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


Nov. 25, 2014, Issue 23

Creating a positive school climate -- one that allows students and staff to feel connected, engaged and safe at school -- is one of eight state priorities that districts are asked to focus on under the Local Control Funding Formula law enacted last year. For the first time, the law requires schools to demonstrate with data that they are improving school climate by reducing suspensions and expulsions and by "other local measures, including surveys of pupils, parents, and teachers on the sense of safety and school connectedness."

In response to efforts in many California school districts to reduce suspensions and expulsions, EdSource is convening an Educators Network for Effective School Discipline to help school and district officials as well as teachers - those most responsible for implementing discipline policies - share best practices and collaborate on successful strategies.

Read more at EdSource Today.
Open and supportive relationships between schools and parents are part of a positive school environment where families, staff and students feel welcome. Parent involvement is also one of eight new California state priorities that districts must address.
Ryan Smith got an early lesson in the inequities of education in California when, as a 6-year-old, his single mother used her savings to move from low-income South Los Angeles to nearby Culver City in 1987 so that her only child could attend better schools. "It was 10 miles away. As far as income was concerned, it was a world away," said Smith, who last month was named executive director of Education Trust-West, a nonprofit based in Oakland that works to narrow the achievement gap in education. Read more at EdSource Today.
Torlakson: Obama's immigration plan may ease student fears, increase parent involvement
Saying that President Barrack Obama's immigration reform plan will "bring parents out of isolation" and increase their participation in schools, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued a statement supporting the plan.

He also said the plan would help "free students of the fear that their families can be torn apart by deportation at any moment, enabling them to come to school better prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom, in college, and in their careers." Read more about the impact of immigration reform at EdSource Today.

USDA explores cost effective ways to improve summer food access for kids
Engaging students, staff and parents about their food preferences and needs is an effective strategy to improve after-school meals, according to this issue brief by California Food Policy Advocates, a nonprofit organization

Complementary programs that extend the reach of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's summer meal programs could help reduce childhood food insecurity during the summer, according to three studies released by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service.

Later start times, brighter classrooms in the morning and holding math, science and reading classes in the afternoon were among the recommendations made by doctors to the Chicago City Council Health Committee to address sleep deprivation among students. Opening nap rooms also would help students perform better, the presenters said. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends a later school start time for middle school and high school students, noting that sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental health problems for teenagers.
An investigation by the San Jose Mercury and the public interest journalism nonprofit Pro Publica has found that pharmaceutical companies spent more than $14 million from 2010 to 2013 in travel, meals and speaking fees for the doctors that prescribe psychiatric medication to California's foster youth. The investigation said that the alliance between drug companies and doctors could be fueling the "rampant use" of psychiatric medication in the foster system. The report includes a searchable database of individual doctors and payments from drug companies.
"Students who are bullied don't feel safe, and students who don't feel safe can't learn," said a statement from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders announcing a task force to prevent the bullying of Asian American and Pacific Islander children. The task force includes members of the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The statement cited attacks on children, including a 2014 study, "Go Home, Terrorist!" that found that more than two-thirds of turbaned Sikh youth in Fresno reported experiencing bullying and harassment.
"Let's not focus on what we can't change and focus on what we can do to make the lives of kids with tough home experiences better [which includes aggressors as well]," said Stan Davis, author of Schools Where Everyone Belongs, speaking in San Diego at the International Bullying Prevention Association's annual conference. "Not everything can be changed, but everyone can be comforted," Davis said.

He cited a Youth Voice survey of more than 13,000 teens in 31 schools. When asked what made a difference after being bullied, 91 percent of those who had been bullied said positive comments helped.

Co-hosted by the California School-Based Health Alliance and the Center for Healthy Schools and Communities, the webinar will offer an overview of the reasons for conducting behavioral health needs assessments in school districts. Related topics include strategies for gathering data and how to use the results to establish credibility and buy-in with key stakeholders. Resources, equity and continuous evaluation and improvement will be covered.
  • "Behavioral Needs Assessments for School Districts"
  • Thursday, January 22, from 11a.m. to 12 noon PT.
  • Register here.
Other Student Health and Wellness News
Race and violence should be a school-wide subject
By Travis J. Bristol, Edutopia

Huge settlement in sex abuse case has L.A. Unified rethinking reforms
By Howard Blume and Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times

Waiting until college to teach about affirmative consent is too late  

By Paul R. Abramson and Leif Dautch, Los Angeles Times


Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 22: Districts ordered to use millions in unspent school lunch funds
Edhealth Newsletter Issue 21: National school boards group ends tobacco partnership
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 20: Mixed results for student health-related legislation
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 19: Will kids eat more school lunches in quiet cafeterias?
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 18: California ahead in abolishing harsh discipline policies

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