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


. 13, 2016
Issue 44
School Climate
Governor's budget proposes $30 million for coordinated efforts to support students 

This diagram depicts levels of behavioral interventions in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports framework, with all students receiving universal interventions such as learning the social skill of listening respectfully. Credit: U.S. Department of Education, Technical Assistance Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal for 2016-17 includes a one-time $30 million investment to help school districts provide behavioral and academic supports "in a coordinated and systematic way."

The proposed $30 million allocation would follow $10 million in state funding in 2015 to school districts for the same purpose.

These "systems of learning and behavioral supports," as they are called in the budget summary, are a way to organize all of the supports schools provide to help students succeed -- such as math tutoring, anger management counseling and curriculum that teaches all students social skills such as how to politely disagree with a classmate's opinion. Schools can then use a database to track an individual student's movement through various academic and behavioral interventions to see what works.

One such organizational system, known as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, emphasizes four factors: measurable outcomes, evidence-based practices, implementation systems, and data for decision making, according to the program website.

According to the budget summary, "research indicates that these systems: (1) improve student outcomes by more effectively recognizing the various ways that students can learn, engage with, and demonstrate mastery of academic content; (2) improve course access by promoting behavioral interventions that reduce student referrals to special education or other isolated settings; and (3) improve school climate by focusing on social and emotional learning."

Click here for pages 26 and 27 of the Governor's budget summary, which describe the proposed  $30 million in funding for systems of learning and behavioral supports. See the Governor's full 2016-17 budget summary here.

The school climate and discipline reform options offered in the Every Student Succeeds Act give schools the opportunity to change discipline practices, says Janel George, senior education policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The new federal education act includes funding for "school-based mental health services, restorative practices, schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports, programming to prevent bullying and harassment, ongoing professional development training on classroom management, and trauma-informed services," George wrote in Education Week.
Student Emotional Wellbeing
Adults have taken the lead in working to reduce school bullying, but new research suggests that in middle school, socially connected students are more powerful than adults in making being mean uncool.

Students who have lots of followers on social media and lots of friends -- and who agree to join a voluntary program to make the school a positive place -- can reduce the number of students who are disciplined for bullying and other peer conflicts, according to new research led by Elizabeth Levy Paluck, a psychologist at Princeton University, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study used a no-cost intervention program designed by Paluck and her co-researchers called "The Roots Curriculum, For student-driven positive school climate."
From creating a "safe zone" in county libraries to training school staff to be more understanding of transgender students, ideas about how to build an inclusive environment were discussed at a San Diego forum for educators, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
California now has one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, but ambiguity in its wording has left school districts deciding on their own whether to grant special education students a de facto exemption.

The California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education have not yet issued guidance on how to apply the vaccination law to special education students. Under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students who qualify for special education services, such as speech therapy or small group instruction, must receive those services. Failure to comply leaves districts vulnerable to lawsuits from parents.

The first sign of a problem appeared on Dec. 28, 2014, when an 11-year-old unvaccinated child in California was hospitalized with a suspected case of measles. The child's only unusual activity had been a visit to one of two adjacent theme parks in Southern California - Disneyland and Disney California Adventure - popular destinations for travelers from countries where vaccination rates are low and measles, a highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus, is endemic.

Read more at EdSource Today.

Early childhood is the time to introduce children and families to healthy eating practices to deter obesity, according to a new report from the Institutes of Medicine titled Obesity in the Early Childhood Years: State of the Science and Implementation of Promising Solutions: Workshop in Brief (2016).

To be successful, experts cited in the report said, information about the importance of good nutrition and adequate exercise should be presented to families just about everywhere they go: the pediatrician's office, child care settings, pre-schools, schools, restaurants, parks and grocery stores.
Special Education
A day after the posting of a video of a teacher's aide slapping a nine-year-old boy in special education on the face while onlookers laughed, a California Department of Education investigator showed up unannounced at the Antioch special education school where the incident occurred.

Without the video, the immediate investigation would likely never have happened, said parents of special education students, lawyers and advocates.

Read more at EdSource Today.

This video, "Austin's Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work" from the nonprofit organization EL Education, is about student-led assessment. But it's also a lesson in teaching kids to comment in helpful ways about another student's work. Guided by thoughtful questions and comments from the teacher, the students contribute with their best social and emotional skills.

Farm-to-school success
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School program is hosting a series of webinars to help schools bring into the cafeteria more fresh, local produce, dairy, grains and meat.

In this webinar, the USDA Farm to School local food procurement expert, Christina Conell, will break down the process of finding and buying local food. The webinar will cover the basics as well as strategies to spot opportunities to include local products in your school nutrition purchasing.

What: Finding and Buying Local Foods
Who: USDA Farm to School Program
When: Thursday, Feb. 4, 11 a.m. PT
Register here.
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