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August 2017

Consider This… Things to Consider in August 2017

“YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO!”: Practical Tips for Dealing with School Refusal
Janie Crecco, MA, MSEd, Training and Support Specialist, RTSC
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015, is coming to full fruition this upcoming school year. One of the topics emphasized by the new law is the urgent need for school districts to obtain data and present a plan to reduce chronic absenteeism. Chronic absence differs from truancy in that it tracks both excused and unexcused absences. Recent research confirms that this problem is a cogent indicator of student health and well-being, and can hinder school success if not addressed. 

 

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Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) With HOPE (Health Outcomes of Positive Experience): New Insights into the Role of Positive Experience on Child and Family Development
This report, supported by the Casey Family Programs, presents evidence for HOPE (Health Outcomes of Positive Experiences) based on newly released, compelling data that reinforce the need to promote positive experiences for children and families in order to foster healthy childhood development despite the adversity common in so many families. These data establish a spirit of hope and optimism; demonstrate, through science, the powerful contribution of positive relationships and experiences to the development of healthy children and adults; suggest that American adults are willing to intervene personally to prevent child abuse and neglect; and reflect upon the positive returns on investment that our society can expect as we make changes in policies, practices, and future research.


Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of ‘Jane Crow’
In this much-talked about article in The New York Times, the term “Jane Crow” comes back to life with the author quoting a public defender in Brooklyn: “There’s this judgment that these mothers don’t have the ability to make decisions about their kids, and in that, society both infantilizes them and holds them to superhuman standards. In another community, your kid’s found outside looking for you because you’re in the bathtub, it’s ‘Oh, my God’” — a story to tell later, he said. “In a poor community, it’s called endangering the welfare of your child.”


Meditation and Yoga Can ‘Reverse’ DNA Reactions Which Cause Stress, New Study Suggests
Yes, it appears true that these activities are leaving what is called a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, mind-body interventions cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.


The Little Understood Mental-Health Effects of Racial Trauma
This article examines the effects of the frequent police killings on black Americans’ mental health in the form of racial trauma, a psychological phenomenon that some experts say is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms can include depression and angry outbursts with the addition of a reluctance to interact with or general mistrust of white people. Due to cultural stigma and barriers to care like insurance and jobs that provide time off work, black Americans are substantially less likely to receive mental-health treatment despite the fact that they are 20 percent more likely to suffer from mental illness.


To Introduce Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom, This District Starts With Its Teachers
Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts is working to incorporate yoga and mindfulness into classrooms to help both students and teachers manage their stress and regulate their emotions. This video from Education Week gives examples of how they are doing it.


This Federal Training Program for Low-Income Youth Is Plagued by Stunning Crime and Violence
The Job Corps program, overseen by the United States Department of Labor, racked up almost 50,000 safety and security incidents in a nearly 10-year span, including homicides, fights, drug-related incidents and more. Job Corps is the country’s largest residential, educational, career and technical training program for low-income youth, especially those transitioning out of the child welfare system. The report is from the GAO (General Accounting Office) and includes a first-person video of what young adults can expect from the program.


At the Cellular Level, a Child’s Loss of a Father is Associated with Increased Stress
This research brief discusses the actual measurable biological outcome that is related to the absence of a father (due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce). By discovering that paternal absence decreases telomere length, a core biological indicator of health, the authors are able to provide insight into a direct biological channel through which paternal absence could affect the health of their children.


VIDEO: The Impact of Childhood Adversity, and Its ‘Antidote’
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, pediatrician and founder of the Center for Youth Wellness (recently seen in the RTSC July Webinar presenting a Ted-Med Talk on ACEs) expostulates: “I’m sick and tired of hearing about children as early as pre-school being booted out of school for expressing symptoms of a neurodevelopmental challenge. It’s unjust and it shouldn’t be happening.”


Useful Tools and Resource

New Initiative Brings Together Schools and Afterschool Organizations to Foster Social-Emotional Learning in Elementary School
One of the Wallace Foundation’s grant recipients is the Boston Public Schools. In the first year of the initiative, the district/out-of-school-time intermediary pair will share grants ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million.
 
