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EdSource Highlighting Student Success
May 22, 2015
Greetings! I hope many of you were able to join us for the EdSource Symposium in Sacramento on April 30.

Pedro Noguera's keynote presentation about how to address the "opportunity gap" was one of the standout sessions for me, but the event was full of insights on how to improve education outcomes for high-needs students from leaders of all stripes. If you haven't yet, check out the live blog of the event here.

One of the most challenging aspects of serving high-needs students is how to enact fair and effective discipline policies and improve the climate of schools.  School climate and improving discipline are getting more attention than ever as part of the Local Control and Accountability Plans under the "School Climate" priority area--measured by suspension and expulsion rates as well as local measures of safety and connectedness-- and it is the main topic of our newsletter today.
Thanks for reading,

Erin Brownfield
Editor, Leading Change

A federal class-action lawsuit claims that Compton Unified failed to take "reasonable steps" to address the needs of students affected by trauma and instead frequently suspended or expelled students suffering from severe trauma. Read more.

California educators are invited to join the Educators Network for Effective School Discipline, chaired by Carl Cohn, formerly of the State Board of Education. The online home of the Educators Network, located at EdSource Today, contains a curated collection of the most useful resources and information on a variety of school discipline topics.

EdSource has also just launched an online forum for school leaders in the network to exchange ideas and questions and support one another as they strive to improve school climate and reducing suspensions and expulsions.

Click here to find out more or join the network.

New research on student discipline and school climate


Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy recently published a new report on the practices of three highly effective urban high schools that use social emotional learning to improve school climate and student discipline.  


The report compares student survey data from the three schools to a national sample of students and highlights successful strategies. It also provides recommendations about how to integrate social-emotional learning into schools and districts. One practice the report highlights is the use of "social justice education" to help produce students who are "socially aware, skilled, responsible, and empowered to stand up to injustice and work for positive change." Click here for the executive summary, full study, and related documents.   


Ed-Data update includes new way to view data on student attendance

Ed-Data.org has recently launched a site redesign and offers some new ways to view data.  

For example, users can compare average daily attendance to enrollment for unified, elementary, and high-school districts, as well as statewide, and look at how these numbers change over time. Check out your district's ADA/enrollment trends on Ed-Data.org by entering the district name.


Other new additions to Ed-Data include information about the percentage of kids at health risk according to physical fitness tests, and data on the number of English learners reaching proficiency targets in districts.  


Common Core Watch

  • This in-depth story from The Hechinger Report looks at one of the defining features of the new Common Core tests: the so-called "performance tasks" requiring students to analyze multiple texts and use critical thinking to respond to test questions. Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of the new approach. Read more.
  • Parents will soon begin receiving reports on how their kids performed on Common Core testing. This article from The Cabinet Report provides details on what the reports will consist of, and Mike Kirst of the State Board of Ed.'s views on how California's assessment system fits in with requirements of No Child Left Behind. Read more.
  • EdSource's Sarah Tully reports on a recent poll that shows strong support for Common Core State Standards in California, and looks at how ethnic and political groups vary in their support. Read more. 
  • Louisiana appears to have reached a compromise on whether to pull out of Common Core standards and testing. Under the compromise, only 50% of standardized test questions could come from the PARCC assessment currently in use. Read more.
  • Opposition to Common Core testing is rising in Portland, Oregon and nearby communities, with about 1 in 7 high school juniors opting out of the Smarter Balanced tests. Read more.
Web resources on school climate and discipline

Have you read the "Rules for Engagement" blog at Education Week? Writer Evie Blad posts frequently on a range of school climate issues, from bullying to restorative justice programs. You can also follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rulz4Engagement and follow the debate at #studentlife. 

The California Endowment's "School Climate" page contains  links to useful resources such as case studies, research and toolkits on topics like trauma-informed schools and anti-bullying efforts.

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