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

North Carolina Education Corps and Littera Education Partner to Improve Reading Achievement for North Carolina K-3 Students

New York — The North Carolina Education Corps (NCEC) will partner with Littera Education to support and improve reading outcomes for thousands of North Carolina students who need to get back on track after more than two years of learning interruptions.

Launched as a joint project of the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Office of the Governor as a response to the pandemic, NCEC now works with state-level agencies and local school districts as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit to recruit, train and support part-time literacy tutors. This year, Corps members will deliver high-impact tutoring to K-3 students in over 30 districts and charter organizations throughout North Carolina.

The partnership with Littera will give NCEC unmatched ability to track and assess the instruction. Littera’s Academic Support Platform simplifies scheduling and matching tutors with students; it also enables easy data aggregation, including what skills students covered and the length of sessions. A new mobile app allows tutors to instantly log feedback and session data from their phones, giving program coordinators continuous feedback as they support over 500 Corps members serving students across the state.…Read More

On the ground at ISTE Live22: Learning needs joy and civility

This week’s special edition of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan, comes live from one of the nation’s largest edtech conferences. At least 15,000 educators and edtech enthusiasts are gathered in New Orleans for ISTELive 22.

ISTE CEO Richard Culatta notes that we’ve “beaten the joy out of learning” in recent years. Now is the time to inspire educators and learners. Along with inspiration comes the idea of injecting civility, kindness, and understanding into education.

“It’s OK to disagree…you need to disagree; it’s how you learn, but we have to do it in a way that’s kind and civil, and you have to model that for kids,” Culatta said.…Read More

My simple strategy for long-term math retention

Even the best math teachers have had students who ace the chapter tests just to go on and struggle with that same content on the final exam—or students who have a hard time grasping more advanced concepts because they’ve forgotten the foundational learning that came before. As a high school math teacher for more than 15 years, I’ve seen it happen again and again.

Long-term math retention can be elusive. For students to succeed in math, they need to master precursor concepts—foundational, grade-level skills—yet traditional classroom routines focus more on cramming in new information. As a result, while students might be able to recall newly learned concepts for an immediate assignment or end-of-unit assessment, their grasp on these concepts fades over time.

Ensuring that math concepts stick is critical because so many new math lessons build on the information that has come before. If students don’t transfer this knowledge to their long-term memory, the consequences can be detrimental to their achievement in the future.…Read More

Is your district’s IT safe and accessible?

Cyberattacks against educational institutions have skyrocketed–and keeping student and educator information safe and protected is a top priority.

Schools need versatile solutions that update, adapt, and scale to support everyone, in and out of the classroom.

In an eSchool News webinar, cybersecurity and school district IT experts share tips on how to implement the Microsoft tools and systems to ensure your IT is safe, accessible, and easy to manage.…Read More

3 ways schools can use data to help students

Educators across the country are seeing a greater need to collect and use data to inform decisions as they work to help students. The pandemic severely disrupted our schools, and many districts used any student data they had to identify who was struggling and how to best provide support.

As districts continue to respond to the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, making the most of all available data to improve student outcomes remains critical to understanding the factors that most contribute to students’ success.

The power of using data is immense. When used properly, it can help districts make vital decisions about setting goals and providing targeted support for students. Whether you are new to data analytics in K-12 or a seasoned veteran, here are three practical ways to apply data to help drive better student outcomes.…Read More

National Readiness Report: A Look at COVID-19’s Impact on Learner Readiness and How Institutions Can Improve Student Success

PITTSBURGH, PA – It goes without saying that the COIVD-19 pandemic has impacted higher education and students across the globe. But to what degree? And how can institutions respond to the shifts in learning? SmarterServices recently published data that reveals both individual and technical skills have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the degree to which learner readiness has changed over the past ten years. Learner readiness has seen statistically significant changes and institutions may need to reevaluate their programming to improve student success.

Data on how COVID-19 has impacted learner readiness comes out of the National Readiness Report, published by SmarterServices. The report provides measures of central tendency for learner traits such as life factors and individual attributes as well as several skill sets, including on-screen reading rate and recall, technical competency, learning management system competency, general technical knowledge, and keyboarding rate and accuracy.

The attributes and skills are measured by the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator, which has been taken by over 6 million learners from over one thousand institutions. Through the National Readiness Report, institutions can compare the performance of their students to those of other students nationally. This year’s report reviews multiple comparisons of readiness levels within several demographic categories, a four-year comparison to determine the impact of the pandemic on learner readiness, and specifically how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted learner readiness over the quarantine period.…Read More

3 “keepers” from teaching in a pandemic

Who would have thought that we would still be teaching in the midst of a pandemic? At the beginning of this school year, public school districts had to make important decisions about how to approach this school year. How would they keep students safe? How would they continue to engage students in learning? And, how would they support teachers in the process?

At St. Vrain Valley Schools in Longmont, Colorado, we acknowledge we are teaching in a pandemic, yet we still need to move students forward and continue to help them grow. This is a delicate balance, especially as teachers are dealing with the stresses of a changing landscape and the desire to find their footing with new instructional challenges.

Prior to and particularly now during the pandemic, coaching has been a vital support in helping educators find balance and maintain the pace they are working. It has also given them adequate time and space to think and process the learning that is occurring in their classroom every day. …Read More

3 key actions for trauma-informed student supports

Most every K–12 teacher or administrator can anecdotally describe the mental health and wellness challenges their students now face. Statistically, it’s overwhelming—more than one-third (37 percent) of high school students report that they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and 44 percent of them reported they felt persistently sad or hopeless during the past year.

The degree and types of trauma students now face can be measured as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that demand deliberate and focused school-based supports that can mitigate the ACE’s impact on a student. We have talked for years about the challenges students face, but it is now time to actualize support systems that not only re-engage, but keep students engaged in their learning.

ACEs are traumatic experiences that occur in childhood, such as experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, and even economic and health disruptions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 61 percent of adults surveyed across 25 different states reported experiencing at least one type of ACE before age 18, and 1 in 6 adults reported experiencing 4 or more types of ACEs. While ACEs don’t have a single cause, they do have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, education and even job potential. Toxic stress from ACEs affects a child’s brain development, immune systems, and stress-response, leading to a decrease in a child’s attention, decision-making abilities, and learning. Yet, students often lack access to proper support.…Read More