October 2016

Consider This Things to Consider in October 2016 from RTSC:

Amid Opioid Epidemic, States Experiment with Recovery High Schools
This article describes the dual purpose of Ostiguy Public High School – an alternative school within the Boston Public School system – which is to educate students and provide therapy at the same time. Ostiguy is funded jointly by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health in partnership with community service agencies. Staying sober, attending school every day, and studying hard can be an overwhelming challenge that takes numerous supports and a lot of financing.

Girls Coping with Trauma Are Often Met with Harsh Discipline at School
The author speaks to the issue of racially disparate and harsh student discipline that can push girls of color out of school - and sometimes into the criminal justice system - instead of getting them the help they need to cope with trauma.  A harrowing history of sexual abuse usually is one of many adverse childhood experiences for girls – far more than for boys. The use of male School Resource Officers to discipline these students can compound the traumatic stress and put academic success even farther out of reach.

$10 Million TEAM UP for Children Initiative Launched to Improve Pediatric Mental Health in Greater Boston
Recent progress in treatments means that common childhood mental disorders can now be treated safely and effectively within lower-cost, accessible primary care locations, such as community health centers. TEAM UP for Children will help address the need for integration between primary and behavioral health care for children by awarding grants over a four-year period to three highly regarded community health centers in the Greater Boston area: The Dimock Center in Roxbury, Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester and Lowell Community Health Center, serving a combined 20,000 children. Boston Medical Center (BMC) will lead the implementation of the project and provide clinical consultation, training for the health centers and care for the most acutely ill patients.

Yale Study: Implicit bias may help explain high preschool expulsion rates for black children
The U.S. Department of Education released statistics this summer showing black children are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended from preschool than their white peers. This Yale study provides compelling evidence of the implicit bias behind those preschool suspension rates. Findings suggest that when the preschool teacher and child were of the same race, knowing about family stressors led to increased teacher empathy for the preschooler and decreased how severe the behaviors appeared to the teacher. But, when the teacher and child were of a different race, the same family information seemed to overwhelm the teachers and the behaviors were perceived as being more severe.

Pam Wessel-Estes: Member Spotlight & Amazing Video about Parenting with ACEs
This compelling, “homemade” video has a professional quality that is heartbreaking and honest. It gives a brief summary of the ACEs test and study and is honest and hopeful without minimizing the impact of ACEs or offering simplistic cures or solutions. These parents have gained a better understanding of their own parents and themselves, and are determined to break the generational cycle of trauma.

Useful Tools and Resources

Points of Contact: How They Can Help Students in Foster Care?
As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), schools must now provide extra supports for students in child welfare.  This factsheet outlines the requirements for points of contact within child welfare agencies and education agencies to support students in foster care, and provides some examples of roles and responsibilities for each.

Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have to Eat Alone
According to the 16 year-old app creator, “The way that it works is it’s a free lunch-planning app where kids can find lunch tables if they feel like they have nowhere to go. Pretty much, kids can sign up as ambassadors for a Sit With Us club and agree to post open lunches so that anyone who has the app and has nowhere to go can find a table and, hopefully, make some new friends.”

Educational Stability for Children and Youth in Foster Care – Child Welfare Information Gateway
The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes new provisions that promote educational stability for children in foster care so they can continue their education without disruption, maintain important relationships, and have the opportunity to achieve college and career readiness. The law also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and joint decision-making between child welfare agencies and educational agencies. This new Web page contains all the foster care Guidances and Letters issued through the ESSA, along with a list of regional liaisons seeking to increase collaboration between state agencies.

Safe School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (SECURe)
The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) have designed the SECURe Implementation Rubrics to help school districts, schools, and law enforcement agencies determine the type of school-police partnership that will be most effective in their community and, where appropriate, to incorporate school-based law enforcement officers, commonly referred to as school resource officers (SROs), into the school learning environment. These rubrics include five suggested action steps to ensure safe school-based enforcement though collaboration, understanding, and respect within a community’s schools. Each action step is based on research and evidence and reflects examples of existing school and law enforcement partnerships across the country.