Three Southern California school districts are implementing mental health and behavior support systems for all students to help reduce unnecessary special-education referrals and keep students in the least-restrictive environment possible. The multitiered approach integrates positive behavior modeling, as well as group and one-on-one counseling.
The EF+Math Program is focusing on improving the way students learn math. The effort, funded by NewSchools Venture Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, aims to create strategies that develop students' executive-function skills and boost math outcomes.
A class of Kentucky eighth-grade students have produced a coloring book featuring hand-drawn images of historic buildings in their town including city hall and their own school. The 15-page book was produced with the help of the local library's genealogy department and a business association.
Wyoming County Schools in West Virginia is using proximity learning to remotely connect subject-certified teachers with students in English-language arts and math. Many of these teachers are also National Board certified, says Superintendent Deirdre Cline.
Spring Hill Elementary in Knoxville, Tenn., is using an outdoor sensory garden to prevent disruptive behavior through positive behavioral interventions and supports. "This space allows a child, instead of going to a time-out area or a time-away area, to go out there and maybe work with the different activities and have that sensory need met," says Principal Denise Cross.
Some school districts in Texas have partnered with UNICEF-USA, part of the United Nations Children’s Fund, and a technology firm to create an online simulation to help teachers better support students after they have experienced trauma. The 30-minute online training includes virtual simulations to show how students may exhibit signs of trauma.
A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that the rate of US adolescents who participated in substance use prevention programs decreased from 48% in 2002-03 to 40% in 2015-16, with reduced participation found particularly among Latinos, youths from socioeconomically disadvantaged households and those from rural areas. The drop in teen SUPP participation may be partly due to the nearly 50% decline in federal SUPP funding between 2005 and 2015, researcher Christopher Salas-Wright said.
Many US school districts are facing a shortage of bus drivers, and some are getting creative to address the need, writes Phillip Burgoyne-Allen of Bellwether Education Partners. Strategies include raising pay, holding job fairs, conducting driver training and even paying teachers extra to handle the duties.
Denver Public Schools fifth-grade teacher Fallon Newman is taking graduate courses, citing partial tuition reimbursement and a recent deal that increased salaries by 11% for making the degree program financially possible. "I've always wanted to go to grad school, now I have the tools to climb the ladder," she says.
A Maine bill signed into law prevents scores from standardized tests from being used to measure teacher performance. Teachers will be evaluated on prep planning, classroom environment and other criteria.
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