same time that the number of children in poverty served in those districts has increased. In the new report "Recovering from the Recession: Pressures Ease on California's Largest Districts, but Stresses Remain," EdSource found signs that districts were rebounding as well as areas of further concern.



New research: Health policies, lead poisoning and school climate

CDC: More schools adopt health policies for soda, exercise, tobacco

More school districts nationwide have adopted policies to prohibit junk food sales, ban tobacco during school events and require physical education classes in elementary levels, says the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study by the Centers for Disease Control. Read more.

Is lead poisoning tied to racial differences in suspension rates?

Toddlers with elevated levels of lead poisoning were three times as likely to be suspended in fourth grade as other children, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The study said the effect of lead poisoning may contribute to the racial discipline gap. Read more.
Report: Drop-out rates linked to negative school climate

Curriculum and teacher quality -- key issues in education reform -- need to be considered in the context of school climate, often defined as how connected and engaged students feel at school, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Read more.
Photo Op:  The value of a nonjudgmental listener

No criticism while I'm learning, please!
Lily Slater, 6, keeps up her reading skills during the summer by reading aloud to Sugar, a therapy dog trained to be quiet, at a Paws for Reading event at the Oakland Public Library. Reading to a dog, a practice some public libraries are embracing, allows children to practice skills without worrying about criticism. Research has found that elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol impair the brain's ability to regulate emotion and access memory. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource Today   

Webinar: Root causes of chronic student absences include student health and school engagement

A webinar from WestEd, the California Department of Education and Attendance Works will showcase examples of schools, juvenile justice, law enforcement, and mental health agencies working together to help children get to school. WestEd writes that high levels of chronic absence can be a sign that families and students face significant health, social, and economic challenges. Tuesday, August 27, 2013; 1:30-3 p.m., PT. Register here.


California Student Health Legislation Watch
Teaching Mental Health to Students: Senate Bill 330 would update the state health curriculum to teach students about positive mental health and common mental health problems. Author: Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima. Status: Passed Senate, referred to Assembly appropriations suspense file.

Transgender Students: Assembly Bill 1266  gives transgender students the right to participate in school sports and use bathroom facilities that correspond with their expressed genders. Status: Signed into law on August 12 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Author: Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. EdSource coverage.

Willful Defiance and Student Discipline: Assembly Bill 420 would bar expulsions for "willful defiance" and limit suspensions for willful defiance. Author: Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento. Status: Passed Assembly, up for vote in Senate. EdSource coverage.
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