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


April 1, 2015

Issue 30

Student Health
Where does your county rank on a composite score based on 35 health indicators, including the percentage of children in poverty, low birthweight babies, teen birth and high school graduation rates? Not surprisingly, there is a stunning correlation between a county's ranking and income levels on the 2015 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.  

Prepared by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the rankings list health outcomes in counties in California and across the nation. Out of 57 California counties, Marin County ranks #1, compared to Alameda County just across the San Francisco Bay, which ranks 20th. Orange County ranks 5th, compared to Los Angeles County, which ranks 26th. 

California summary results are here, but the rankings aren't meant to be an end point. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps are intended to provide communities with data and strategies they can use to improve healthy behaviors at home, school, work and in neighborhoods, according to its creators. 

It was, without question, a call to action. Millions in federal Medi-Cal funds would flow to California schools, the state auditor said in 2005, if districts filled out the paperwork to collect a little-known reimbursement for the cost of referring low-income students to the health care program.

Read more at EdSource Today.
The fields surrounding Rio Mesa High School in the Oxnard Union High School District are treated with high quantities of dangerous pesticides, reported The Center for Investigative Reporting, putting students, teachers and community members at greater risk of cancer.
An EdSource Today story on the rise in vaccination opt-outs and a related EdSource vaccination rate data app won first prize for Data Reporting in the national 2015 Education Writers Association contest.

Said the judges: "Super important and user-friendly visualization of crucial information about the vaccination rates at various schools. I can see why this was one of their most popular and most-visited stories. This is public service journalism at its best."

"EdSource's data on vaccinations and which schools offer 'herd immunity' are literally a matter of life and death. This was terrific and creative work on a vitally important issue."
Physical Education

On the verge of a final settlement of a lawsuit over noncompliance with physical education requirements, three of the largest districts in the state are supporting a new bill they believe will curtail litigation in the future. Read more at EdSource Today.
School Climate and Discipline

Check out student responses to questions about how safe, happy, fairly treated and "connected" they feel at school. New data from a statewide survey is broken down by county and school district. The survey was part of California's Safe and Supportive Schools initiative, launched in 2010 with a grant from the federal government. Students who feel connected are likely to be more academically successful, research has found.

Aiming to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions by training school staff in behavior management, conflict resolution and other practices, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-PA, introduced U.S. Senate bill 672, the Keep Kids in School Act. In 2012, nearly 3.5 million children were suspended, with disproportionate numbers of students of color and students with disabilities, according to Casey's office.

Upcoming EdSource Symposium

Pedro Noguera
The 2015 EdSource Annual Symposium on Thursday, April 30 in Sacramento is now open for registration.

Keynote speaker Pedro Noguera and panelists including school superintendents, Linda Darling-Hammond, Michael Kirst and other education leaders will address new ways of improving outcomes for students with the greatest needs.

The Local Control Funding Formula is targeting significant funds at low-income students, English learners and foster children. The goal of the Common Core is to prepare all students to be ready for college and careers. But will these reforms result in the outcomes they are intended to have? The symposium will identify successful strategies in serving high needs students - and what more needs to be done.

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