Gaggle Announces a New Service: Gaggle Therapy

Psychological tolls on students from the pandemic and a shortage of school counselors are creating a tsunami of need for mental health support across the nation

Gaggle is launching a new service: Gaggle Therapy. Gaggle Therapy matches students who need mental health support with counselors licensed in their state for weekly teletherapy sessions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm, combining rising rates of depression and anxiety with a lack of resources to address those issues,” said Jeff Patterson, Gaggle’s founder and CEO. “School counseling departments are often understaffed, so school counselors need help with providing immediate or ongoing mental health care to students. That’s why we’ve launched Gaggle Therapy.”

“Therapy can have a number of positive outcomes for students, such as helping them develop effective communication skills, improve interpersonal relationships, and learn conflict resolution skills,” said Dr. Aida Vazin, a therapist with Gaggle Therapy. “Students are full of untapped potential. By addressing their mental health needs early, school districts can nurture that potential and empower students to be successful in school and in life.”

School counselors will identify students for therapy, and Gaggle will reach out to those students’ parents to explain the program and obtain informed consent. Gaggle will then match the students with licensed therapists and send a secure video login link for each session.

Students will participate in weekly 45-minute video therapy sessions for as long as their treatment plan states is necessary. Therapy sessions will be scheduled at convenient times for students, including evenings and weekends. Students will be able to log on for therapy sessions from home or at school.

Gaggle only partners with state-licensed therapists who have undergone a background check and who have a track record of providing mental health support to children and teens. Students’ records and documentation are managed through secure patient management software.

For more information about Gaggle Therapy, please visit https://news.gaggle.net/announcing-gaggle-therapy.

About Gaggle| www.gaggle.net

Since 1999, Gaggle has been the leader in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. Using a powerful combination of artificial intelligence and trained safety experts, the safety solution proactively assists districts 24/7/365 in the prevention of student suicide, bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence, and other harmful situations. Most importantly, Gaggle continues to help hundreds of districts avoid tragedies and save lives, while also protecting their liability. During the 2019–20 academic year, Gaggle helped districts save the lives of 927 students who were planning or actually attempting suicide. For more information, visit www.gaggle.net and follow Gaggle on Twitter at @Gaggle_K12.

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Vote for the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge Improving Lives Award Winner

3M and Discovery Education today welcome students, teachers, and communities nationwide to help identify the winner of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge Improving Lives Award. Selected through a nationwide online vote, the Improving Lives Award highlights one project from the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge top 10 finalists the public believes has the potential to change the most lives. The online public voting period is open September 28 – October 9, 2020 at youngscientistlab.com.

The winner of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge and the Improving Lives Award will be revealed at an interactive virtual celebration on October 13, 2020. For the first time ever, the public will be invited to watch the final event live.

“At 3M, improving lives is at the core of what we do. The 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists exemplify the power of scientific inquiry: ingenuity, problem solving, and critical thinking, while working towards a common goal. With the Improving Lives Award, communities across the U.S. can see first-hand the importance of STEM education for fostering a growth mindset that can lead to greater equity and new ideas for change,” said Denise Rutherford, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at 3M.

As part of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, each of the top 10 finalists will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to work virtually with a 3M scientist who will mentor them as they evolve their invention from idea to prototype. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 and the prestigious title of America’s Top Young Scientist. In its 13th year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge continues to inspire and challenge middle school students to think creatively and apply the power of STEM to discovering real-world solutions.

“The Young Scientist Challenge celebrates the power our nation’s students have to tackle real-world problems by using STEM and collaborating with scientist mentors to bring their ideas to life,” said Lori McFarling, President of Corporate & Community Partnerships at Discovery Education. “This is project-based learning at its best, and we’re especially excited to welcome the public to watch these incredible students when they demonstrate their work live on October 13th.”

To learn more about the 3M Young Scientist Challenge and meet this year’s finalists, visit youngscientistlab.com. The award-winning 3M Young Scientist Challenge supplements the 3M and Discovery Education program – Young Scientist Lab – which provides no-cost dynamic digital resources for students, teachers, and families to explore, transform, and innovate the world around them. All the resources are also available through the Young Scientist Lab Channel and Community Partnerships Channel on Discovery Education Experience, the digital service whose high-quality resources and instructional supports for educators are enriching student learning and extending it to the real world.

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook or find us on Instagram and Pinterest.

About 3M
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 96,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at www.3M.com or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms. Through its award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia resources, and the largest professional learning network of its kind, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning, creating immersive STEM experiences, and improving academic achievement around the globe. Discovery Education currently serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to empower teachers with customized solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.DiscoveryEducation.com.

