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Youth Topics is a service of the Center for Children and Families, Department of Community and Human Services, City of Alexandria.  It is produced by Jacqueline Coachman, DCHS Office of Youth Services. 

Subscribe here. Make inquiries here. Youth Topics is posted online here. 

 

In the April 27 Edition: 

Events
Month of the Military Child (April)
George Mason Elementary Book Fair (April 27 – May 1)
Young Entrepreneur Academy Information Sessions (April 28, May 26)
 “Can We Talk?” Building Communication Between Parents and Teens (April 29)
College Planning Night for Juniors (April 29)
Stratford University’s Career Fair (April 30)
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (May 1, 2)
Global Day of Hope (May 2)
Step ALIVE! Walkathon (May 3)
Mayor’s Campaign to End Bullying Stakeholders Meeting (May 4)
ACT for Alexandria’s Community BBQ Bash (May 11)
Rev Your Bev Day (May 13)
Kids to Parks Day (May 16)
Family Fun Night (May 22)
GWMS to Host Color Run Fundraiser (May 30)
National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation (June 2-4)
Act Like A GRRRL NoVa (July 6-17)

Careers/Volunteerism 
Phoenix Education Grant
Princess for A Night Project Seeking Donations
Health Through Sports Award
Medical Library Association Scholarship for Minority Students
Pass-It-On Awards
American Dental Association Community Leadership Development Institute
Stage Directors and Choreographers Observers Program
Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre
Spring Artist Residencies
Rome Prize
French-American Jazz Exchange Collaborative Projects
Individual Photographer’s Fellowships
Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Initiative
Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize
Early Career Grant for Innovative Work in Cognition
William T. Grant Foundation Scholars Program
Fund Seeking Applications for Mental Health Research
ACAP eNewsletter
NIDA Looking for Feedback on CME Activities that Address Adolescent Substance Abuse
Climate CoLab
Women Chemists Committee Rising Star

Grantsmanship
DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities

Research & Resources 
Charles Barrett Principal Named 2015 Distinguished Educational Leader
Cora Kelly Teacher Wins Washington Post Outstanding Teacher Award
T.C. Principal Interviewed on Kojo Nnamdi Radio Show
T.C. Williams Hires New Football Coach
How to Develop Youth in Under-Resourced Neighborhoods
Building Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth
Revisiting the STEM Workforce
New Pathways to Careers and College
Promoting Transitions from Early Care and Education to Kindergarten
New Brain Science Shows Poor Kids Have Smaller Brains than Affluent Kids
Poverty’s Pernicious and Persistent Toll on Young Children
Treasurers for the Poor
Why Are Teens Oblivious to the Pile of Dirty Clothes on the Bedroom Floor?
Foster Care System Not Always Best Option for Kids
Court Approves $2.75 Million Settlement for Ex-Foster Children
4 Tips for Working with Interpreters
Get the Big Picture When Seeking Funding: Create a Fiscal Map
‘Middle’ Students Find Success Tutoring Peers
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
Teach Young People the Building Blocks of Healthy Finances
5 Tools for Building Youth Financial Literacy
6 Ways to Make Service Learning Part of Your Youth and Family Serving Program
Religious-Freedom Laws Add to Schools’ Complex Duties
Parent, School Issues at Stake in Same-Sex Marriage Fight
After-School Funding Reinstated in Senate Education Bill
Stiff Sentences for Convicted Atlanta Educators Shock Many
Judge in Atlanta School Cheating Scandal May Reconsider Tough Sentences
Justice Department Will Investigate Dallas-Area Truancy Courts
California Newspaper Wins Pulitzer for Stories on Corruption in District
Charter Operators Pull Back from Memphis Turnaround Effort
Adolescent Drug Testing Policies in Schools
Schools Remove Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
Are the Children Well?
Fact Sheets on Parenting a Child Recovering from Maltreatment
Child Maltreatment in Military Families: A Fact Sheet for Providers
99% of Kids Suffer Less Abuse in Scarce Safe Babies Court
Teen Dating Violence (Physical and Sexual) Among U.S. High School Students: Findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey
Annual Disparities Report Says Access to Health Care Improving
Child Mental Illness Widespread, Yet Untreated
A Long Road Ahead, Achieving True Parity in Mental Health and Substance Use Care
New Suicide Prevention App from SAMHSA
Why Are Some Homeless Youth Positive in the Face of Adversity?
Colleges Support Homeless Students by Designating One Point of Contact
NCTSN Podcasts Now Available on iTunes
Autism Wandering Tips
Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court
Psychiatric Disorders & Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention
Journal of Juvenile Justice
Creating Welcoming & Inclusive Environments for Traumatized LGBTQ Youth

Workshops & Webinars 
Addressing the Needs of Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Abuse (April 27)
Industry Driven Sector Strategies (April 28)
Enough is Known for Action: Credentials that Count for Youth (April 29)
Cooking Up English Language Learning in OST (April 30)
The New Forgotten Half: Those Who Pursue College But Never Earn a Degree (May 1)
An Introduction to Women’s Substance Use Disorders and Health (May 6)
Which Chart is Best for My Data? Essential Charts for Nonprofits (May 14)
Youth Programs as Powerful Settings for Social and Emotional Learning (May 15)

Events

Month of the Military Child (April)
The awareness month was established to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community. There are approximately 2 million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has compiled resources for those who assist and support military and veteran families.

