An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


Sept. 29,
Issue 54
Focus on Social-Emotional Learning 
A trailer for the new video series, Empathy. Click the image to play.

Is it possible to teach empathy? A Silicon Valley educational technology company and researchers from Harvard think so. They have teamed up to launch a new series of animated videos next month about the importance of empathy, intended for teachers to use in students' social and emotional skill building.

The Empathy video series, developed by Class Dojo and researchers at the Making Caring Common project at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, stars Mojo, a friendly green animated monster. Mojo became something of an internet star earlier this year in a series of online videos called "Growth Mindset" developed by Class Dojo and researchers at the Stanford-based organization Perts, which works to bring promising teaching practices into classrooms.

In the Growth Mindset videos, Mojo went from believing he was "stupid" at math to realizing that he could improve his math skills with different approaches, practice, assistance and persistence. In Empathy, Mojo will take on the challenge of directing the school play, which means learning to work in groups and think about the greater good. The Empathy videos are scheduled to be launched Oct. 2.

Read more at EdSource.
Californians assume prominent roles on national commission on social and emotional learning

5th graders at Haight Elementary in Alameda practice team building.
5th graders at Haight Elementary in Alameda practice team-building. Credit: Jane Meredith Adams/EdSource
The Aspen Institute announced it has launched a commission to accelerate the transfer of research about social and emotional skill-building - which includes developing the interpersonal skills that organizers say contribute to success in school, college and work - into teaching practices across the nation.

Seven Californians are members of the National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development. Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the Learning Policy Institute, is one of three co-chairs. Read more at EdSource. 

Read more at EdSource.
PBS NewsHour Commentary 
Time to end behavior charts in the classroom 

It's not as harsh as putting a dunce cap on a student, but PBS Newshour blog columnist Wendy Thomas Russell writes that publicly tracking a student's behavior on a classroom chart damages the important teacher-student relationship. Read more in her column.
Marcia Reed, principal of 186th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified, was honored this month as a 2016 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Here, she answers a few questions about her school, known as the "Home of the Wise Owls."

What was it like in your first year as principal, as opposed to now?

The first year, my office was like the Department of Transportation, children coming in all the time for making poor decisions. I would call them, "My little naughty owls." We knew we had to work as a team, to have our students become peacemakers instead of peace breakers. Now, they're making wise decisions. Read more at EdSource.
Legislative Update
Gov. Brown signs laws on suicide prevention, anti-opiod medication, and informing students of their Title IX rights
In legislation affecting student health and wellbeing, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the following bills into law: 
  • Schools must adopt a suicide prevention policy by 2017-18. Assembly Bill 2246, by Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach.
  • As of Jan. 1, 2017, school nurses will be allowed to administer naloxone, an anti-opioid, to counteract a suspected opioid overdose. Assembly Bill 1748 by Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley.
  • As of July 1, 2017, schools must prominently post on their website the name and contact information for the Title IX coordinator, the rights of students, the responsibilities of schools and how to file a complaint. The federal Title IX law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender and its protections apply to instances of sexual harassment or assault. Senate Bill 1375 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.
Gov. Jerry Brown berated the manufacturer of a life-saving emergency allergy treatment for price gouging, even as he signed legislation to make it easier for afterschool programs, daycare centers, colleges and businesses to obtain the treatment.
Read more at EdSource.

Family matters: EpiPens had high-level help getting into schools, by Jayne O'Donnell, USA Today
Learning Differences
Despite a long history of deaf education in California and "relatively large expenditures," the state's educational programs for 14,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing students are not meeting many students' needs nor helping them succeed academically, according to a new report from the Legislative Analyst's Office, a nonpartisan research group for the Legislature.

The report recommends that:
  • The Legislature provide one-time grants to start or expand regional educational programs, which could attract a "critical mass" of deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
  • The state's two schools dedicated to deaf and hard-of-hearing students -- one in Fremont and one in Riverside -- be redefined as residential schools that primarily serve students from sparsely populated rural regions.
Webinars: Physical Education and Connecting with Families
What: "What did you learn today? The content of elementary physical education"
Who: Shirley Holt Hale, former National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, hosted by the Society of Health and Physical Educators
When: Wed., Oct. 5, 12 noon to 1 p.m. PT
Register here.

What: "Introducing a powerful strategy for strengthening school-family partnerships"
Who: Luz Santana and Agnes Bain, founders of the Right Question Institute, hosted by ASCD, previously known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
When: Thurs., Oct. 13, 12 noon, PT
Register here.
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