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


. 8, 2015
Issue 43
School Climate
When Cary Matsuoka, superintendent of the Milpitas Unified School District, read the results of a 2013 survey of 6th - 12th grade students in his district, he found the results disquieting. Nineteen percent of students said they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
"That is a sobering statistic and a call to action," Matsuoka said in a post on his blog.

The survey was part of the initial stages of Milpitas Unified's involvement in Project Cornerstone, a Santa Clara County-wide project of the YMCA of Silicon Valley that works with school districts, city agencies, community groups and the PTA to support students. The project offers staff development, parent workshops and student-created anti-bullying workshops that aim to develop student strengths and build relationships.

Now the district, which has announced it will hold a meeting in January to plan next steps, is ramping up efforts. Cheryl Jordan, deputy superintendent, said the goal is to have at least 100 community organizations and city departments sign a pledge "to support our youth in developing the assets they need for resiliency." The district also would like to design a symbol for businesses and residents "to put in their windows letting our youth know their community cares about them."

The risk of student suicide is one faced by nearly every district in the state. (See related: The Silicon Valley Suicides, The Atlantic, Dec.) 

About 19 percent, or one in five, high school students in California reported "seriously considering" attempting suicide in the past 12 months, according to 2011-2013 data from the California Department of Education, the California Healthy Kids Survey and the California Student Survey.

The California Department of Education has posted a list of resources to help school districts address youth suicide prevention, intervention and aftermath. Among the resources is the Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Schools, which was compiled by the Palo Alto Unified School District and includes staff development training ideas and how to recognize the warning signs of suicide. In an emergency, advice is available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free 24/7 confidential service.

For suicidal ideation rates by district, click on the map below or click here for data from, a program of the Lucille Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

Student Safety
In 2012, it was called Operation Glasshouse, an undercover drug investigation at three Riverside County high schools that resulted in the arrest of 22 students. Two years later, it was known as the high school drug sting that caused some California school districts to lose their enthusiasm for high school drug stings.
Now a Riverside County Superior Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit at the center of the controversy around Operation Glasshouse. The 2013 suit was brought by Jesse Snodgrass, who was a 17-year-old Chaparral High School senior with autism when he was arrested as part of the sting.

Read more at EdSource Today.

Student Health

Sexual health education will become mandatory on Jan. 1, 2016 for California public school students in grades 7 through 12 under Assembly Bill 329, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law. This animated EdSource Today video created by Tiffany Lew and narrated by Jane Meredith Adams describes the requirements of the law.

Watch by clicking on the image above or by clicking here to go to EdSource Today.
In one of the few efforts around the state to bring flu vaccinations into schools, students in Oakland public schools have been receiving free flu mist nasal spray vaccinations as part of "Shoo the Flu."

Shoo the Flu is a collaboration of the Alameda County Public Health Department, the California Department of Public Health and the Oakland Unified School District, funded by the Page Family Foundation. Participation is voluntary. Last year, more than 8,000 Oakland students at 110 schools received the vaccine. Now the program has expanded to 140 school sites.

"I love, love, love having the flu shots in school," said Jessica Cannon, principal of Chabot Elementary in Oakland, who was in line to get the flu shot herself. During the flu season, she said, "kids miss a lot of school. And teachers. Everyone." She added, "On a personal level, if I forget to get a flu shot, all of the December break is spent sick in bed." 

To track the outbreak of flu across the nation, click on the Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Interactive Map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Student Wellbeing
A Bay Area school district offers a case study in the potential -- and the challenge -- of community schools, an approach whose goal is to transform schools into hubs for the entire community by offering a range of services, such as mental health counseling, health clinics, after-school programs and classes for parents.

Less than a decade after the publication of Carol Dweck's "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success," research by her and others is flourishing, gamers are creating growth mindset games and school districts are paying attention to what are often referred to as "soft skills," such as social emotional learning or non-cognitive skills like perseverance and self-control. But with popularization comes the risk of oversimplification - and misapplication.


The California Immunization Coalition, the California Department of Public Health and the California School Nurses Organization are hosting a webinar to talk about Senate Bill 277, which takes effect January 1, 2016, and how the new law may impact parents who decline vaccinations for their children. The webinar will discuss the role of school nurses in enforcing the new rule. (Related: What schools and parents need to know about the new vaccination law, EdSource Today.)

What: "Understanding the new immunization law"
When: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 12:30 p.m.

Click here to register.
The Food Research & Action Committee is hosting a webinar about providing quality programming at an afterschool meal program.

Pairing after school meals with activities reinforces the popularity of each. The webinar will provide educational programming ideas and resources that are available at little or no cost.

What: "Afterschool meals matter: Providing quality programming at your afterschool meal program"
When: Thursday, Dec. 17, 10 to 11 a.m.

Click here to register.
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