March 2016

Things to Consider in March 2016 from the RTSC:

How Will the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Support Students in Foster Care?
The new federal legislation passed by Congress on December 10, 2015 addresses school stability and success for students in the nation’s child welfare system. For the first time, federal education law seeks to offer protections to a very vulnerable population. This brief Q and A outlines these specific protections and provides resources for further information.

Joy: A Subject Schools Lack
Based on the tongue-in-cheek presumption that …”the country’s whole schoolsystem seems geared toward solving large-scale economic woes and producing future workers” … in fact, the prevailing view is that if teachers focus too much on students’ pleasure they will somehow be encouraging wanton self-indulgence and dangerous hedonism”, this article from The Atlantic looks at the Freudian axiom that all human beings are in pursuit of joy, and, in fact, have a right to happiness. School experiences should not be like taking bad medicine, but an enriching experience that follows human tendencies to experiment (even when failure is inevitable), socialize, distract oneself when bored, and ultimately satiate their innate thirst for knowledge.

Research-based Strategies to Help Children Develop Self-Control
This article looks at the outcomes of Walter Miscel’s famous 50-year-old marshmallow experiment as being determined by the trusting relationship between the child and the researcher. He agrees that children from unstable and unpredictable environments may be testing belief in authority rather than expressing self-control. Self-distracting and self-distancing are seen as strategies used to delay gratification and achieve positive outcomes. One of the marshmallow experiment videos is included, along with a Sesame Street short demonstrating the strategies Cookie Monster uses to help himself wait to eat a cookie in order to get two cookies.

Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope
A new documentary by Jamie Redford, in sequel to his film Paper Tigers,examines the birth of the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study and follows up on the students who were profiled in the first film.  New research in pediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the neurologically damaging effects of toxic stress. The Resilience trailer is included.

***RTSC plans to screen Paper Tigers throughout the state in the upcoming months. Keep checking your email for an invitation to these events.

What Happens When Instead of Suspensions, Kids Talk Out Their Mistakes?
This article confronts the newest research that finds that students who are suspended face increasing academic challenges, and those who are suspended are disproportionately boys of color or students with disabilities. For the past year, The Hechinger Report has been following Pittsfield, New Hampshire’s school transformation into a “student-centered learning” environment that includes a nonconfrontational forum for students to talk through their problems, address the underlying reasons for their own behaviors, and make amends both to individuals who have been affected as well as to the larger school community. The costs and benefits of the restorative justice process are discussed.

***The RTSC March Webinar will focus on restorative justice practices. Look for your invitation coming to your inbox soon.

Can – and Should – Young Children Really Meditate?
This preliminary study calls for more research on mindfulness as an effective intervention in pre-school and kindergarten populations – a way to offer children experiencing adversity a way to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors, potentially preventing disruptions to healthy brain development. Based in Eastern Zen practices (and frequently practiced among Chinese early education programs), some kid-friendly strategies are presented with good outcomes for increased attention and effortful self-control.