George Mason Elementary Book Fair (April 27 – May 1)
The featured theme of this year’s annual Scholastic Book Fair is “Reading Under the Sea”. It will take place in the school’s library daily during school hours for students and will be open to families and the community Monday through Thursday from 2:35 to 3:30 p.m. On Wednesday, April 29, the event will feature a special Family and Community Night event from 5 to 7 p.m. for parents as well as the community to purchase books for children and classroom libraries. For more information, visit George Mason’s Book Fair Homepage or contact Library Media Specialist Christie Tyler at 703.706.4470.

Young Entrepreneur Academy Information Sessions (April 28, May 26)
The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) to host a program on the Arlington campus of George Mason University. YEA! is an after school program that transforms local middle and high school students into entrepreneurs. Over the course of the year-long program, up to 24 students in grades 6-12 will generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their own companies. From exciting local business guest lecturers to dynamic field trips to local companies, students will learn how to develop and run a real enterprise in a fun, projects-based approach. There will be two information sessions: April 28th from 5-6p.m. and May 26th 5-6p.m., both at the GMU Arlington campus.

 “Can We Talk?” Building Communication Between Parents and Teens (April 29)
The interactive workshop is designed to support and enhance parent-child communications specific to adolescent needs. The workshop from 6:30-8 p.m. at Francis C. Hammond Middle School will feature a light diner, childcare, and interpreter services at no cost.

College Planning Night for Juniors (April 29)
An event sponsored by the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria will offer insight as to choosing colleges, writing a personal statement, preparing for the ACT/SAT, and applying for scholarships and financial aid. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at T.C. Williams. Call 703.824.6730 for additional information

Stratford University’s Career Fair (April 30)
Stratford University, in collaboration with Beltway Job Search Partners, is hosting a career fair from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 7777 Leesburg Pike (Falls Church). The event is open to the public; online registration is available.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (May 1, 2)
There will be three shows of the production by T.C. Williams Drama Department: May 1 at 7:30 p.m., and May 2 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. A musical, whimsical take on life, love and vocabulary, the play is set at a fictional county school spelling bee. It originally won two Tony awards on Broadway. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, senior citizens and ACPS staff.

Global Day of Hope (May 2)
The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression is hosting a day of sunflower planting worldwide to support the 350 million people living with the treatable disease of depression. People from all corners of the globe are invited to join the movement by planting sunflowers in their own communities and to unite on social media.

Step ALIVE! Walkathon (May 3)
The 34th annual Step ALIVE! Walkathon will raise funds for ALIVE’s Child Development Center, a full-day preschool program serving children of low-income working parents. The 5k or 5-mile (walker’s choice) stroll kicks off at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church (2723 King Street) and ends at the same place. On-site registration and T-shirt distribution will start at 1:15 p.m. A picnic featuring prizes and music will follow the walkathon.

Mayor’s Campaign to End Bullying Stakeholders Meeting (May 4)
The next meeting of stakeholders is scheduled for 4-5:30 p.m. in the Media Center at the T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus (3801 W. Braddock Road). Please RSVP by April 30.

ACT for Alexandria’s Community BBQ Bash (May 11)
No speeches, no auctions, no asks … just fun! The event is from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at The Waterfront Market and Café (7 King Street). Tickets may be purchased online.

Rev Your Bev Day (May 13)
An initiative of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, the focus this year’s Rev Your Bev Day will be the amount of sugar hidden in popular beverages as well as empowering Virginians to make the healthiest choices for themselves and their families.

Kids to Parks Day (May 16)
The nationwide day of outdoor play is organized by the National Park Trust (NPT) in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborations. NPT is encouraging children across the country to explore their neighborhood parks and discover science, history, nature and adventure around the corner or just across town.

Family Fun Night (May 22)
Bring the entire family to Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility for a Family Fun Night featuring James K. Polk Elementary. Enjoy swimming, beach ball relays, water basketball, diving for prizes, and fun on the ‘Aqua Challenge’ floating obstacle course. Youth can also participate in swimming skill assessments, learn pool safety tips, meet animals from the Nature Center, and sign up for summer camps.

GWMS to Host Color Run Fundraiser (May 30)
George Washington Middle School is hosting its first Color Run. The GW band and cheerleaders will be present at the starting line to kick off the event. The Science and ELL Departments are working together to raise money for GW programs such as field trips, guest speakers and STEM lab activities that will benefit the entire GW campus across all grade levels. Register by May 15.