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Tackling unfinished learning in mathematics

As schools across the nation resume in person or virtually, unfinished learning and achievement gaps—especially in mathematics—must be addressed

The 2019–20 school year was unlike any other, and there is uncertainty about what teaching and learning will look like this fall. School closures this spring caused students to miss important learning opportunities in mathematics, and educational inequities and unfinished learning have become more pronounced.

While educators are eager to provide a welcoming, coherent instructional experience when students return to school, there are concerns about the impact of unfinished learning. One reaction may be to jam in more topics and cover both the grade-level content and what may have been missed the previous year. Another may be to assess students upon arrival and immediately try to fill in the unfinished learning or place students in remediation.

Related content: Putting unfinished learning back on track

As well-intentioned as these ideas may be, they can have a negative impact on students mentally, emotionally, and mathematically. We know that speeding up instruction to cover more topics does not lead to lasting understanding. We also know the importance of spending as much time as possible accessing grade-level mathematics. In addition, we know that student engagement is an important condition for learning mathematics — and in the COVID-19 era, it is more important than ever. It is the key to drawing in students who are anxious about unfinished learning.

Because most teachers will not have added days for additional lessons in 2020–21, decisions must be made about how to prioritize the major work of each grade and how to support students in accessing that content.

Here are three suggestions to help strike the right balance this fall.

1. Incorporate prior grade-level knowledge and skills, when necessary, to support access to current grade-level content.

Integrating prior grade-level content into the current grade level is challenging work. It includes supporting students’ well-being and emotional needs while maintaining the delicate balance of adding more things to teach and minding the number of days in the school year.

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How to use tech tools to help students respect diversity

Encouraging students to respect diversity and different cultures is possible during distance learning, with the help of a few tech tools

A troubling incident occurred a few years ago in my Literature and Writing Foundations class at the local high school, highlighting the need for a focus on diversity. One of my tenth-grade students suddenly stood up, walked to the back of the room, mumbled something to his classmate, a newcomer from India, and pulled off his turban. This student, a devout Sikh, was humiliated when his hair was uncovered. He immediately ran out of the room – his long black hair exposed and flowing. When he returned with his turban in place, I directed both boys to join me in the hallway.

“Please apologize,” I implored the tenth grader. “You embarrassed your classmate. You know you are not allowed to touch another student or his belongings.”

“Why does he wear that hat on his head? He has beautiful, shiny hair.”

“Wearing a turban is an important belief in his religion. Sikh boys and men must keep their hair covered.”

“Aw, I just wanted to have a little fun. Why doesn’t he wear a baseball cap?” Then, noticing his classmate had tears in his eyes, he added, “I’m really sorry.”

Although my student’s actions were at least partially motivated by his desire for mischief, nevertheless, his actions demonstrated his negative feeling towards his Sikh classmate. This behavior occurred despite my efforts to create a culturally responsive classroom. Activities such as reading multicultural literature, sharing stories about students’ native cultures, and participating in a district wide cultural fair celebrating diversity encouraged students to appreciate diversity, however; deeply ingrained mindsets and behavior were not so easy to change.

Related content: 6 questions to ask to build a culturally-inclusive classroom

I recently recalled this incident after George Floyd’s tragic death led our nation to challenge systematic racism. Teachers throughout our country have resolved to discuss this tragedy with their students and develop a curriculum that includes respect for diversity and social justice. Now, however, as the COVID pandemic is changing the way instruction is provided, I wondered if teachers would be able to reach this goal.

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More Catholic schools are closing permanently

In more than four decades of coaching girls’ basketball at Lebanon Catholic High School in southeastern Pennsylvania, Patti Hower had led the team to three state championships and 20 district titles. This year, with four starting players returning, there were high hopes again, according to the New Yorkk Times.

But then in April came the news: the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announced that the school, whose origins date to 1859, was permanently closing, citing insurmountable financial stress, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Looking for the little wins

How one district manages the new remote school year by focusing on social-emotional learning first

Everyone has a crazy COVID story. For Brigantine, NJ Superintendent Glenn Robbins, it goes something like this—lead a school district through a global pandemic having hardly met the students, parents, or faculty.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Glenn details the never-ending variables of getting back to school in 2020 and how the priority should be well-being first. In some cases, technology can help–not hinder.

Related content: Hard work is helping these schools thrive during COVID-19

eSN: You started in this position just a few weeks before the madness began right?

GR: Yes, I started here in February, and then the whole world shut down in the middle of March. I had to quickly start getting to know everybody. We didn’t know what this was going to look like or how long would we be out for. We brought in our city manager, we brought in our mayor, we brought in our administrative team, our teachers, plus a couple of parents. You name it. We all sat together in one big group and said, “Look, this is not about leadership titles and ego here. This is about leadership for what’s best for our community.”

