3 strategies to support youth mental health

Every year more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States–that breaks down to 7,000 students every day. Leaving high school has major implications for the rest of a student’s life, including considerably higher rates of unemployment, poverty, depression, chronic physical and mental illness, incarceration, and even a shorter life span

Among the students who do not complete high school, over 20 percent did so because of early onset psychiatric disorders, with mood disorders being the most common.

This is extremely concerning, as the U.S. has recently experienced significant increases in struggles with youth mental health. In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, along with the Surgeon General issuing a national advisory in the wake of alarming increases in the prevalence of mental health challenges.…Read More

What if we gave every teacher a work from home day?

School and district-based staff are understandably wary about the new school year. Teachers, the majority of whom are women, are struggling under the immense pressure of pandemic schooling. Many have worked long hours to try to support their own families while keeping up with the demands of online teaching and changing COVID-19 protocols.

Teacher retention rates were already declining pre-pandemic, and the shortage of educators across roles may be widening. Preparation programs are facing fewer numbers of new educators entering the workforce; thirteen percent of graduate programs surveyed by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education reported seeing “significant declines” in the numbers of new students. Of those graduating, many may be turning to remote options right out of the gate. Member programs in the national Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance reported increased hiring of online teachers since 2020.

Educators want the same flexibility that’s traditionally more available to those in corporate settings. In a 2021 survey, fifteen percent of teachers said flexibility to work from home would “make a major difference in reducing the likelihood they leave the profession.”…Read More

Poptential™ Free History Curriculum Helps Teachers Explain the Significance of Labor Day With Media-Rich Content

INDIANAPOLIS, (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — When teaching about the labor movement in the United States, instructors often focus on Cesar Chavez and Peter McGuire to illustrate the rise of unions and workers’ rights. Poptential™, a free curriculum that infuses lessons with digital storytelling using pop culture references, also uses SpongeBob SquarePants.

“It’s been more than 125 years since the first Labor Day was observed, and the labor movement can seem a little dry to today’s high school students,” said Julie Smitherman, a former social studies teacher and director of content at Certell, Inc., the nonprofit behind Poptential. “Adding digital storytelling—like the SpongeBob clip—helps students better relate to these topics.”

Poptential uses a variety of pop culture media to illustrate concepts, including those taken from sitcoms, movies, animations, cartoons, late-night shows, and other sources.…Read More

A supe’s 6 back-to-school tips for virtual district leaders

Over 30 years ago, I took my first job in public education as a biology high school teacher, and instantly knew this was the career path for me. What solidified my passion for education were the “ah-ha” moments, or those moments when at first a student struggled, and then, after teaching them in a way they could relate to, seeing their eyes light up from the excitement of learning.

I worked in a variety of roles in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, from dean of students to principal to now overseeing the strategy and vision of one of the largest online public school districts in the nation. No matter my position, my priority has and will always be making sure we are doing what is best for students.

I have prepared for the first day of school in many roles throughout my career, and while the planning may seem overwhelming at times, I found that if you have a list of tasks to check off, the entire process runs smoother.…Read More

School System, County, and Police Partner on New Modernized Bus Initiative to Enhance Student Safety in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County, MD, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Every day in Maryland, thousands of drivers fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. Anne Arundel County Public Schools hopes to halt dangerous driving around its school buses beginning this fall with the launch of a new safety initiative in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and BusPatrol.

As part of the initiative, the entire AACPS bus fleet of approximately 750 school buses, including those owned by contractors, is being upgraded with advanced safety technology that features AI-powered stop-arm cameras to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers that illegally pass school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.

“There is no bigger cornerstone in the foundation of educational success than the ability to transport students safely to and from our school buildings,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark T. Bedell said. “This partnership is another step in accomplishing that, and we are grateful to those who have invested time, resources, and energy in it. I urge everyone who utilizes our county’s roads to do so in cautious manner so that we do not put our children at risk.”…Read More

TutorMe Partners with Rural Wyoming School District, Providing Students with Diversified Academic Support

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) JULY 27, 2022 — TutorMe, an online tutoring solution creating access and opportunity for all students, announces a partnership with  Park County School District #16 in Meeteetse, WY, supporting students with high-dosage tutoring and supplemental academic support. Made possible through a  Wyoming Department of Education grant for after-school and extended day efforts, each K–12 student at Park County School District #16 will have 24/7 access to TutorMe’s high-quality tutors starting this fall—providing students with additional teaching perspectives and avenues for learning.

