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April 2017

Consider This… Things to Consider in April 2017:

Community Schools: How They Can Make Schools Safe and Supportive
Dr. Claire Crane , Director of the Center for Community Schools at Salem State University

As a school principal for the past twenty five years and currently as director of the Community School Center at Salem State University, I have had the opportunity to work with parents, researchers, school administrators, teachers, and federal officials. I am going to share examples of excellent practices and ideas for starting and running a community school.

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Hungry and Homeless in College: Results from a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education
This report finds that about half of community college students are housing insecure, and 13 to 14 percent are homeless. This is the first study to consider the basic needs security of former foster youth which found that 29 percent of former foster youth surveyed were homeless – more than twice the rate of other students. The numbers of students both housing and food insecure were highest in the Northeast. Also distressing is the fact that at least half of the food and housing insecure students in this study and in prior studies received Pell Grants and/or were employed. Recommendations to help address basic needs security among community college students are discussed.


Social-Emotional Learning in Teacher Education: A Needs Assessment Survey of Teacher Educators
The results of this survey taken by the Massachusetts Consortium for Social-Emotional Learning in Teacher Education (SEL-TEd) indicate a high level of interest and motivation for SEL integration into teacher education but the current level of implementation is much lower than the interest level. While about three-quarters (76.3%) of teacher educators are very or extremely interested in this endeavor, less than half (46.7%) feel that their current practices are very or extremely aligned with SEL in teacher education.


Tipping the Scales:  How Integrating School and Community Resources Can Improve Student Outcomes and the Commonwealth’s Future
Over the past ten years, Massachusetts has become home to a high proportion of students experiencing circumstances including poverty, and health and mental health challenges that can interfere with their readiness to develop the cognitive and social-emotional skills demanded in school and in the workplace. This study by Boston College discusses the principles of effective practice and evidence showing that when students receive comprehensive supports and opportunities that are integrated alongside academic instruction, they can thrive academically, closing achievement gaps and reducing dropout rates, regardless of socio-economic status.


Barriers to Success: Moving Toward a Deeper Understanding of Adversity’s Effects on Adolescents
This monograph by America’s Promise Alliance introduces the concept of Adverse Life Experiences (ALEs) which describes the multitude of severe challenges that youth may face throughout their adolescence. While many young people in America continue to face severe adversity, few receive the supports and resources they need to succeed in school, work, and life. The critical role teachers, administrators, counselors, and other adults in the school building can play is highlighted


The 500 Cities Project: New Data for Better Health
The 500 Cities Project, a first-of-its-kind data resource from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the CDC Foundation, allowed Brockton officials to learn about their community’s health at a level of detail never seen before: the Census tract (defined as subdivisions of a county, averaging around 4000 people). Knowing where a community thrives or suffers is essential to addressing poor health and efficiently utilizing resources to ensure everyone has the opportunity to lead healthy lives.


Needs of Kinship Care Families and Pediatric Practice
This policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics reviews both the strengths and vulnerabilities of kinship families and suggests strategies for pediatricians to use to address the needs of individual patients and families. Despite overall better outcomes, families providing kinship care experience many hardships and the children experience many of the same adversities of children in traditional foster care. Strategies are outlined for community, state, and federal advocacy on behalf of these children and their families.


Opioid Crisis Strains Massachusetts’ Foster-Care System
Last year, the Department of Children and Families adopted a new case management system that allows it to track why an allegation of child neglect or abuse is made. Nearly one-third of those allegations made between March and September 2016 were because of parental substance abuse, making it the most common reporting factor, ahead of domestic violence and mental-health concerns. Children in foster care often require behavioral or medical treatment requiring flexibility in foster parents’ schedules. They must be able to accommodate trips to health facilities, which can be more time consuming for those living in rural areas where such facilities are few and far between.


Useful Tools and Resources


State Child Welfare Policy Database-Relative Caregiving Facts FFY 2014: Massachusetts
This two-page fact sheet gives the most recently available numbers of kids in foster care, disaggregated by various indicators.


Promoting Self-Regulation in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Practice Brief
This brief reviews the importance of self-regulation for adolescents and young adults and provides guidelines for supporting self-regulation development for 14 to 25-year-olds. It is based on work conducted by a team at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and specifically addresses prevention programs and targeted interventions which could be implemented within ACF programs.


Celebrate Earth day and Learn about Foster Parenting and Adopting from Foster Care! 
Please join the Department of Children & Families in an Earth Day celebration and learn about becoming a Foster Parent. We will be providing Information, Refreshments and Earth Friendly Activities! Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 2:00PM-4:00PM at the Salvation Army KROC CENTER, 650 Dudley St, Dorchester, MA 02125 for more information call 1-800-KIDS-508 or visit mass.gov/dcf


Community Schools: How They Can Make Schools Safe and Supportive-Tuesday, April 11th from 12:30PM-1:30PM

Dr. Claire Crane, the Director of the Center for Community Schools at Salem State University, will speak on her long experiences developing Lynn’s Ford School into a nationally recognized full service community school. Ford became a comprehensive center for PK-adult learning, social, health and family services, and a valuable resource and support for the culturally diverse Highlands community it serves. The “community school concept” lifted Ford from the lowest to one of the highest performing schools in the city and provided legions of children and their families with learning experiences that improved their lives and futures in concrete ways. Moving from school-based practice to effect systemic change, she has carried the community school message forward to policy-makers, community leaders and teacher educators.

For more on this topic, please read our RTSC Feature Article: Community Schools: How They Can Make Schools Safe and Supportive


Featured Article Continued… 

Community Schools: How They Can Make Schools Safe and Supportive-Dr. Claire Crane, ​Director of the Center for Community Schools at Salem State University

As a school principal for the past twenty five years and currently as director of the Community School Center at Salem State University, I have had the opportunity to work with parents, researchers, school administrators, teachers, and federal officials. I am going to share examples of excellent practices and ideas for starting and running a community school.

A community school will help give our children the high quality of education they deserve. Many years of research show that involving families and the community will contribute to our children’s academic and social success.

A successful community is where everyone belongs, works together, and thrives. The schools become centers and are open to everyone all day, every day, including evenings and weekends. Some examples of how they function are as follows: neighborhood meetings, crime watch meetings, tutoring–Saturdays and weekdays during the summers, safety classes by police/fire, etc., tax help services, and night school for GED-ESL and citizenship.

During my Webinar on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, I will focus on how to identify the needs of your community school, the process of effective implementation, and the steps needed for sustainability. Examples:

  1. Jobs
  2. Food
  3. Clothing
  4. Medical care
  5. Safe neighborhood
  6. Leadership training
  7. Recreation programs

Community schools can run effectively on a low budget/no budget. These partnerships are very important and if you take one step at a time, you can build a better world for your students, parents, and community.

My attitude has always been to never say no but say how can we do this!!


*Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure that the contents of Consider This… is accurate, the Federation for Children with Special Needs makes no representations or warranties in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information found within the enclosed articles. The contents within this transmission is provided in good faith, and nothing included in it should be taken to constitute or imply professional advice, an endorsement or a formal recommendation.