September 2016

Consider This Things to Consider in September 2016 from RTSC:

EdTalks: Big Ideas about Education
The Massachusetts Teachers’ Association website offers a series of videos called EdTalks, featuring several short presentations from teachers who have “big ideas about education,” recorded during the MTA Summer Conferences between 2012 and 2016. Of special interest are videos on Unconditional Positive Regard, Using Meditation in the Classroom, and How Punk Rock Makes Me a Better Teacher.

Every Student Succeeds Act: What’s In It for Students with Disabilities?
This series of presentations provides a look at important provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) especially with regard to high risk student populations (homeless, foster care and juvenile justice-involved youth) with an emphasis on students with disabilities in those populations. A presentation on the responsibilities of charter schools regarding students with disabilities is also included.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Head Start?
Contrary to recent findings by the Peabody Research Institute — which found that the effects of enrollment in a large scale, state-funded pre-K program disappeared entirely by the end of kindergarten — participants in Head Start exhibited higher high school graduation rates and were more likely to have completed some kind of higher education credential. Improvements in self-control and self-esteem were especially relevant.

Putting the Power of Self-Knowledge to Work
This article from the New York Times examines how a growing network of health care professionals, educators, government officials, social service workers and community leaders are working to impart knowledge about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) into public consciousness. Those who have experienced a high number of ACEs benefit from realizing their experience is not unique and that understanding their own lives better can help them create change.

Preparing for the Road Ahead: Helping Young People Transition From Foster Care to Adulthood
This publication from the Jim Casey Initiative highlights key strategies, including: teaching young people how to be financially capable to achieve personal goals; integrating young people’s voices into every part of its work; and collaborating with national and local partners in the public and private sectors, policymakers and young people to create conditions that improve outcomes for youth transitioning to adulthood.

More Kids for Fewer Homes?
The author expresses his concern that there is no national or state data on the number or type of foster homes currently available. Trying to verify the problem of a foster home shortage and its extent, he found data hard to come by. Based on anecdotal data and news reports, he ascertains that foster homes shortages vary by state, by county, and by special populations, including: teens, sibling groups, blacks and Hispanics, and physically or mentally challenged children.

Policing the Teenage Brain
This Atlantic Monthly article interviews the Executive Director of Strategies for Youth (SFY), an organization that partners with Jeff Bostic, the director of school psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. SFY has spent the last five years convincing police officers they can dramatically lower the number of youth arrests, recidivism rates, and minor offenses that can lead young people to repeated encounters with the law. This can be done, she says, by treating youth differently and adopting a developmental approach.

Useful Tools and Resources

Adoptive Families Together (AFT): A Support Network for Parents In addition to in-person support groups throughout the state, MSPCC (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) has recently created an online support group for families who might not be able to attend group meetings. MSPCC also maintains a list of personally recommended service providers, including doctors, therapists, and other specialists with experience helping adoptive families.

Supporting the Success of Homeless Children and Youths A fact sheet & tips for teachers, principals, school leaders, counselors, and other school staff.

Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education  This thought-provoking solo piece by Anna Deavere Smith about the school-to-prison pipeline is making its New England premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge through September 17th.

Trauma Informed Practice Strategies (T.I.P.S.) for Foster Parents This two-page list provides many practical suggestions on how to ease the anxiety and fears of children recently removed from their parents and their homes.