<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> National Initiative
for Transforming Student
and Learning Supports
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Equity of opportunity is fundamental to enabling civil rights;
transforming student and learning supports is fundamental to
enabling equity of opportunity, promoting whole child development,
and enhancing school climate.
2019 -- Student and learning supports have long been marginalized in school improvement policy and practice. As a result, such supports are developed in an ad hoc and piecemeal manner. Implementation is fragmented and at times redundant. Those involved often are counterproductively competitive, especially when funding is sparse (and when isn’t it?).
All this needs to change. Yet, most of the widely circulated reports about improving schools pay little or no attention to the role of school student and learning support staff.
And while the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) offers opportunities, it also continues the piecemeal approach to addressing barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students and families. See our analysis:
Analyses of ESSA’s Focus on Addressing Barriers to Learning and Teaching
Preparing for ESSA? Start by Reviewing Analyses of What’s been Wrong with School Improvement Efforts
Evolving School Improvement Planning for Addressing Barriers to Learning and Teaching
ESSA and Addressing Barriers to Learning and Teaching: Is there Movement toward Transforming Student/Learning Supports?
It is time to make the marginalization a major issue and seek a policy shift .
To these ends, we launched the National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports in 2015. The aim of this ongoing initiative is to mobilize direct actions for (a) elevating school improvement policy discussion about ending the marginalization of student and learning supports and (b) moving toward transformation of such supports.
Solid groundwork has been laid by our earlier initiative for New Directions for Student and Learning Supports and the work in 2015.
Over the first few months in 2019, our Center is contacting key legislators in every state about reframing school improvement policy to move from a two to a three component framework.
Specifically: Drawing from the Center's work over many years (as presented in recent books and briefs,*) we arel sending the following message:
ESSA has stimulated states to revisit school improvement. At this time our Center at UCLA is contacting a few legislators in every state about pursuing legislation to move school improvement policy from a two to a three component framework.
Specifically: Drawing from the Center's research, we urge you to read the following brief information and the adaptable prototype for the type of legislation that is needed:
School Improvement Policy Needs to Move from a Two‑ to a Three‑Component Guiding Framework http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/why3comp.pdf
Prototype Guide for Reframing Fragmented Student and Learning Supports into a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable Learning Supports System http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/reframing.pdf
An act to add to the Education Code. Addressing Barriers to Learning and Teaching: Ensuring a Three Component Approach to School Improvement http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/draftbill.pdf
Note: A three component framework for school improvement provides a way to fully embed a focus on social-emotional development, which currently is being pursued in fragmented and marginalized ways. As Child Trends’ analysis of state statutes and regulations (enacted as of September 2017) concludes:
... Beyond policies that call for specific focus on SEL or character education, 37 states include elements of SEL (such as healthy relationships, interpersonal communication, or self‑esteem) as part of regulations governing health education standards. Thirty‑eight states also include mental and emotional health in health education standards.... Such policies, though, are often limited in their vision of SEL and disconnected from other critical components of healthy school environments. Many existing state policies reflect earlier efforts to build character education, conflict resolution, and similar skills into the fabric of teaching and learning. https://www.childtrends.org/state‑laws‑promoting‑social‑emotional‑and‑academic‑development‑leave‑room‑for‑improvement
Let us know if you need additional information.
In addition to contacting legislators. we are developing a list of stakeholders who endorse the need to move school improvement policy to a three component approach. We invite those wanting to be added to the list of endorsees to send an email to Ltaylor@ucla.edu ; please include name and title.
*Recent books and briefs-- Click here to download
Improving School Improvement.
School Improvement, School Transformation – Some Straight Talk Click here to download
Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System. From Cognella -- Click here
Addressing Barriers to Learning: In the Classroom and Schoolwide -- Available at this time as a free resource -- Click here to download
Call to Action
The Center'sSystem Change Toolkit for Transforming Student Supports into a Comprehensive System for Addressing Barriers to Learning and Teaching provides a range of resources designed to stimulate interchange and mobilize transformation. It contains prototypes and guides and more to aid in developing a unified, comprehensive, systemic learning supports component to replace the existing marginalized and fragmented set of student and learning supports in districts and schools..
The tranformation can be done by redeploying existing resources and garnering economies of scale. The timing is critical as states and districts pursue higher curriculum standards and transition to more local control under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Of particular relevance to addressing barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students, the reauthorization of ESEA replaces what has been described as a maze of programs with a “Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant” that provides states and districts with flexibility in how students and families are assisted.
Interested?Let us hear your views about direct action to end the marginalization and transform student and learning supports. Also, let us know if you are ready to move forward to develop a Learning Supports Component to better address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage disconnected students. Send to Ltaylor@ucla.edu or to email@example.com
FOR MORE, SEE
Pre-summit article: Every Student Succeeds Act: Planning is an Immediate Task, But . . . Addressing Barriers to Learning is the Pressing Imperative –
Summit Report HOT TOPIC -- Why is there so little attention in ESSA planning with respect to transforming student and learning supports?
About Where it's Happening
- Trailblazing and Pioneer Initiatives
- To clarify why and how we provide free resources, coaching, and technical assistance, see About Distance Coaching and Technical Assistance for Developing a Unified and Comprehensive System of Learning Support
Examples of Scholastic, Inc.'s Adoption of our Work
>For their recent webinar on “Ensuring All Students Succeed: The Imperative for a Learning Supports Framework,” go to YOUTUBE at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYDg4alT1Dk
>"Using a Unified System of Learning Supports to Boost High School Completion" (a National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Project) --
>Also see Scholastic's series on learning supports exploring how districts and schools can support students who face barriers to learning http://frizzleblog.scholastic.com/post/learning-supports-pathway-integrated-model-school-improvement
>"Learning Supports Pathway: An Integrated Model of School Improvement" http://dropoutprevention.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Learning_Supports_Pathway_Overview_11-17-Solutions-Resource.pdf
>"The Alabama State Department of Education’s Learning Supports Initiative A Compendium of Practice & Findings" http://dropoutprevention.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Alabama_DOE_LS_Compendium_11-17-Solutions-Resource.pdf
Learning Supports section of Scholastic Website -- http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/learningsupports/index.htm
Examples and Lessons Learned
CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS
UCLA Department of Psychology
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563