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


April 14, 2014 Issue 16

Vaccination Opt-Outs


Robyn Ettl, Grass Valley Unified school nurse, gives a vision test to second grader Chase Littlejohn at Grass Valley Charter School. Photo credit: Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource Today

Check out new California school vaccination rates at  the EdSource vaccination data app. 


In her 33 years as a school nurse, Robyn Ettl has listened, sometimes quietly, sometimes not, to parents in rural Nevada County explain why their children don't need vaccinations against contagious and potentially fatal diseases, including polio, diphtheria, measles and pertussis.


Now, with nearly a half a million 5-year-olds and soon-to-be-5-year-olds registering for kindergarten in the fall, school nurses like Ettl are more invested than ever in a delicate task: trying to change the minds of parents intent on opting out of school-entrance immunizations.


Under a state law that took effect Jan. 1, parents are required to consult with a health practitioner - doctor, naturopath or credentialed school nurse - before they're allowed to obtain a personal-belief exemption from their child's required immunizations.

Read the full story in EdSource Today

Gabriella Dominguez, a transitional kindergarten student, has an intestinal disorder and receives help from a school nurse. Photo credit: Dominguez family

Medical advances and federal and state laws have opened the door for more chronically ill children to attend general education classrooms, according to a new statewide report by researchers at the School of Nursing at California State University, Sacramento.

School nurses, already carrying large case loads because of budget cuts, are now suctioning breathing tubes, inserting urinary catheters, testing blood sugar levels and monitoring ventilators. according to the report.

 Read the full story in EdSource Today.

School Climate

Superintendent Chris Funk explains how the goals of the district's strategic plan and the LCAP mesh during an interview this week. Photo credit: EdSource Today/John Fensterwald
One of the first school districts to finish a draft of the spending and accountability plan required by the state's new school funding law is proposing to hire social workers to deal with the effects of troubled home lives, cyberbullying and other social and emotional issues hobbling students' ability to concentrate and learn.

Addressing students' emotional wellbeing is a key element of improving "school climate," defined as  the degree to which students and staff feel engaged, supported and respected at school, according to the National School Climate Center.


The 24,000-student East Side Union High School District in San Jose, the largest high school district in Northern California, wants to spend $1.25 million to place a full-time social worker at each of the district's 11 comprehensive high schools next year, according to the proposed Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) that Superintendent Chris Funk released recently. Read the full story in EdSource Today.

A growing body of research is pointing to the importance of teaching students how to regulate their emotions and peacefully solve conflicts, particularly if children are growing up surrounded by violence or neglect. Such skills have been tied to increased academic achievement and emotional wellbeing and reduced disciplinary infractions.


In a far-reaching national survey of how students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities are faring at school, the federal government reported that widespread disparities exist in discipline practices, with students of color and students with disabilities subject to harsher penalties.


In addition, the newly released Civil Rights Data Collection allows the public to search for discipline and other data by school and district throughout the nation. Read the full story in EdSource Today

Student Health Legislation in California

AB 2127 - Concussions and full-contact sports 
  • Assembly Bill 2127, authored by Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, would prohibit high school and middle school football teams from conducting more than two full-contact practices a week and limit the full-contact portion of practice to 90 minutes in a single day. The reduction in contact is aimed at reducing the risk of concussions in adolescents and children. Status: Voted out of Assembly Education Committee 5-2 and headed for the Assembly floor. 

SB 1000 - Sugary drink warning label 
  • Senate Bill 1000, authored by state Senator Bill Monning, D-Carmel, would add a warning label to the containers of sugar-sweetened beverages stating "Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay." Status: Voted out of the Senate Committee on Health 5-2 and headed for the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Student Health Webinars
How can social emotional learning help close the opportunity gap?

USDA's Smart Snacks: Timeline for implementation
How is effective social and emotional learning (SEL) practiced in high schools? How can SEL be tuned to meet the needs of students in diverse schools?

MarYam Hamedani, associate director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford, will present in-depth case studies of social and emotional learning at three urban, socioeconomically and racially diverse small public high schools.

Ms. Hamedani's will give a presentation on the topic at a Brown Bag Seminar at Stanford on Monday, April 28 from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. The presentation also will be simulcast online starting at noon. Please note that online viewing requires the installation of Silverlight software.
What are the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Smart Snacks Standards, when do they kick in and how can schools implement them successfully?

That's the subject of a webinar hosted by the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior with nutritionist Deborah Nigri and policy analyst Laura Cunliffe, both of the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service.

Included will be a discussion of resources to help schools implement the changes, including the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Smart Snacks calculator. In addition, a brief overview of the recently proposed Local Wellness Policy regulation as well as Community Eligibility Program will be provided. Wednesday, April 16, 10 to 11:30 a.m. PT. Register here.   
Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter:

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 15: Special education needs a 'do-over,' state panel told
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 14: Educating special ed students isolated in juvenile facilities
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 13: Trying a "trauma-informed" approach in special education
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 12: Largest districts vary in use of "willful defiance"
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

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