Center for MH in Schools & Student/Learning Supports


Keep up with the National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports. For details and for free access to the new work entitled: Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System, see

Policy director shares Biden's 5-step education agenda. Biden's five-part plan for getting schools up and running again begins with giving local school officials the latitude to do what's best for their unique situations while still providing federal guidance, Stef Feldman [Joe Biden's national policy director] said. He would mandate nationwide mask use and contact tracing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and would provide emergency funding for schools -- through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Stafford Act and, ideally, emergency congressional authorizations -- to help with pandemic-related teacher shortages, class sizes, ventilation improvements and more. He also intends to address the quality of remote learning and provide ideas and resources for coping with the knowledge gap created by the disruption. Ultimately, she said, Biden wants to provide something schools have not had from the federal government during the pandemic: "clear, simple guidance that is executable." ...
     Feldman noted that the presumptive president-elect has long been a Title IX advocate and thus would reverse many of President Donald Trump's executive orders that disenfranchised students experiencing sexual assault and from transgender students. The goal, she said, is safe spaces for all students, both in K-12 and on college campuses. ...
     General funding for education also is on Biden's priority list, Feldman said, and he plans to help delete disparities between wealthy and low-income districts by tripling the current $15 billion for Title I schools, who first would use the money to add pre-K and ensure "robust" curriculum across schools. Increased teacher pay, money toward professional development and assistance with student loans for teachers also will be in the works.

Supporting students on 504 plans during remote learning The coronavirus pandemic and remote instruction have been particularly challenging for students on 504 plans, part of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Civil Rights Data Collection covering the 2017-18 school year showed restraint, seclusion, sexual assault on the rise >Students with disabilities were disproportionately restrained and secluded >K-12 sexual violence increased 55%

English-language learners, homeless and disabled students and children in foster care have had the most trouble accessing school. As many as 3 million of the country's most marginalized students may not have returned to school - online or in-person - since the COVID closures in March, a new analysis suggests. English language learners, homeless and disabled students, and children in foster care are among the groups that have had the most trouble accessing school since the pandemic began, according to the "Missing in the Margins" report by Bellwether Education Partners.

Why post-COVID-19 U.S. education will be even less like it used to be than you think Quotes Geoff Spencer, writing for Microsoft, as saying “the push for major changes was already underway before the pandemic struck and that they will go far beyond just online lessons at home.” He proposes a general shift away from a teaching culture to what he calls “a learning culture,” where, more often, the teacher will act remotely as a one-on-one facilitator helping students with particular learning needs as they progress through AI-enhanced learning processes where interaction is already built into the learning programs. 

How U.S. Schools Punish Black Kids. When it comes to who gets punished - and removed - from the classroom, the U.S. doesn't treat all students equally. Black students are suspended and expelled far more frequently than their white classmates, often for the same or similar offenses. As a result, Black kids are missing weeks of school each year because of unfair discipline policies. 

Ill. district creates online counseling resources. Social workers in a school district in Plainfield, Ill., created a "calming room," a virtual space that students learning remotely can visit to find resources such as meditations, music and crisis hotlines. The social workers hope to expose students to mental health resources that they might not know are available in lieu of face-to-face meetings.
From Patch:

Will the Students Who Didn't Show Up for Online Class This Spring Go Missing Forever? With nearly 14,000 school districts nationally, the whereabouts of countless students are unknown, and some may never reenroll, administrators say.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) 2019 Results Available Now 

5 Financial Issues Schools Will Face Due to the Coronavirus-Induced Recession If the economic downturn is like the Great Recession, administrators will be challenged by smaller budgets, layoff decisions and more in coming years. |

Teachers’ Concerns Mounting as the School Year Kicks Off

 Students have their own demands for school reopening. Mental health support, better remote instruction and a focus on vulnerable students Students nationwide are testifying before school boards and sharing their opinions with lawmakers about the upcoming school year. While students say they are eager to return to in-person learning, they are looking for mental health support and improvements to remote instruction. Full Story: The Hechinger Report (8/22) Supporting Families and Child Care Providers during the Pandemic with a Focus on Equity 

Education Researchers Come Together on What Schools Need Now - Starting With More Money. Nearly 200 education researchers, including some who disagree fiercely on policy issues, have united around a set of recommendations for helping America's schools navigate the current crisis. The document highlights the widespread agreement among experts on what schools need at this moment, and offers a research-informed roadmap for policymakers looking to address the cascading effects of the pandemic on schools.

