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


Nov. 2,
Issue 55
School Discipline
How are schools with low suspension rates different? They use 'restorative practices,' researchers found
As schools across California and the nation work to shift away from a zero-tolerance approach to discipline, a recent report from the University of Denver, in partnership with Denver Public School, found that the most distinguishing trait of low-suspending schools was their use of "restorative practices" in response to serious discipline incidents.

The report examined the characteristics of 81 Denver schools with suspension rates of 0 to 3 percent in 2014-15, compared to 119 schools with higher suspension rates. The use of restorative practices -- defined as resolving conflict in a way that builds relationships, addresses the harm that has been done and has parties involved take responsibility -- was a defining difference in the schools.

A second key characteristic of the low-suspending Denver schools was that they had student populations that were more racially and economically mixed than schools with higher suspension rates, according to the report, "Spotlight on Success: Changing the Culture of Discipline in Denver Public Schools."

Researchers reported that some staff and parents were frustrated not to have immediate action after a behavioral incident. They noted that suspending students took less time than resolving behavioral issues through conversations and making amends.

The report recommended that all school staff have ongoing training in relationship-building,  classroom management, and the issue of implicit bias, which refers to unconscious attitudes about other people, negative or positive, based on traits such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance, according to Ohio State's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

African-American boys in elementary school are less likely to be suspended or expelled if they have a teacher who is black, a new study suggests. Read more at EdSource.
Physical Education
Four California school districts and one community-based organization that serves Centralia Elementary School District in Orange County have been awarded Carol M. White Physical Education Program grants, the U.S. Department of Education announced.

The grants, for which districts applied, are intended to launch or enhance K-12 physical education programs, including programs held before school, after school and during the summer. Those receiving grants from California are:
  • America on Track (serving Centralia Elementary School District), $1,503,825
  • Chico Unified School District, $2,124,078
  • Madera Unified School District, $924,855
  • Napa County Office of Education, $1,250,901
  • Oakland Unified School District, $1,800,660
Health Education
The State Board of Education has put out a call for teachers, school nurses, health science professors and other educators to weigh in on the 2019 revision of the Health Education Framework. The Health Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee will help to shape the framework, which serves as a guide to school staff about how to roll out health education content standards.

Among the issues under consideration, according to questions posted by the State Board of Education, is this: "What guidance do school and district administrators need to fully support health education and eliminate some of the barriers to health education instruction?"

Applications to join the committee are due by 3 p.m., Dec. 15. Apply here.
Social and Emotional Learning
Moving away from the no-frills, test-driven approach to education of the No Child Left Behind era, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has released guidance about new federal block grants designed to fund a more varied curriculum, a more positive school environment and a more integrated use of technology. Read more at EdSource.
In Case You Missed It:
EdSource panels on student voice and social-emotional learning
Check out these highlights from the 2016 EdSource symposium:

Story: In school reform, relationships are key, say principals, teachers and students

Video: " Growth Mindsets and Social-Emotional Learning," panel with Jacquie Beaubien, senior program manager, PERTS; Michael Essien, principal, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School; Rick Miller executive director, CORE Districts; Ellen Moir, founder and CEO, New Teacher Center; and Antwan Wilson, superintendent, Oakland Unified.

Video: " Improving School Climate" panel with four student ambassadors from Californians for Justice and Taryn Ishida, executive director, Californians for Justice
California Attorney General Kamala Harris called for the California Department of Education to take over a job that her office has done for the past four years: release an annual data analysis on chronic student absenteeism. Identifying the issues underlying chronic absenteeism -- which include health, transportation and suspensions -- is key to keeping students in school, Harris said. Read more at EdSource.
Erin Barlow, a UCLA student, talks about being bullied in middle school. Click image to play.

As an 8th grade tomboy and ice hockey goalie, Erin Barlow says she was tormented by her middle school classmates for not conforming to their definition of femininity. Students wrote her hate-filled emails telling her to kill herself. She got help instead and eventually left the school. Now Barlow, a theater major at UCLA, is speaking out to remind students who are being bullied that they are not alone and to encourage them to reach out for help. Barlow has been named national ambassador for the nonprofit  PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center.
Kaiser Permanente's "Thriving Schools" partnership is hosting a webinar designed to support teachers and school staff cope with stress and burnout. The webinar will include ideas to help school employees create "trauma-informed" practices and systems to care for their own social and emotional health and the health of their co-workers. Trauma-informed approaches examine how the experience of trauma, or chronic stress and anxiety, is affecting students and, in turn, the adults who work with them.

What: Supporting School Employees Through Stress Reduction and a Trauma-Informed Approach
When: Thurs., Nov. 10, 12 noon, PT
Register here.
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