National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation (June 2-4)
The conference in Atlanta will offer free training to law enforcement on combatting technology-facilitated crimes against children.

Act Like A GRRRL NoVa (July 6-17)
Act Like a GRRRL (ALAG) is an autobiographical writing and performance program for teenage girls to develop self-identity, articulate values and gain public voice while working with female mentors and peers from diverse backgrounds. ALAG is seeking 8-10 teenage girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who love to write, are interested in self-discovery, and want to change the world for the better. They will participate in a 2-week writing and performance intensive that will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the community house at Blueberry Hill CoHousing in Fairfax County. Tuition for the program is $1,000 (there are a few need-based scholarships). Apply online.

Careers/Volunteerism 

Phoenix Education Grant
The annual program by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors provides scholarships of up to $4,000 to burn survivors who are attending college or technical school. The deadline for applications is May 30.

Princess for A Night Project Seeking Donations
The project is collecting dry-cleaned formal dresses, shoes, handbags, jewelry, unused make-up (for example, sample cosmetics), and “nice” shopping bags until May 8. Events will be held at T.C. Williams and three other local high schools where young ladies can select dresses, shoes, handbags and jewelry free of charge. Donations can be dropped off at the T.C. Williams Main Office, Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, contact Eleanor Muse.

Health Through Sports Award
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is accepting applications for the Robert Wood Johnson Sports Award, a new annual prize designed to honor individuals, organizations, and teams that are making communities healthier through sports. The award recognizes the ways in which sports influence healthy change in communities by helping children maintain a healthy weight; creating safe play environments; encouraging positive behaviors; eliminating bullying, abuse, and violence; and expanding opportunities for children living in poverty. Awards will be presented in three categories: a professional sports team community relations department or foundation, an individual athlete or professional coach’s foundation, and an organization in North America that is an influential leader and model for others.  

Medical Library Association Scholarship for Minority Students
A scholarship of up to $5,000 will be awarded to a minority student who is entering a graduate program at an American Library Association-accredited library school or has yet to finish at least half of the program’s requirements in the year following the granting of the scholarship. African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander individuals who wish to study health sciences librarianship are eligible. Applications must be submitted by December 1.

Pass-It-On Awards
The Anita Borg Institute’s Anita Borg Systers Pass-It-On (PIO) Awards are intended as a means for women established in technological fields to support women seeking their place in the fields of technology. Any woman over 18 years old in or aspiring to be in the computing field is eligible. Awards are open to women in all countries and range from $500 to $1,000. Award applications covering a wide variety of needs and projects are encouraged, such as a small amount to help with studies, job transfers, or other transitions in life; a broader project that benefits girls and women; projects that seek to inspire more girls and women to go into the computing field; assistance with educational fees and materials; a partial funding source for a larger scholarship; and mentoring and other supportive groups for women in technology or computing. The application deadline is April 22.

American Dental Association Community Leadership Development Institute
The association is accepting applications for its 2015 Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) Community Leadership Development Institute. The annual program is designed to expand, enhance, or launch new GKAS programs. Selected participants will receive the opportunity to learn, in-person, how to initiate, expand, and/or enhance a GKAS program. Grants will be awarded to subsidize travel expenses associated with attending the GKAS Institute in St. Louis on October 21-24. Eligible organizations include state and local dental societies of the ADA and/or community-based organizations providing oral health care for underserved children. The deadline to apply is May 11.

Stage Directors and Choreographers Observers Program
The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation is accepting applications from emerging directors and choreographers for paid opportunities to observe the work of master directors and choreographers as they create productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at leading theaters across the country. Each observer receives a weekly stipend of at least $225 as well as a project travel stipend. Anyone with serious interest in pursuing a career in directing and/or choreography may apply to the Observership program. A $25 application fee is required for those unaffiliated with SDC. Applications must be received by May 15.

Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre
The mission of the Vilcek Foundation is to raise public awareness of the outstanding contributions of foreign-born scientists and artists living and working in the United States. The foundation is accepting applications from young foreign-born theater professionals for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in theater. Three prizes of $50,000 each will be awarded to young fashion professionals who demonstrate outstanding early achievement. Playwrights/book writers, directors, actors, designers (sets, costumes, lights, projections/video, sound, and/or puppetry), composers, lyricists, and choreographers are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is June 15.

Spring Artist Residencies
The Ucross Foundation provides uninterrupted time, work space, and living accommodations in Sheridan, Wyoming to competitively selected visual artists, writers, and composers. Residencies vary from two to six weeks. At any one time, there are up to nine individuals in residence, representing a mix of visual artists, writers, and composers. In most cases, studios are separate from living quarters. The deadline is October 1.

Rome Prize
The Rome Prize is a program of the American Academy in Rome and is awarded annually to emerging artists and scholars in the early or middle stages of their careers. Each winner is provided with a stipend, meals, a bedroom with private bath, and a study or studio. Those with children under the age of 18 live in partially subsidized apartments nearby. Winners of six-month and eleven-month fellowships receive stipends of $16,000 and $28,000, respectively. Applications are due November 1.

