6 trends to watch in K-12 schools in 2024

This post originally appeared on the Christensen Institute’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

Key points:

As we move through the beginning of 2024, parent power, rethinking assessments, and career and technical education (CTE) for every student are some of the trends rippling through K-12 education. …Read More

Loudoun County Public Schools Offers New Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Resources for Parents and Students

SALT LAKE CITY – The Cook Center for Human Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention, has partnered with Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to provide ParentGuidance.org to LCPS’ schools and families. Members of the LCPS community now have free access to a range of online mental health resources that empower families to help children thrive, including:

  • One-on-one parent coaching individualized for families;
  • Online on-demand lessons taught by licensed therapists; and
  • Live, interactive family mental health series webinars hosted by trained professionals – available in the fall of 2024;

“Talking about mental health and other concerns is the key to understanding,” says Jennifer Evans, M. Ed., LPC, Director of Student Mental Health Services at LCPS. “Through ParentGuidance.org’s parent coaching and webinars, we are aiming to help parents address important mental health and developmental topics to support their children. Parents will gain tools and strategies that will enable them to talk with their children, engage in, and normalize important conversations about mental health.”

The Cook Center’s model focuses on the protective factors for youth mental health and suicide prevention in which schools and parents play a critical role. Though only two years old, ParentGuidance.org has already been adopted by 229 districts and 3,617 schools, offering more than 2.4 million families access to services across 37 states.…Read More

Helping students navigate college majors

Key points:

  • Choosing a college major is one of the biggest decisions for most students
  • Future earnings and career satisfaction should be carefully balanced
  • See related article: A smarter way to think about college
  • For more news on college readiness, see eSN’s Innovative Teaching page

Deciding on a college major is a tricky decision for even the most dedicated of students. Before enrolling, students have to consider their own skills, their career prospects, and their ability to thrive within the department at large.

As a parent, guidance counselor, or teacher, you can help students navigate college majors by doing a little research of your own. Focus on learning more about the student’s goals and motivations, and look into potential professors before the semester starts. This will help you guide students toward a major that is both enjoyable and financially rewarding. …Read More

6 tips for communicating with emergent bilingual families

Key points:

Experienced educators understand that students thrive when their families are actively engaged in their education.

This is particularly crucial as we navigate the challenges of helping students recover from the disruptions caused by the pandemic. One demographic that warrants special attention in terms of family communication is emerging bilingual (EB) families. Federal data reveals a significant shift in K-12 enrollment, with EB learners comprising 10 percent of K-12 students in 2020 (and closer to 20 percent in California and Texas), a number projected to keep rising. In terms of impact on teachers, 64 percent have at least one EB student in their classroom.…Read More

How we ensure flexibility in our school district communications

Key points:

  • School district communications can be complicated by multiple languages and how families prefer to receive messages
  • Flexible communications can help districts resolve a number of issues, including parent outreach and delinquent accounts
  • See related article: Language barriers still impede home-school communication

Fairfield City Schools is a suburban district with approximately 10,000 students. About 40 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, and we have large populations of Spanish- and Nepali-speaking students.

With so many students coming from a range of backgrounds, school district communications can be challenging for us. To complicate matters further, the communication system that we previously used made it appear as if our messages had been sent when they had not. It caused an onslaught of complaints from families that took me and other staff away from doing our jobs. Here’s how we make sure that we are able to deliver the correct messages to the people who need to hear them while regaining time to focus on other tasks.…Read More

Your top 5 school-home communication challenges, solved

Key points:

Implementing a unified communication solution focused on family engagement provides school districts with multiple benefits. An intuitive, easy-to-use program can standardize communication between school and home, for example, and increase overall family engagement.

Selecting the right K-12 communications platform that supports the needs of everyone and is purpose-built to engage families can save everyone time, increase technology adoption, save money, and diminish or eliminate any confusion.…Read More

CoderZ Names Tony Oran as Chief Executive Officer

DERRY, N.H. – CoderZ, the award-winning, gamified, cloud-based robotics and STEM platform, has announced that Tony Oran is joining the company as its CEO in the USA.

Oran has extensive experience in sales, marketing as well as business leadership and development. He comes to CoderZ from Festo Didactic, the technical education equipment and solution provider where he held several executive positions, most recently vice president of sales for the company’s North America division. Before that, Oran was also director of strategic business development and partnerships.

Previously, Oran held multiple management roles at Festo Didactic’s parent company Festo Group, a worldwide supplier of automation technology, equipment, and solutions for industrial and technical education. Before Festo, he served as an operations leader for various companies.…Read More

Ransomware attacks on schools are only getting worse

Just a few years ago, ransomware probably didn’t rank very high on a list of things parents regularly talked about. But the odds are getting higher that if you ask a parent about it now, they’ll have plenty to say.

Fourteen percent of parents of school-age children in the U.S. responded to a recent survey saying that they had experienced a ransomware attack on their kids’ school. That number was just 9 percent a year ago. The rate of attacks appears to be growing, with a higher percentage of parents saying it happened last summer or this school year, compared to those who experienced it the year before.

Criminals attacked school districts in Tucson, Arizona, and Nantucket, Massachusetts, in late January, cancelling classes for one district and sending administrators to work from home at the other. The attacks marked the fourth and fifth publicly-disclosed incidents in January alone, although survey data indicates that schools may be getting targeted at a higher rate than that, and some incidents may simply not be getting disclosed.…Read More

Federal COVID relief funding will dry up soon. Are districts ready?

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

For the past couple of years, the Detroit Public Schools Community District has been able to tap its share of federal COVID relief aid to fund after-school enrichment programs that help students recover from learning lost during the pandemic.

But those funds will soon run out, and Detroit and other districts face some tough decisions about which programs and employees they can afford to keep once federal support is gone. …Read More

5 ways video improves school-home communication

Increasingly, district leaders are incorporating video into school-home communication. Many districts that tried video options out of necessity during the pandemic are seeing the benefits that video can provide for parent engagement and are expanding video options even as schools are back to in-person instruction.

Districts are finding that using video can improve school-home communication by making the process of engagement easier for parents. Video options can help with:

  • Removing barriers to school-home communication.
  • Providing educators with real-time connections with students’ families without the hassles of gathering everyone in the same location.
  • Reaching parents who might be hard to engage otherwise. If a parent is working two jobs, doesn’t have access to transportation, or would have other barriers to coming to an in-person meeting, a video call can make the process easier for a parent.
  • An overall shift in individuals’ behaviors and technological skills to rely on video tools.

Here are five tips for school leaders who want to incorporate video into their school-home communication strategies.…Read More

Parents are turning to schools for student mental health

School counselors and social workers, teachers, and administrators have always been integral to a parent’s support network. This is particularly true for children who struggle in class and have trouble accessing their curriculum.  Collaborative communication between a school and parents is critical for ensuring positive student outcomes.

Although clearly an issue before the pandemic, the pandemic has increased our collective awareness of children’s mental health issues and schools’ role in addressing those challenges. At the height of the pandemic, we were aware of the toll that the effects of the pandemic were taking on the nation’s school children, but we were functioning in a survival mode. As we emerge from this survival mode, it is clear that our school-age children are in crisis.

According to an October 30, 2022, Wall Street Journal article, “A mental-health crisis among children and teens that had been brewing for years worsened as routines were disrupted in the pandemic and many kids faced isolation and loss.”…Read More