Why we should be teaching students economic literacy

When 17-year-old Jerry Marnell thought about heading off to college, economics seemed like an enticing major to study. Between self-starting his own production company and serving as president of a local club, he knew basic business tenets were vital to success and he was interested in learning more about the subject.

But like for so many young people across the country, Jerry’s high school in California’s Monterey Bay area did not offer economic classes. He had no way of knowing for certain if economics was something he’d like to pursue, or how economic principles touch every facet of our lives—from the decisions made by individuals and companies to the performance of regional, national, and global economies.

As students return to class this back-to-school season, many parents may think their own teenagers will be taking an economics course, given the topic’s importance. For the last several years, however, only half of the U.S.—a stark 50 percent of states—require that high schools even offer an economics class as part of the curriculum, according to the Council for Economic Education. Meanwhile, 27 states mandate that personal finance courses be offered – a number that has nearly doubled since 2011. Unfortunately, economic literacy has taken a back seat when it comes to young Americans because many policy makers confuse the discipline of economics with financial literacy.  …Read More

Why universal screening is a more equitable identifier of gifted and talented students

School districts have historically relied on a referral-based process to identify students for gifted and talented programming. This means that teachers or parents nominate their students to take selected achievement and/or cognitive aptitude tests, frequently used as a screener for gifted and talented placement.

Unfortunately, relying on referrals alone results in overly homogenous gifted and talented programs that are predominantly white, middle class, and male. Research shows that referral-based identification excludes too many students from enrichment and advanced academic opportunities.

But districts are slowly starting to change their identification processes. Instead of using referrals to determine which students take the specified tests, districts have begun universally screening every child to make the identification process more equitable, especially when districts use cognitive aptitude tests for all students, not just a select subset.…Read More

4 ways transparent communication builds trust in our district

One of the best ways to build trust with parents is through transparent communication about what’s happening on campus, the status of all things school-related, and how we’re meeting our students’ needs.

Parents are busy and don’t always have time to chase this information down on their own, so it’s up to district and school leaders to open up those clear lines of communication and then use them.

Technology is a great enabler for districts that want to do a better job in this area. By using our ParentSquare safe and secure platform for school-home communications, we’re getting rid of the many disparate solutions that our schools were using—including social media—and replacing them with a unified solution that everyone can use and rely on.…Read More

6 things parents can do to boost school security efforts

As students head back to the classroom, parents of school-age children can play a significant role in helping assure violence prevention and school security measures are implemented in their child’s school.

Parents can be as influential as school board members, superintendents, principals, and teachers in helping prevent violence in schools. In fact, parents–who are also taxpayers and voters–have the power to effect change if they are willing to become involved both individually and collectively.

All members of the education community–including parents–need to be involved in helping provide a safe and secure environment where children can learn without fear. Don’t wait until something bad happens.…Read More

5 tips for a positive back-to-school experience

Heading back to school can be an exciting yet challenging time for students, teachers, and parents alike. While many school systems are returning to full in-person learning, some students are taking advantage of virtual or hybrid learning models their school may offer.

Hybrid learning serves as a great option for students–however, in the early days of pandemic virtual learning, teachers noticed the need for stronger tools and resources in order for them to create the best possible learning experience.

With the hybrid learning model here to stay, many teachers are continuing to struggle with keeping their students engaged, while some learners find it difficult to stay motivated and pay attention to instruction.…Read More

State of School Safety Report Reveals Students Want More Social and Emotional Support and Increased Safety

NEWTOWN, CT, July 25, 2022 – A national survey and report released by Safe and Sound Schools with Raptor Technologies and Lightspeed Systems® surveyed school leaders, public safety, mental health, teachers, parents, and students identifying gaps in feelings and perceptions about school safety, in particular with students.

In general, most groups feel schools are safe. However, students express the greatest concerns over feeling safe physically and emotionally. This suggests a strong need for schools to focus on identifying early indicators of concern so they can offer support well before a student proceeds down a path of harm to self or others. Re-education on safety procedures and enhanced reporting and managing of low-level indicators may be necessary to build confidence in students’ safety and wellbeing.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that school communities engage all stakeholders—from students to superintendents—in conversation and decision-making to protect our most sacred spaces and precious community members, our schools and our students,” said Michele Gay, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools.…Read More

3 ways families can support students’ learning at home

For parents and caregivers, supporting your child’s learning can be stressful. Academic concepts are taught differently than they used to be. In addition, we’re all grappling with a scarcity of time and juggling competing priorities. It is hard to keep up–especially if you don’t have the resources to do so.

At Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School, we recognize that part of supporting students’ success is supporting families. Research shows students who have families engaged in their learning are more likely to attend school regularly, have improved social skills and behavior, and achieve high levels of academic performance.

One of our goals is to build the capacity of our families to make supporting their child’s learning as easy and accessible as possible. For example, we offer family coffee chats and family workshops that provide practical strategies and ways to support their own mental health and wellbeing—as well as their children’s.…Read More

6 ways administrators can address teacher burnout in their schools

The significant negative impact of the pandemic on educators is no secret. Teacher burnout is at an all-time high, self-care techniques are feeling futile, violence against teachers is on the rise and verbal abuse by parents is increasing. Fears about lost learning and teacher resignation continue to dominate the news.

During a recent meeting with a group of educators, I recalled the stress from the last two years accompanied by decades of pressure our systems have placed on an already weary profession. “Teachers need to give themselves some grace,” said Tamara Cervantes, a principal/director. “We are all under pressure to perform under all the administrative demands, and we underestimate our limitations. We forget we are human.”

Burnout is a buzzword that fails to carry the significance of the issue. We are great at raising the red flag, but solutions that help educators make significant changes are slow to come. Unfortunately, the pandemic compounded stress with the addition of compassion fatigue. While burnout occurs over time and is usually the result of work stressors like staff shortages or inadequate resources, compassion fatigue occurs when we exhaust our ability to empathize. The pandemic amplified these stressors and flipped the world upside down for educators. …Read More

How to talk to your students about trauma and school violence

It is an unacceptable reality that educators, parents, and caregivers must talk to children about gun violence in schools, repeatedly, in the wake of school shootings.

At the same time as stakeholders once again demand that lawmakers take action and protect the nation’s children while they are in classrooms–classrooms that are supposed to be safe–educators and caregivers are left with the heavy burden of addressing students’ anxieties and responses to trauma.

Conversations around school violence may feel uncomfortable, but many experts say open and clear communication can help students process what happened and feel safe in their classrooms, homes, and communities.…Read More