Strengthening Family Coping Resources: Multi-family Group for Families Impacted by Trauma
Multi-family groups have been shown to be effective in engaging and retaining highly stressed families in treatment. The intervention strengthens recovery from trauma for multiple family subsystems (child, parent, parent-child, family). Supported by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
 
In the News: Roxbury Youthworks
A grant from the Cummings Foundation ($100K) will allow Youthworks to expand the Gaining Independence For Tomorrow (GIFT) program to include girls that have aged out of DCF (Department of Children and Families) care, yet still need a life coach, and to girls referred by Probation, so they can avoid being locked up.

H.Res.443 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) Recognizing the Importance and Effectiveness of Trauma-Informed Care
This bill would recognize the importance, effectiveness, and need for trauma-informed care among existing programs and agencies at the Federal level. It has been referred to Committee.
 
Mindfulness Toolkit
This resource from Transforming Education (a local non-profit) provides educators with a variety of resources and strategies to support the development of mindfulness. It is free for download.
 
10 Tips for Integrating a Challenging Child into Your Family
These are excellent tips from those in the know.
 
Human Rights Campaign Will Host Free Webinar Series
HRC’s All Children – All Families is launching a new webinar series for adoption and foster care professionals. Starting this month through November, HRC will host five FREE webinars to aid social service providers who are working to improve their practice with LGBTQ children, youth and families.

“YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO!”: Practical Tips for Dealing with School Refusal on August 15, 2017 12:30PM EDT
Please join RTSC for a Free Webinar presented by: Dr. Lauren Marchette, Co-Director of the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic. Up to 28% of school-aged students refuse to go to school at some point. While school refusal behavior often resolves spontaneously, other times it does not. More persistent school refusal can lead to a range of negative, short- and long-term consequences, particularly without effective intervention. Join Dr. Lauren Marchette, Co-Director of the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic, to learn more about school refusal, along with how to support students in overcoming this challenge and successfully return to school.

Register Here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/239929213584747778

For more on this topic, please read our RTSC Feature Article below.


Featured Article Continued… 

“YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO!”: Practical Tips for Dealing with School Refusal
Janie Crecco, MA, MSEd, Training and Support Specialist, RTSC
 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015, is coming to full fruition this upcoming school year. One of the topics emphasized by the new law is the urgent need for school districts to obtain data and present a plan to reduce chronic absenteeism. Chronic absence differs from truancy in that it tracks both excused and unexcused absences. Recent research confirms that this problem is a cogent indicator of student health and well-being, and can hinder school success if not addressed. Data gathering must be broken down by various student subgroups, including racial and ethnic identity and disability status, as well as homeless and foster care students. The law also allows federal funds to be used for professional development. Although not specifically defined in the ESSA, most school districts consider “chronic” to mean 10% of days missed in a school year – combining excused and unexcused. This can also mean days lost due to suspensions. The intent of the focus is to identify those students who are at risk academically due to not being present in class to learn. The first data were released in June 2016 – on average, more than 14% of the national student population had missed 15 or more days in 2014-2015, or about 1 in 7 students.
 
What does the research say about chronic absenteeism and long term academic outcomes? According to the national non-profit Attendance Works, the following can occur:

  • Being chronically absent in PK, kindergarten and first grade can result in an inability to read at grade level in grade three
  • Students not reading at grade level by the end of grade three are four times more likely to drop out of high school 

Many factors can result in absence from school including Adverse Childhood Conditions at home, bullying in school, poor health (including mental health), non-supportive school climate, strict or zero-tolerance discipline, and many other things. However, once the student is in attendance, supports can be put in place and the school nurse can be an invaluable asset for returning students to class in a minimum of time.

For more on this topic, please register for our August 15th Webinar: “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO!”: Practical Tips for Dealing with School Refusal on August 15, 2017 12:30PM EDT presented by: Dr. Lauren Marchette, Co-Director of the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic.


*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 are provided in good faith, and nothing included in it should be taken to constitute or imply professional advice, an endorsement or a formal recommendation.