French-American Jazz Exchange Collaborative Projects
The French-American Jazz Exchange (a partnership of the Cultural Service of the French Embassy, the French American Cultural Exchange, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation) supports projects jointly conceived by French and American jazz artists that encourage artistic exploration, foster intercultural dialogue, and contribute to the dynamism of the art form. Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded per project. The deadline for applications is May 29.

Individual Photographer’s Fellowships
The Aaron Siskind Foundation is accepting applications for an annual program that encourages and celebrates artistic achievement in contemporary photography by supporting the creative endeavors of artists working in photography and photo-based art media. A limited number of fellowship grants of $10,000 each will be awarded. Applications are due May 29.

Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Initiative
The Grand Challenges Explorations initiative is an accelerated grant program that encourages bold approaches aimed at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. Anyone – students, scientists, entrepreneurs – with a transformative idea is invited to apply. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded twice a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million. Topics for Grand Challenges Explorations Round 15 are addressing newborn and infant gut health through bacteriophage-mediated microbiome engineering; exploring new ways to measure delivery and use of digital financial services data; surveillance tools, diagnostic, and an artificial diet to support new approaches to vector control; new approaches for addressing outdoor/residual malaria transmission; new ways to reduce childhood pneumonia deaths through delivery of timely effective treatment; and enabling merchant acceptance of mobile money payments. Grants will be awarded within approximately four months of the proposal submission deadline of May 13.

Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize
The J.M. Kaplan Fund will award up to ten prizes to U.S.-based individuals and teams working to address the county’s most pressing needs through social sector innovation. The prize seeks to support interdisciplinary innovation in the fields of cultural heritage, human rights, the built environment, and the natural environment and is designed for high-risk, early stage ideas being piloted and prototyped by dynamic visionaries. Prize awardees will receive up to three years of support at $50,000 per year as well as a $25,000 “bank” of funds available for technical assistance or targeted project expenses. The deadline for first-round applications is April 30.

Early Career Grant for Innovative Work in Cognition
The American Psychological Foundation, the philanthropic arm of American Psychological Association, is accepting applications for the David Wechsler Early Career Grant for Innovative Work in Cognition. The annual program is designed to support early career psychologists pursuing innovative work in neuropsychology, intelligence, and/or the assessment aspects of cognition. Grants will be for up to $25,000. To be eligible, psychologists must hold an Ed.D., Psy.D., or Ph.D. degree from an accredited university and be no more than seven years postdoctoral. Applications are due June 15.

William T. Grant Foundation Scholars Program
The program supports promising early-career researchers from diverse disciplines who have demonstrated success in conducting high-quality research and are seeking to further develop and broaden their expertise. Proposed research projects must be focused on youth between the ages of 5 and 25 in the United States and aim to improve understanding of programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality in youth outcomes as well as the use of research evidence in policy and practice. Candidates are nominated by a supporting institution and must submit five-year research plans. Four to six William T. Grant Scholars will be selected with each receiving $350,000 distributed over a five-year period. To be eligible, applicants must be employed at a nonprofit institution and have received their terminal degree within seven years of submitting an application. Online application opens May 1 and is due July 8.

Fund Seeking Applications for Mental Health Research
The Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation is accepting applications for behavioral or psychological research studies in the United States or Canada. Through its Faculty/Post-Doctoral Fellows program, the fund will award grants of up to $20,000 to support studies aimed at developing, refining, evaluating, and/or disseminating innovative interventions designed to prevent or ameliorate major social, psychological, behavioral, or public health problems affecting children, adults, couples, families, or communities. The fund will also consider studies that have the potential for adding significantly to knowledge about such problems. Projects must focus on the United States or Canada or on a comparison between the U.S. or Canada and at least one other country. To be eligible, applicants must be a faculty member at an accredited college or university and an individual affiliated with an accredited human service organization that is considered tax exempt under Section 501©(3). The deadline is November 1.

ACAP eNewsletter
Among the articles featured in the latest edition of the eNewsletter of the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy is a new resource from Child Trends, Five Things to Know About Youth Not Employed or in School.

NIDA Looking for Feedback on CME Activities that Address Adolescent Substance Abuse
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) is supporting the development of continuing medical education (CME) activities that address adolescent substance use. Feedback is sought to help identify the information that would be useful to medical professionals regarding early intervention for substance abuse with adolescent patients and their partners. The survey link will be active through April 30.

Climate CoLab
An initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Collective Intelligence, Climate Colab is a crowdsourcing platform where citizens work with experts and each other to create, analyze, and select detailed proposals for what to do about climate change. Climate CoLab is currently offering contests on a range of topics related to climate change. The creators of the best proposals will be invited to present their ideas at a conference this fall and the creators of the top ranked proposal will also receive a Grand Prize of $10,000. Applications must be submitted by May 16.