Park County School District #16 consists of just one school and serves around 90 K–12 students from Meeteetse and surrounding communities. Due to the small student population, teachers are often providing instruction for several grade levels each school day. The partnership with TutorMe ensures students receive the personalized, 1:1 support needed to succeed.

“We are excited to have one more tool available to our students and teachers,” said Shane Ogden, Superintendent of Park County School District #16. “Being a small rural school, our students receive their education from some of the finest educators, yet their options are limited in having lessons presented in varying methods. TutorMe will expose our students to seeing and hearing content in a different way which provides our students additional opportunities to learn and grow.”…Read More

Paraprofessionals: The unsung heroes of the classroom

Staffing shortages continue to impact schools across the U.S., and vacancies are an increasingly common occurrence. Parents’ minds often jump first to teacher shortages, with significant numbers of teachers leaving schools in 2022 in search of less stressful work. But another essential role in schools is facing an equally urgent staffing crisis: paraprofessionals.

Paraprofessionals, also referred to as classroom aides or a primary support person (PSP), are the glue in the school day, supporting teachers in monitoring classroom activities and ensuring that all students are where they need to be. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are greater than a million aides working in K-12 schools nationwide, with a meaningful subset focused on supporting special education delivery.

Paraprofessionals are particularly essential in special education. They’re an integral part of a team, working closely with clinicians—speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists—and students, both one-on-one and in small groups. They play a critical role in assisting the evaluation process on the student side, they document student behavior, and support assistive devices. In some circumstances, they may act as an extension of the hands of the clinician, helping to guide the student in various tasks.…Read More

How Minecraft and agriculture lead to an esports competition

Our world is changing around us in so many ways, and the climate crisis is proving to be one of the paramount challenges of the 21st century. As temperatures rise, our food systems across the globe feel the impacts of this man-made phenomenon. This heightens the pressing need to mitigate our carbon emissions, as well as adapt to climate impacts. We need to foster sustainability across all spheres, especially in the preservation and resilience of our agricultural systems.

Despite the fact that we all consume food every day, there is a disconnect between the needs of modern agriculture and challenges many farmers face due to climate change. So few of us truly know where our food comes from and teachers do not always have tools for raising awareness and educating on this important topic. This is why NASEF Farmcraft was developed. 

Farmcraft is a global esports competition hosted by the nonprofit NASEF and the U.S. Department of State. It is aimed at students grades 3-12 and participation is free for students from all over the world. This year we had participants from 68 countries! Teams register with the support of an educator or other adult sponsor and take part in a wide variety of activities that teach about the connections between modern agriculture, climate change, and biodiversity. …Read More

Can your schools keep pace with student mental health demands?

Even before the pandemic, a third of U.S. students struggled with anxiety, depression, trauma, or attention issues that made it difficult to focus, stay motivated, and learn. That number has grown exponentially during the pandemic and recovery: now half of students feel persistently sad or hopeless. This is an urgent need that schools can no longer ignore.

Why? Coping with mental health concerns negatively impacts young people’s ability to meet the many demands of school—from learning, to interacting with peers, to maintaining energy and stamina through the physical demands of the day. Early intervention is critical, or else these students can spiral quickly into avoidance and loss of motivation. This impacts grades, attendance, discipline, and referrals to special education.

Even pre-pandemic, 50 percent or fewer of children and adolescents with a mental health disorder had received services in the previous 12 months. That number is certainly higher today. And yet, many schools have struggled to implement anything beyond Tier 1 interventions, which are simply mental health-related activities designed to meet the needs of all students regardless of whether or not they are at risk for mental health problems.…Read More