Budgets put limits on social distancing options for schools. Many schools find themselves overwhelmed by the potential expenses that would come with operating under pandemic-induced social distancing guidelines. ... In Hartford, Connecticut, Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez shudders at the thought of how to afford a scenario where each teacher had dramatically fewer students. In some grades, she said, she has individual teachers with as many as 27 students in their classrooms. In Hartford, which has 14.7 students per teacher, the district serves many high-poverty communities and also brings in thousands of students from 60 other towns through school-choice programs. The superintendent said the challenges associated with reopening are so severe, it may be time to come up with entirely new models for instruction.

Virginia program looks to help new teachers as state works to address teacher shortage. The Virginia Department of Education is partnering with James Madison University's College of Education to create a program, dubbed the "Virginia New Teacher Support Program," to give coaching and professional development to first- and second-year teachers. The program will match first- and second-year teachers with an instructional coach. That coach will give the new teachers advice on instructional planning, student assessment and professionalism...The program, which has no cost to teachers, schools or school systems, is paid for through a $200,000 federal grant under the Every Student Succeeds Act

Amid pandemic, fewer students seek federal aid for college. The number of high school seniors applying for U.S. federal college aid plunged in the weeks following the sudden closure of school buildings this spring — a time when students were cut off from school counselors, and families hit with financial setbacks were reconsidering plans for higher education. In the first weeks of the pandemic, the number of new applications fell by nearly half compared to last year’s levels, fueled by a decline among students at low-income schools, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Back to School? Any NYC Family Can Opt for Full-Time Remote Learning This Fall. New York City families will be able to keep their children home this fall and opt for a full remote school schedule regardless of medical need, education department officials said [last] Thursday… Allowing a full-time remote option is welcome news for families who are nervous about sending students back to buildings in the fall… But it could also exacerbate inequalities already rampant in the public school system, with more affluent families hiring tutors or otherwise supplementing schoolwork for children remaining home.

A decade of research on the rich-poor divide in education.  Researchers shine light on education inequities.
School segregation by income is worsening in the US, according to research by Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford University. Reardon asserts that efforts to develop "high-quality schools at scale under conditions of concentrated poverty" have been ineffective, so the "implication is that you have got to address segregation."

Teachers' union wants district's police unit disbanded .The board of United Teachers Los Angeles has voted to call for dismantling the Los Angeles School Police Department, a shift sparked by protests after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota. To become the official position of the group, union members also must support disbanding one of the largest school police forces in the country  

Labeling kids with mild disabilities can backfire, study finds. For students with mild symptoms of disabilities, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a diagnosis can do more harm than good, according to a study by Jayanti Owens, a Brown University sociologist. Owens' study shows that students without an ADHD diagnosis, who showed similar symptoms, had better behavioral and reading scores from teachers, than their peers diagnosed

Child Poverty. Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau illustrates the failure of our government to lead on child poverty, which remains higher in the United States than in nearly all similarly developed countries. The U.S. Census Bureau found that 16.2 percent of children (11.9 million) were living in poverty in 2018 and that children are 54.4 percent more likely to live in poverty than adults.
       The National Academy of Sciences' landmark study on child poverty released in February 2019 makes clear that we have the tools to eradicate child poverty. All that is needed is the political will to deploy them. The study, called A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, outlines policy and program changes that, if implemented, would reduce child poverty by half within a decade ( ).
    Progress is possible. It is time to act. The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group, a partnership of child-focused organizations dedicated to eradicating child poverty, recently launched End Child Poverty US, a campaign to cut child poverty in half within a decade by setting a national target. Similar approaches in peer countries have proven the impact of targets. The United Kingdom cut its child poverty rate in half between 1999 and 2009 and Canada is on track to cut its child poverty rate in half in less than a decade after establishing an expanded child allowance in 2016.

Nation's schools serving more students under IDEA   A New federal data shows that there are more children in special education and they are accounting for a greater percentage of public school students across the country. For the 2017-2018 school year, there were 7 million students ages 3 to 21 receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These students represented 14 percent of all kids attending public schools. The figures come from an annual report by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics that offers a snapshot of what's happening in American education see


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