Women Chemists Committee Rising Star
The Rising Star Award, presented by the Women Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society, recognizes exceptional early to mid-career women chemists across all areas of chemistry on a national level. It recognizes up to ten women scientists who are approaching the midpoint of their careers and who have demonstrated outstanding promise in their respective fields. The deadline for nominations is June 30.

Grantsmanship

DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities
The DCHS Office of Youth Services compiled a listing of grant opportunities on April 7 and April 22.

Research & Resources

Charles Barrett Principal Named 2015 Distinguished Educational Leader
Seth Kennard, principal of Charles Barrett Elementary School, has been awarded The Washington Post's 2015 Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. Kennard, who joined Alexandria City Public Schools in 2007 as assistant principal of Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, was described as an exemplary leader who had an outstanding positive impact on his school community.

Cora Kelly Teacher Wins Washington Post Outstanding Teacher Award
Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology reading specialist Maria Magallanes was named 2015 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year by The Washington Post. Magallanes, who joined Alexandria City Public Schools as a second grade teacher in 2009 before becoming a reading specialist in 2013, was commended for her innovation, creativity and resourceful teaching methods.

T.C. Principal Interviewed on Kojo Nnamdi Radio Show
Principal Suzanne Maxey visited the Kojo Nnamdi Show at the studios of WAMU 88.5 FM. In the recorded interview, she discusses the challenges she has addressed at T.C., programs she has implemented, and how the school has changed during her tenure. 

T.C. Williams Hires New Football Coach
T.C. Williams hired Marc Matthie as its new head football coach, who for the past five years was an assistant coach at Centreville.

How to Develop Youth in Under-Resourced Neighborhoods
One of the characteristics of under-resourced neighborhoods around the world is the lack of work or intermittent work for males. Quoting William Julius Wilson (a Harvard sociologist and author of “When Work Disappears”): “If you want to break a culture, all you have to do is take work away from men because it changes identity”.

Building Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth
Over 6 million youth in the United States are not enrolled in school and not working and often face extraordinary challenges, such as transitioning out of foster care, involvement with the justice system, or attempting to earn an alternative high school credential. In Building Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth, the American Youth Policy Forum puts the spotlight on two states, Connecticut and Michigan, in order to examine a range of promising programs and data-supported best practices for supporting Opportunity Youth.

Revisiting the STEM Workforce
A study by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board calls for an expanded view of the term “STEM workforce”. The report deemed STEM training important even for students who are not considering traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) because those skills are transferable to other areas, including sales, marketing and management.

New Pathways to Careers and College
Instead of the stand-alone vocational courses into which high school students with lower academic achievement were often channeled, programs that merge CTE, rigorous academic coursework and career exploration opportunities while creating clear pathways are gaining momentum. A report by MDRC describes some of the most prominent of these “pathway” models, identifies localities where the approach has gained the most traction, discusses the underlying principles that characterize the most promising programs, and briefly presents the evidence of their potential to make a difference. The report concludes with a set of recommendations for future investment to strengthen and scale such programs.

Promoting Transitions from Early Care and Education to Kindergarten
Transitional practices that support young children and families as they begin their K-12 education can range from offering visits to kindergarten classrooms to facilitating communication between child care providers and kindergarten teachers to aligning school readiness standards and desired outcomes between early education systems and the K-12 system. City leaders and elected officials are well positioned to promote a variety of transitional practices to ensure that more children enter school ready to succeed.  

New Brain Science Shows Poor Kids Have Smaller Brains than Affluent Kids
Neuroscientists who studied the brain scans of nearly 1,100 children and young adults nationwide from ages 3 to 20 found that the surface area of the cerebral cortex was linked to family income. They discovered that the brains of children in families that earned less than $25,000 a year had surface areas 6% smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 or more. The region of the brain in question handles language, memory, spatial skills, and reasoning. The study is part of a new and growing body of research on children’s brain structures that has been made possible by technological advances in magnetic resonance imaging. The new research does not explain possible reasons for the brain differences, which has created concern that the findings may harden stereotypes and give the impression that children who are born into poverty lack the physical capacity to succeed academically.

Poverty’s Pernicious and Persistent Toll on Young Children
Child Trends has synthesized research on the risks that poverty poses to children: poor children are more likely than other children to be in poor health and to have chronic health conditions; poor children are disproportionately exposed to risks that can impair their brain development; and poverty in childhood and adolescence is associated with higher risks for poorer academic outcomes, lower school attendance, lower reading and math scores, increased distractibility, and higher rates of grade failure and dropout.

Treasurers for the Poor
The Wall Street Journal reported on a study of 250 municipalities that found more than half have extremely low reserves, high debt, and challenging prospects. In spite of this, a growing number of city treasurers have decided they have a responsibility beyond number crunching and balancing their budgets. They are championing programs to help citizens who have trouble making ends meet.

