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


Jan. 15, 2014 Issue 12

School Climate

EdSource study finds largest school districts vary widely in use of 'willful defiance' to suspend students
Tracking the use of "willful defiance" as a reason for suspension in the 30 largest school districts. Click on the image to enlarge.
Source: California Department of Education  

A growing body of research is pointing to the importance of helping students regulate their emotions and peacefully solve conflicts, particularly if they are growing up in neighborhoods where they regularly experience conflict or violence. Promoting such social skills along with creating "positive classroom environments" in schools has been tied to increased student academic achievement and emotional wellbeing, along with reduced disciplinary infractions, including suspensions. 


What has increasingly come under scrutiny is how school districts use the most common reason to suspend students in California -- "willful defiance" of school authorities.

An EdSource analysis has found dramatic differences among the state's largest school districts in their reliance on "willful defiance" as a reason to suspend students. The data suggests that some districts experience far higher levels of disruptive behavior than others -- or that they respond to such behavior differently, EdSource reports.   

Related: New federal guidelines support alternatives to suspensions, EdSource reports. EdWatch 2014, upcoming student discipline legislation, EdSource reports.
San Francisco Unified considers restricting police role on school campuses, EdSource reports.
School Lunch
School lunch still healthy despite rule change, nutritionists say
Sacramento students enjoy lunch in transitional kindergarten this month.
Credit: EdSource Today Lillian Mongeau

The two-ounce hamburger is no longer the rule for school lunches, after the federal government this month permanently removed limits on the amount of protein and grain allowed in meals under the federally subsidized National School Lunch Program.  


But does this mean the much-heralded healthier school lunches are returning to super-sized portions?


Not at all, said Lynette Rock, president of the Burbank-based California School Nutrition Association, a membership and advocacy group. "The new healthy school lunch meals are still healthy," said Rock, EdSource reports.

Student Health: Dental care, bullying, school health services

With student dental disease one of the most widespread public health issues in schools, Gov. Jerry Brown put a new focus on early dental health outreach in his proposed budget for the coming year, praising prevention as a way to keep down future medical problems and costs. But the budget proposal does not allocate any new funds, EdSource reports.
Transgender students are at increased risk of bullying and threats to their physical and emotional wellbeing, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Now a referendum effort to overturn a law allowing transgender students to use bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity must pass another vote-validation hurdle, EdSource reports.
California's efforts to support school-based health services received a D+, as did children's oral health. Obesity received a C-, mental health a D and developmental screenings earned a grade of C- in the 2014 "California Children's Report Card" released by Oakland-based Children Now, a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization, EdSource reports.

Connecting high school physical education to Common Core State Standards in math
Strategies for connecting high school health and physical education lessons to the Common Core State Standards is the topic of a webinar to be hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based membership organization American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 from 10 to 11 a.m. PT. Register here.
Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter:

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 11: Trauma-informed teaching to reach troubled youth
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 10: New law increases awareness of concussions
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 9:   More teens drinking sugary beverages
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 8:   Free lunch sign-ups crucial to school funding
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 7:   Lunch tally triggers dispute with districts
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 6:   Tracking the impact of anti-bullying programs

Want to a free online subscription to EdHealth? Click on the button below.  

to EdHealth
Stay Connected
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   Find us on Pinterest