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


Nov. 3, 2015
Issue 41
Farm to School census
The Farm to School Census. Click on image to search the database.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 formally established a Farm to School Program within USDA to improve access to local foods in schools. How is your district's Farm to School fresh food program going?

How much money is your district spending on locally grown fruit, vegetables, meat and milk? What have been the successes and obstacles in bringing locally grown foods into school meals?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released preliminary Farm to School Census data from 437 California school districts and charter schools. The USDA is calling for districts to update their data by Nov. 20, if they haven't already done so.

Browse through the districts to learn how things are going. One example: McKinleyville Union Elementary School District spent $12,500 in 2013-14 on buying locally grown food including milk. The district also served food from school-based gardens and conducted student field trips to farms or orchards.
Learning Disabilities

Max Matheny, 13, wore his Sacramento duds - black suit paired with a lime shirt, topped with a newsboy cap - up to the Capitol five times this year, carrying a wrinkled copy of his speech in a book bag. "I'm really smart, with an IQ higher than average," he told the state Senate Education Committee last summer. This was hard-won self-knowledge, the farthest thing from 8th-grade braggadocio.

"Up until this past January, I read at a 2nd-grade level," he told the senators.

Max has dyslexia, a reading disability thought to originate in the neurological structure of the brain. The words "smart" and "special education" aren't spoken together often by educators, but Max, perched on a swivel chair before a microphone, did just that with the legislators. He told them he was smart, he had not received the correct instruction for dyslexia in seven years of special education and he wanted the legislators to do something about it.

They did. This month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1369, authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley. The new law requires schools to assess struggling readers specifically for dyslexia, the most prevalent learning disability in the U.S.

Read more at EdSource Today.
School Discipline
Black minds matter report
Ed Trust-West report
A new report from Ed Trust - West, "Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Children in California," calls for legislators to improve statewide school discipline data collection and for districts to create environments that support the creativity and talents of black students.

"The deaths of unarmed youth by law enforcement across the country tell black youth that their lives matter less than other lives," Ryan Smith, executive director of Ed Trust -West, said in a statement. "Similarly, the decisions made within our education systems tell black students that their minds and futures matter less as well."

The report includes a resource list of "promising practices" for supporting and inspiring students and families from pre-school to college. The list includes The Calculus Roundtable for increasing enrollment in higher level mathematics, Los Angeles Unified School District's Chronic Absenteeism Reduction Efforts and the Oakland Unified School District's Office of African American Male Achievement.

Read more at EdSource Today.
Physical Education
School officials in the San Bernardino and Riverside districts say they have improved their system for tracking how much time elementary school students spend receiving physical education. Their actions are prompted by a settlement to a lawsuit filed by an Albany parent and lawyer against 37 school districts for allegedly failing to provide the state-mandated amount of physical education.

 Under the state education code, schools are required to provide 200 minutes of physical education every 10 school days in grades 1 through 6.

"We definitely want to meet the obligations," Brad Shearer, Riverside Unified's elementary education director, told the Press-Enterprise.
High Needs Students
The majority of students who attend online charter schools in California and across the nation are falling significantly behind in math and reading compared to their counterparts in conventional schools, according to the first national, comprehensive study of online charter schools.

Online charter schools, also known as virtual charter schools, enroll a small percentage of students in California, but the model has been thought to hold promise in reaching students who for a variety of reasons, including being bullied at school, suffering from social anxiety, needing special education services or being on the verge of expulsion, opt to learn at home.

Read more at EdSource Today.

The California State PTA presents a webinar to help parents understand how to read and interpret the Smarter Balanced assessments. Educators will find it useful, too.

Among the questions to be addressed are: What do the new Smarter Balanced assessments mean? What can you learn from your child's score report? How are assessments used to enhance learning? 
What: "Grasp the CAASPP: California's New Assessments and Your Child"
Who: California State PTA
When: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 7 to 8 p.m. PT
Register here.
WestEd's Region IX Equity Assistance Center
will present a webinar about the latest research on the lives of youth and why educators must understand the impact of trauma on students. Included are promising trauma-informed practices used at Sally Ride Elementary School in Los Angeles.

What: Trauma-Informed Education: Highlights of Research and Practice
Who: WestEd's Region IX Equity Assistance Center; Leora Wolf-Prusan, WestEd; Ariel Wrye, Echo Parenting and Education; and Catherine Daley, principal, Sally Ride Elementary School
When: Thursday, Nov. 5, 4 to 5:30 p.m. PT
Register here.

Noteworthy Reports on Student Wellness  
Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Report Card: ABC's of Breastfeeding in Los Angeles County Schools, from the ACLU of Southern California, BreastfeedLA and the California Women's Law Center

Parents Behind Bars: What Happens to Their Children? by David Murphey and P. Mae Cooper, Child Trends

Mislabeled: The Impact of School Bullying and Discrimination on California Muslim Students, from The Council on American-Islamic Relations - California

Video: School leaders and students talk about bullying
The Bully Project in action at Taylor Middle School in San Mateo County. Click image to play video.

The Bully Project Mural website
Two years ago, the entire staff of Taylor Middle School in Millbrae, including the bus drivers who drove them, attended a screening of the film Bully. In this short video The Bully Project at Work, Taylor Middle School school staff and students talk about how the movie affected them and what they are doing to stop bullying at their school.

The Bully Project also has a project-based learning curriculum that allows students to add an image to the Bully Project Mural, pictured at left.
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 39: School climate push increases from federal government
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 38: Updated information on the new school vaccination law
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 37: CDC asks coaches not to 'insult' players for reporting injuries
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 36: Rethinking Discipline: New tools for educators

Go to EdHealth Archive.

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