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November 2018

News and information about education, research, and support for SESPs; adoptive, foster, and kinship caregivers; and child welfare and education professionals helping children with trauma and other special needs get the most from their education.


Things to Consider…

Progress vs. Meaningful Progress: Why Knowing the Difference Makes All the Difference

How often do we hear the term ‘progress’, a student has made? But is it meaningful progress? And what does that mean? This article looks at the differences between progress versus meaningful progress of the student in comparison to their peers. Understanding this difference can help in developing much stronger measureable goals, leading to more effective progress reporting for your student.

Welcoming Students With a Smile

Looking for ways to help settle students and decrease the time that it takes for them to go from a chaotic environment, like to hallways, to the relative calmness of your classroom? Well that’s easier than one might think. Be proactive about role modeling good behavior by greeting each student as they enter the class with a smile and a simple gesture, like a hand shake or high-five. Recent studies have shown that this acknowledges the student while setting expectations for them.

Panel considers how to help former foster kids get college degrees and stable housing

Kareem Balance, 22, told a Utah legislative panel Wednesday that he has had a difficult time navigating college payments and finding stable housing after leaving Utah’s foster care system. Balance didn’t know which employees on campus could help him navigate the hurdles, he told Utah lawmakers on the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel. “Having that support system on campus would have been a tremendous help,” he said.

Juveniles in Custody for Noncriminal Acts

This interactive report shows the percentage of student that are being held in the juvenile justice system for status offenses, like truancy, verses technical violations, like missing a probation meeting. These are offenses that adults would not be held in custody for.

A Computer Science Teacher’s Take on Tech: Start With Relationships

“Technology can be powerful for learning and collaborating—as a computer science teacher, it’s what I live and breathe. And yet I also recognize that the most important community-building students do in my class doesn’t involve screens at all.” says Douglas Kiang, Computer Science Teacher. It’s all about the relationships! Great teaching happens in the way you let kids know that they are what matters—that the technologies, tools, and projects may change, but what doesn’t change is the fact that they are essential members of the learning community, that no one is invisible, and that everyone has value. This allows the student to engage on a different level, one in which they feel that regardless of their academic success, they matter!

When Love Is Not Enough

Read one parent’s journey through the foster care/adoption process. She indicates the frustration of trying to work within a system that doesn’t provide the knowledge or support regarding raising a child who has experienced trauma. She shares one experience of trying to work with a therapist who assumes that the child must not speak English, rather than seeing a child so repressed that he can’t interact with his environment.

Why Principals Need to Make Student Mental Health a Priority

An estimated 32 percent of adolescents have an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Twelve percent of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 say they have experienced one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The suicide rate among teenagers has been steadily on the rise since 2007. It’s gone up 30 percent among 15- to 19-year-old boys and doubled among girls, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the second leading cause of death in that age group. This year alone, within the first 8 days of school in the district of East Los Angeles 3 students committed suicide. The deaths were unrelated, but striking. How is mental health being dealt with in school districts, and where does that buck stop?

Useful Tools and Resources

11 Fall Self-Care Activities for October and November

How often do we feel like we’ve hit that mid-semester wall in our classrooms? Working with students with Trauma backgrounds can be very draining. That’s why it’s so important for professionals to have their own basket of treats, or self-care activities to use anytime that you begin to feel a little listless. Take a look and try one out today!

How to Support Someone Who Has Experienced Trauma

Do you know, work, or live with someone who has experienced trauma? Are you sometimes at a loss of how to appropriately respond or support them? This infographic will give you some ideas of do’s and don’t’s that can help keep things less reactive when you are trying to be supportive.

Children from Hard Places and the Brain 

This easy to understand video explains the brain’s early development and looks at how relationships fine tune and help solidify the neuropathways for a child.

Teaching Self-Regulation in the Early Grades

Looking for ways to teach self-regulation to younger students? Here are several ideas of sensory breaks that can be incorporated into the classroom, even with Pre-K students. Also explore additional information on How Can We Help Kids With Self-Regulation?