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Prioritizing school funding in the midst of multiple crises

School funding has always been a challenge, but a recession and pandemic have made it even more of a hurdle for many districts in recent years

Faced with fast-changing instructional models, varying infection rates, decreasing revenue sources, and a variety of natural disasters, how can education finance officials meet the short-term needs of their districts as well as longer-term school funding requirements?

During a recent edLeader Panel, four experts shared their recent experiences and current perspectives on the issues and challenges that school districts have been coping with during the past six months. They also discussed interim solutions and plans for the future, all of which are continuing to evolve.

Related content: Using title funds for STEM education

A number of the speakers actually had wildfires raging nearby as they spoke, while the combined impact of the pandemic and related recession were also presenting urgent challenges to the well-being of local students and educators, as well as to parents and other community members.

Creative re-purposing and partnering

For Dr. Lisa Gonzales, Chief Business Officer of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in California, one of the biggest changes and challenges was her district’s sudden switch during the summer from a return to schools to going entirely online at the start of the new school year. With more than 29,000 students and 50 school sites spread over 150 square miles, providing needed services to a diverse student population in a wide range of different settings was no easy task.

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4 ways to get the most out of early childhood funding during distance learning

Not all educational institutions have clear plans on how to spend funding in the most effective way--here’s what one nonprofit leader learned during the rapid transition to distance learning in the spring

COVID-19 is leading to months of learning loss for students across the state of California. So state leaders are providing schools $5.3 billion in funding to try to address the issue moving forward. Much of that money is going to devices, software, and internet access for distance learning. The challenge for education organizations here and across the country is knowing how to deploy available funding to have the biggest effect on teaching and learning.

As the general manager of education, instruction, and operations at nonprofit Neighborhood House Association, I oversaw an urgent and unexpected transition to distance learning last spring. In the case of our children still preparing for kindergarten, we were fortunate enough to have an experienced partner to help us navigate the challenges. After experiencing the process, I learned four key lessons that will benefit schools and districts looking to support distance learning this fall.

Related content: The COVID crisis reminds us that education requires co-creation

Finding like-minded partners

Neighborhood House Association is a 105-year-old nonprofit organization based in San Diego. We operate 26 different social service programs that support children from pregnancy through their senior year of high school. As part of that work, we administer Head Start programs for about 7,000 students at 120 locations around San Diego. We don’t do it alone, though. We have partnerships with school districts, community colleges, childcare providers, and any other organizations committed to the education and welfare of children.

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Helping students with autism navigate a socially distanced classroom

Some well-planned strategies can help students with autism thrive as school resumes--even with social distancing measures in place

While many educators and students are returning to the familiar classrooms left abruptly in March, teaching this upcoming year will be anything but business as usual. In a recent edWebinar, Aimee Dearmon, Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), says the disruption of routines, schedules, classroom layouts, and necessary social distancing protocols will be very difficult for our most vulnerable students with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Related content: Strategies for teaching students with autism

Even under the best circumstances, these populations struggle to adjust to changes, and now the struggle will be exacerbated due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Dearmon emphasizes that schools and educators need to develop safe and healthy classroom action plans for students with autism and other disabilities that include environmental arrangement, classroom organization, rotations, hygiene, and material sharing.

The biggest challenge with developing classroom action plans is establishing the same level of support to these students while maintaining social distancing. Educators need to craft strategies and processes that meet health guidelines and ensure that students understand and adapt to new routines and behavioral expectations.

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4 keys to teaching the science of reading in a virtual setting

Here's how educators can use evidence-based best practices for literacy lessons--the science of reading--no matter where students are

More and more educators are being trained in the science of reading. Backed by a body of research amassed over five decades from disciplines including linguistics, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience, the science of reading has provided some baseline guidance for teaching all students.

Of course, as is always the case in education, the implementation of evidence-based best practices is not always simple—and the school closures caused by COVID-19 have added a new complication.

Related content: How we turned around our reading program

With the 2020-2021 academic year upon us, educators are facing different logistical issues, but they’re all facing a similar challenge regarding distance learning. No matter how your district is handling back to school 2020, major adjustments will be required in every aspect of the learning process. To help ease educators’ strain, here are a few ways to apply the science of reading, no matter what the setting.

Providing a reliable connection

From an equity standpoint, making sure every student has access to video or the internet to use a phonics-based, science of reading-approved reading program is essential. Of course, students could take advantage of their school’s internet, but now many schools are offering hotspots to students who don’t have internet access at home. Schools are getting inventive about how to build equity in a way we have never seen before. Coming up with a plan B to support all students from all backgrounds is going to be vital to the success of a student’s virtual learning experience.

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