Why Are Teens Oblivious to the Pile of Dirty Clothes on the Bedroom Floor?
A neuroscientist and single mother of two boys delved into the emerging science of the adolescent brain and developed provocative new insights for parents, educators, public policymakers and teens themselves. She detailed her discoveries in “The Teenage Brain”. Published earlier this year, the book is a bestseller.

Foster Care System Not Always Best Option for Kids
Foster parents are expected to spend all their stipends meeting the expenses of caring for their children. Some foster parents spend much less.

Court Approves $2.75 Million Settlement for Ex-Foster Children
The federal court in Nevada has approved a $2.075 million settlement for seven former foster children who claimed they were injured while in Clark County’s child welfare system. The suit cited concerns with numerous aspects of the county’s child welfare system, including the use of psychotropic medications on children, reported physical and sexual abuse in foster homes, and the adequacy of Child Protective Services investigations.

4 Tips for Working with Interpreters
Having access to culturally competent interpreters who understand the context of social services is incredibly important when working with youth and families from linguistic minorities. By using interpreters, program staff can avoid the temptation of asking young people to interpret for their own families.

Get the Big Picture When Seeking Funding: Create a Fiscal Map
Government agencies that provide funding make decisions department by department, and the decisions are different depending on who is in charge. A fiscal map can improve the way leaders make decisions. It uses data to align resources and direct them to areas of need.

‘Middle’ Students Find Success Tutoring Peers
A new program has the potential to significantly boost mathematics and science learning by leveraging a group of students who often go unnoticed: middle-of-the-road achievers. The Peer Enabled Restructured Classroom program recruits average students to create a small army of teaching assistants in math and science that is significantly boosting their own academic progress and that of their peers.  

‘Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
The latest endeavor of Daniel Goleman, the author of thirteen books on topics such as emotional intelligence, leadership and creativity, is a thorough examination of focus – a form of self-control that is an important indicator of a child’s future success.

Teach Young People the Building Blocks of Healthy Finances
Teaching young people to make healthy financial decisions is key to helping them become self-sufficient. Developed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, MyMoney.gov is a one-stop financial-literacy shop. The site is organized around five principles.

5 Tools for Building Youth Financial Literacy
A slideshow produced by the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth highlights tools that can help youth achieve financial independence, and shares helpful tips for adults working to instill good decision-making.

6 Ways to Make Service Learning Part of Your Youth and Family-Serving Program
A National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth slideshow presents six steps to make service-learning an integral part of programs that serve youth and families.

Religious-Freedom Laws Add to Schools’ Complex Duties
Adriel Arocha was a kindergartner with long braids in 2008 when his American Indian religious beliefs and those of his father ran smack into the grooming policy of the Needville, Texas school system—and led to a federal court ruling centered on that state’s religious-freedom law.  

Parent, School Issues at Stake in Same-Sex Marriage Fight
A gay father with four children in the household he shares with his husband is seeking, along with five other same-sex couples – to prod Kentucky into accepting same-sex marriage. Their cases, along with similar ones from Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, go before the Supreme Court on April 28. The debate over gay marriage holds an array of implications for the nation’s schools, including the areas of employee benefits, parental rights of access, and even its effect on school atmosphere for gay youths.

After-School Funding Reinstated in Senate Education Bill
The U.S. Senate education committee affirmed its support for a major federal grant program. The committee approved an amendment reauthorizing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which provides after-school care to 1.6 million low-income children. The program had been dropped initially from the bill being created in the Senate to replace No Child Left Behind.

Stiff Sentences for Convicted Atlanta Educators Shock Many
A Fulton County, Ga. Judge sentenced eight of the 11 former Atlanta school employees convicted in a test-cheating scandal to prison, reserving the harshest penalties for those who refused to reach sentencing agreements with the district attorney.

Judge in Atlanta School Cheating Scandal May Reconsider Tough Sentences
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter appears poised to reconsider the prison sentences for eight former educators convicted of inflating students’ test scores.

Justice Department Will Investigate Dallas-Area Truancy Courts
The U.S. Department of Justice will investigate whether courts in Dallas County, Texas violate the rights of students who are referred for criminal penalties after periods of truancy. According to a report released in March by the Texas Appleseed Project (an advocacy organization that deals with a range of issues), an overreliance on the courts to address poor attendance in Texas schools has led the state to prosecute twice as many truancy cases as all other states combined, often in adult courts.

California Newspaper Wins Pulitzer for Stories on Corruption in District
The Daily Breeze newspaper of Torrance, Calif., won the Pulitzer Prize for stories about the 6,700-student Centinela Valley Union School District and its former superinendent, Jose Fernandez. Fernandez received annual total compensation of more than $600,000 per year, more than double the compensation of the head of the Los Angeles school system, the paper found by unmasking the opaque language of the superintendent's contract. The contract contained unusual perks such as an option to take out a low-interest loan to purchase a home, a shorter work year than most district leaders, and a stipulation that he could only be fired by four out of five members of the district's board.

