School Mental Health Project


Keep up with the National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports in 2016. For details and for free access to the new work entitled: Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System, see

The Following Recent Articles are Continuing Indicators of the Imperative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports

Why are we criminalizing behavior of children with disabilities? Students with disabilities are disproportionately arrested at school and too few school resource officers have specialized training for working in schools, writes Miranda Johnson, associate director of the Education Law and Policy Institute at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. "If school districts are going to continue to station police officers in schools, they should heed federal guidance to adopt written policies that clearly limit officers' roles to safety and security, not routine school discipline." (Washington Post, April 25) Click here

New York City mayor announces plan to provide free pre-K for all 3-year-olds (Washington Post, April 24) Click here

>Walker Wants WI to Be First State to Stop Dictating How Much Time Kids Should Go to School. A proposal in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's new budget plan calls for ending the state’s current minimum requirements — 437 hours for kindergarten, 1,050 hours for elementary schools and 1,137 hours for secondary schools — and allowing school districts to do what they want in terms of seat hours for students. (4/9/17) 

>Supreme court bolsters rights of learning disabled students. A unanimous Supreme Court on March 22 bolstered the rights of millions of learning-disabled students in a ruling that requires public schools to offer special education programs that meet higher standards. In its ruling, the Supreme Court sided with parents of an autistic teen in Colorado who said their public school did not do enough to help their son make progress. They sought reimbursement for the cost of sending him to private school.The court’s decision to require a more demanding test for progress has major implications for about 6.4 million disabled students who want to advance in school and rely on special programs to make that happen. 3/22/17 

>Police arresting far fewer students after change in discipline policy. The Spokane (WA) district’s change in it’s approach toward discipline has led to a drastic reduction in the number of students arrested. As of Feb. 28 district officers have arrested 58 students, compared to 467 at the same time last year. Although changes already have been implemented in the field, the district’s board will the revised set of policies handling officer use of force and school safety on March 22. The new use-of-force policy would limit when and how school resource officers can make arrests and put an emphasis on deescalating situations before making an arrest. Additionally, the new policy would require resource officers to attend training on how to communicate with students who have disabilities or behavioral issues. Officers also have to confer with a supervisor before making an arrest and are required to talk to the school administrators about the student and the situation. Currently, the policy gives parents and students 10 days to file a complaint against resource officers. Much of the changes occurring in Spokane are in response to a new state law that limits long-term suspension and expulsion and demands districts collect, and publish more data on discipline. 3/11/17

>Graduation coaches help reduce dropout rate. In Council Bluffs, IA, a graduation coach's primary goal is to promote and improve school attendance to ultimately reduce the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate in schools. Coaches spend a great deal of time getting to know each student to better understand their stories and by doing so are able to work on a case by case basis with each student to gain a better understanding on why a student isn't showing up to school. Once a student starts missing multiple, full school days, a graduation coach steps in to help the student and find out the best way to re-engage that student in school. While high school and middle school coaches work more on the intervention side of things. one coach works on the prevention end, floating between three district elementary schools every week. This is the first year the elementary schools have staffed a graduation coach. At the elementary level, a graduation coach spends a lot of time getting to know the family, as opposed to high school where coaches work more with the students. The coaches are only one, complex moving part of a bigger idea on how to keep kids in school in the Council Bluffs school district. 2/6/17

>County to pay rent so children don't have to change schools. To keep 26 children from being yanked out of their Northeast Portland (OR)elementary school mid-school-year, Multnomah County will spend $48,000 to cover the steep rent increases that threatened to displace them and their families. Rigler Elementary School is in the county's SUN Community Schools program, which provides after-school activities and social services to disadvantaged students. The county-connection made reallocation of funds possible. County officials decided that, through the SUN program, they'd made an investment in Rigler children's success and wanted to support that community.

>Barriers to Learning. Teachers and principals agree that regardless of poverty level, students face learning barriers outside of school and more needs to be done to address these problems, according to a survey released Wednesday by Scholastic Education. scholastic survey more must be done to help students outside the classroom U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report Scholastic Equity in Education report is at Teacher and Principal School Report.pdf. 

>Increases in Spending on Corrections Far Outpace Education
  State and local spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of funding for public education for preschool through grade P-12 education in the last three decades, a new analysis by the U.S. Department of Education found. article


Also access other news stories relevant to improving addressing barriers to learning through links at

We draw on a variety of standard sources to amass the above items (e.g., ECS e-clip at

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