Charter Operators Pull Back from Memphis Turnaround Effort
Three national charter school networks have scaled back plans to take over failing schools in Memphis through Tennessee’s state-run district, underscoring the challenges and risks involved in the high-stakes, politically charged endeavor of school turnarounds.

Adolescent Drug Testing Policies in Schools
School-based drug testing is a controversial approach to preventing substance use by students. Although school drug testing has hypothetical benefits, and studies have noted modest reductions in self-reported student drug use, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes widespread implementation of these programs because of the lack of solid evidence for their effectiveness.

Schools Remove Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports up to 20% of U.S. children in any given year receive a diagnosis of attention deficit or hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, substance abuse or conduct disorders. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, about 10% of youth have what is considered a serious mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression or bipolar disorder, which interferes with their functioning at home or at school. School-based health programs are teaming up with youth-development groups to deliver vital ongoing services to one group of vulnerable students.

Are the Children Well?
A policy brief by Child Trends advises the mental health challenges faced by the country’s young people call for shifting the focus of policy and practice from illness to promotion of wellness and flourishing.

Fact Sheets on Parenting a Child Recovering from Maltreatment
The Child Welfare Information Gateway has released a series of online fact sheets exploring the effects of maltreatment on children and how parents can help them recover. One of the fact sheets focuses on parenting a child who has experienced trauma. Other topics in the series include parenting a child who has experienced sexual abuse and abuse or neglect. Free print copies can be ordered online.

Child Maltreatment in Military Families: A Fact Sheet for Providers
Military service is stressful: frequent moves, separation from family and support networks, lengthy absences of a parent, increased demands on at-home parents, the return of a service member with physical or mental wounds, and other transitions and events that are unique to military life. A fact sheet from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) offers providers information about military families, child maltreatment in the military, how the deployment affects the family

99% of Kids Suffer Less Abuse in Scarce Safe Babies Court
Traditional family courts can further traumatize kids already suffering from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by moving them from one foster care home to another, by rarely letting them see their parents (if parents are willing and able) or by leaving them to languish in foster care limbo for years before finding them a permanent home. The concept behind Safe Babies Courts began in the 1990s, when a Miami-Dade circuit court began exploring the research that shows how toxic stress caused by adversity does long-term damage to children’s brains and bodies. The court also studied how changing the way courts handle cases, especially those involving children 5 years old and under, might reduce toxic stress and increase resilience in children and families.

Teen Dating Violence (Physical and Sexual) Among U.S. High School Students: Findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey
Researchers found that among students who dated, 20.9% of female students and 10.4% of male students experienced some form of teen dating violence during the 12 months before the survey.  

Annual Disparities Report Says Access to Health Care Improving
According to the 2014 National Quality and Disparities Report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, insurance rates improved substantially after individuals were able to obtain coverage through provisions of the Affordable Care Act,. The gains in access to care were greater among African American and Hispanic adults than whites.

Child Mental Illness Widespread, Yet Untreated
According to one 2011 study by the National Institute of Mental Health, the majority of youngsters who received treatment for behavioral or emotional problems had fewer than six visits with a provider during their lifetime, rather than the regular ongoing care that is often needed to resolve serious problems.

A Long Road Ahead, Achieving True Parity in Mental Health and Substance Use Care
Health insurance plans are falling short in coverage of mental health and substance abuse conditions according to a report issued by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), based on a survey of 2,720 consumers and an analysis of 84 insurance plans in 15 states.

New Suicide Prevention App from SAMHSA
The new suicide prevention app developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helps providers integrate suicide prevention into their practice and address suicide risk among their patients. Based on SAMSHSA’s Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (Safe-T) card, Suicide Safe helps providers use the SAFE-T approach with patients; explore interactive case study examples; quickly access and share information; browse conversation starters, and identify treatment options, locations, resources, and referrals.

Why are Some Homeless Youth Positive in the Face of Adversity?
Researchers wanted to explore what contributes to a personal sense of well-being (or lack thereof) among young adults experiencing homelessness. They asked 185 homeless 18- to 23-year-olds using a Texas drop-in center to complete a questionnaire about their happiness and life satisfaction. Participants who scored higher on a well-being scale also reported high levels of social support, more optimistic expectations for the future, and a better sense of the flow of time. Young people who felt less control over their futures also scored lower on the well-being scale.  

Colleges Support Homeless Students by Designating One Point of Contact
Spearheaded by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, networks of university employees in states like Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina have been working to help homeless students overcome common barriers to earning their degrees.

NCTSN Podcasts Now Available on iTunes
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has made available on iTunes ten audio podcasts developed for the Resource Parent Curriculum Online. 

Autism Wandering Tips
Nearly half of children with autism will wander from safe environments. More than one-third of children who wander are considered nonverbal. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has special protocols and checklists to help first responders. A fact sheet in English and Spanish provide tips for families and community members.

Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court
A guide funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention highlights trauma consultation and how it can help juvenile and family courts become more trauma-informed across environment, practice, and policy. The guide outlines a conceptual and basic operational framework for trauma-informed courts, including positioning them as stakeholders in the community.

Psychiatric Disorders & Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention
The “Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry” website is providing free access to a recently published article examining the relationship between psychiatric disorders and violence in delinquent youth after detention. The article is based on findings from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a longitudinal study of a diverse sample of juvenile detainees. The study was cosponsored by OJJDP. Free online access is available through May 6.

Journal of Juvenile Justice
OJJDP has released the 2015 issue of the online "Journal of Juvenile Justice." This issue features articles on behavior therapy for incarcerated females, juvenile justice in rural areas, the impact of child protective services on reoffending, reducing social distance between minority youth and law enforcement, youth recommendations on desistance from gangs, and how guardians of system-involved youth can address adolescent sex education.

Creating Welcoming & Inclusive Environments for Traumatized LGBTQ Youth
The Child Sexual Abuse committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) launched a new video that highlights the effect of trauma on LBGTQ youth; how bias impeded optimal care, and practical steps for creating safe and welcoming environments for traumatized LGBTQ youth. The video features five LGBTQ youth describing how trauma and bias have affected their ability to feel safe when seeking services. The video resource guide can be used as a training tool in follow-up meetings or supervision. Presenters discuss specific steps that professionals and organizations can take to create safer and more welcoming environments for traumatized LGTTQ youth. 

Workshops & Webinars

Addressing the Needs of Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Abuse (April 27, 3-4;30 p.m.)
The focus of the webinar will be the intersections of relationship abuse and sex trafficking among runaway and homeless youth. Experts will suggest ways that individuals, organizations, and communities can provide effective support to youth experiencing violence and abuse while living in unstable housing situations. A brief presentation on the Family and Youth Service’s Relationship Violence Toolkit, including its new section on minor sex trafficking, will be shared.

Industry Driven Sector Strategies (April 28, 1-2 p.m.)
Learn about how broad and deep industry engagement works at both a state and local level with great results for businesses and workers. Registration for the webinar is limited.

Enough is Known for Action: Credentials that Count for Youth (April 29, 2-3:30 p.m.)
Hosted by the Chicago and San Francisco Employment and Training Administration offices but open to all, the goal of the webinar is to inspire strategic planning and action in anticipation of the July 1, 2015 implementation date for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The webinar will provide information, resources, and local examples that will inform service delivery strategies for helping youth earn high school diplomas or equivalencies, and industry-recognized and postsecondary credentials that have value in the labor market.  

Cooking Up English Language Learning in OST (April 30)
Many youth in out-of-school time programs are interested in cooking. Cooking (and eating) is an enjoyable low stakes social activity, and can bring people together. The low-stakes environment is especially good for children and youth learning English and can provide a rich environment to learn and practice new vocabulary. Cooking can be used to engage children and youth in literacy activities, including reading, writing, speaking and technology. The registration deadline is April 29 at 5 p.m. Three lesson plans that use youth interest in cooking as a springboard for language and literacy development are provided.

The New Forgotten Half: Those Who Pursue College But Never Earn a Degree (May 1, 12-2 p.m.)
A recent study, The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them, commissioned by the William T. Grant Foundation, finds that many young people who enroll in college fail to complete their studies and attain a degree, and that these youth fare no better in the labor market than those with only a high school diploma. While 37 percent of on-time high school graduates enroll in community colleges and intend ultimately to pursue bachelor’s degrees, nearly half (46 percent) drop out within eight years, earning no degree and incurring significant expenses. These young people, who pursue but do not complete their higher education, are, according to the authors, the New Forgotten Half. The webinar will feature statistics on the number of community college students who do not get a credential; a description of the multiple difficulties and challenges facing students after entering college, such as lack of guidance and counseling in course selection and course sequencing or financing; and the fact that policy does little to prevent college dropouts and practically ignores those who have dropped out.  

An Introduction to Women’s Substance Use Disorders and Health (May 6, 3-4:30 p.m.)
The session focuses on primary health concerns, including pregnancy and medical conditions among women with substance use disorders. Speakers will share holistic approaches to addressing primary and behavioral concerns, which will enable both medical and behavioral health staff to better support women.

Which Chart is Best for My Data? Essential Charts for Nonprofits (May 14 2-3:30 p.m.)
The webinar will increase data visualization vocabulary and boost confidence in choosing correct chart types so that viewers will understand data at a glance and retain information for the long run. The cost is $89 for one person or $150 for between two and ten people.

Youth Programs as Powerful Settings for Social and Emotional Learning (May 15, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
The focus of the symposium is promoting social and emotional learning in youth program settings. Webinar presenters will discuss recent, path-breaking research on how youth learn skills such as strategic thinking and emotional management, and what strategies experienced leaders use to facilitate this development

 

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