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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 1 Edition: 

Events
Alexandria Workforce Development Center Career Readiness Workshops (April)
Workshop on Opportunities to Promote Children’s Behavioral Health: Health Care Reform and Beyond (April 1-2)
Strong Men & Women of Virginia (until April 14)
T.C. Principal’s Chat (April 8)
Hiring Event: Full-Time Lead Teachers and Floaters (April 9)
“The Virgin Cure” (April 13)
Hiring Event: Full-time Relationship Bankers and Bank Tellers (April 15)
Building Independence in Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism (April 15)
Weight of the State (April 20-21)
TeensWork! Job Fair (April 23)
T.C. Planetarium Show (April 28)
Pathways to Success for America’s Youth and Young Families (May 1)
Family and Youth Leadership Summit (May 2)
Titan Expo (May 3)
An Island Affair (June 5)

Careers/Volunteerism 
T.C. Williams Titan Expo Used Book Sale
Words Unlocked Poetry Initiative
Harry Burke Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Special Education and the Anne Lipnick Inclusion for All Awards
Creative Community Fellowships
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships
Open Society Foundations Fellowship
Rosalyn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism
L’Oreal Women of Worth
Kathy Goldfarb-Findling Leadership Award
School Safety Peer Reviewer
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Seeks National Advisory Council
SAPCA March Newsletter

Grantsmanship
5 Hot Causes for Donors in 2015
DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities

Research & Resources 
ACPS Five-Year Plan Will Focus Decision-Making
Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations (ACHSO) Needs Assessment
A-F School Accountability Over in Virginia After Gov. Terry McAuliffe Signs Bill
Districts Ramp Up Efforts to Link Spending, Academic Priorities
‘Education Innovation Clusters’ Aim to Improve Schools
Districts Work With Families to Curb Pre-K Absenteeism
Preschool Programs Out of Reach for Some Kids of Color and Low-Income Families
Fewer Children in Poverty, But Still Cause for Concern
‘Frontline’ Look at ‘The Vaccine War’ Includes School Issues
Art Paired with Astronomy to Hook Girls on Science
WriteReader, Top Selling Reading App, to Expand into U.S. Market
Wired to Learn: K-12 Students in the Digital Classroom
How Much Math, Science is Too Much?
How Well Are American Students Learning?
States Have Role to Play in Fostering Student Engagement
Common Core and White Privilege: The Claim with a Long Internet Life
Judge Tosses Out Anti-Common Lawsuit from Gov. Jindal, Legislators
School Requires Students to Clean Building as Alternative to Suspensions
Federal Student-Data-Privacy Bill Delayed Following Criticism
Appeals Court Upholds District’s Refusal to Air ‘Jesus Tattoo’ Ad
High Court Denies Appeals on Student Speech, Church Services at Schools
Atlanta Schools Cheating Trial Heads to Jury
For Students Who Want to Be Teachers, New Documentary Explores Obstacles
Don’t Become a Teacher, Advises Award-Winner Nancie Atwell
Parent Advisory Council Members in Connecticut Sue Local Superintendent, Board
After Divisive Start, Use of ‘Parent Trigger’ Law Matures
U.S. Citizenship Test Gains Traction as Diploma Criterion
America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future

Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Launches Tobacco-Free Schools Campaign and Website
Summer Camp Programs
What Happened to Summertime Play?
Vital Ingredient Missing in Children’s Lives: Nature
Medical Experts Look Beyond Law to Make Youth Sports Safer
Improving Youth Programs and Outcomes in Washington, D.C.
Foster Youth Not Yet Making the Grade
What Scientists Know About Baby Brains
Preschoolers More Likely to Lie, Fight When Daddy’s Depressed
Study: Talkative Fathers Matter for Young Children
Beyond Biological - Preserving the Emotional Connection between Fathers and Their Children
On Losing My Darling Natalie
Suicide Trends Among Persons Aged 10-24 Years
Support for Grieving Students Via Phone and Text
Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Services in the U.S.
Second-Generation Antipsychotic Drug Use Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children: Quality-of-Care Concerns
Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission
Cyberbullying: Powerful Video Shows the Emotional Effects on Students
A CNN Documentary Short Looks at a Young Transgender Student
Documentary on Homeless Teens in Chicago Aims to ‘Show the Struggle’
‘The Homestretch’ Airs April 13
Scenes from Washington, DC’s 2015 Point-in-Time Count
What Happens to Disenfranchised Students?
Juvenile Justice GPS – Geography, Policy, Practice & Statistics
Opportunity for Cities to Help Young People Achieve Financial Success
Getting Millennials Engaged in Civic Life

Workshops & Webinars 
Financial Capability and Youth Employment Programs: Steps to Get Started (April 2)
Women Connected: Families and Relationships in Women’s Substance Use and Recovery (April 9)
Early Team-Based Treatment for People with Psychotic Symptoms: The RAISE-Early Treatment Program Experience (April 14)

Events

Alexandria Workforce Development Center Career Readiness Workshops (April)
Registration is required to attend the workshops, either online or in person at the JobLink Alexandria Workforce Development Center (1900 N., Beauregard St., 3rd Floor, Suite 300). For additional information, contact Betty Sewell (703.746.5890).

Workshop on Opportunities to Promote Children’s Behavioral Health: Health Care Reform and Beyond (April 1-2)
The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council (NRC) Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health is hosting a workshop that will explore how healthcare reform, broadly considered, can provide opportunities and support innovations to promote children’s behavioral health and sustain them over time. The workshop will be held in Room 100 of the National Academies Keck Center (500 Fifth St. N.W.). Online registration is available for those who wish to attend in person or join by webcast.

Strong Men & Women of Virginia (until April 14)
Each year the Library of Virginia, with support from Dominion, celebrates the contributions of African Americans to Virginia’s history and culture during Black History Month. Their third annual traveling panel exhibition is currently at the Burke Library (4701 Seminary Road). For more information, contact Kyle Maier (703.746.1776).

T.C. Principal’s Chat (April 8)
The chat offers an opportunity to discuss a variety of school issues with Principal Suzanne Maxey. There is no set agenda and all are invited. Light refreshments will be served at the chat, which will take place at 8 a.m. in the principal’s conference room at the King Street campus. There will be two more chats -- May 6 and June 3. For more information or to RSVP, contact Patty Moran (703.824.6810).

Hiring Event: Full-Time Lead Teachers and Floaters (April 9)
Discovery Time Learning Center is recruiting full-time toddler teachers and floaters. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the City of Alexandria Workforce Development Center (1900 N. Beauregard St. Suite 300). Registration is required and will close at 5 p.m. on April 8. Please arrive no later than 8:55. Once the event starts, it will be closed to late arrivals.

“The Virgin Cure” (April 13)
The Commission for Women and Commission on HIV/AIDS are hosting a film screening at Metro Stage (1201 North Royal St.). The documentary explores the link between infant and child rape in Sub-Sahara Africa and its correlation with the “Virgin Cure Myth” – the belief that HIV/AIDS can be cured if the infected person has sexual contact with a virgin. There will be a light reception from 6-7 and the film will be shown at 7. The film is for mature audiences only.

Hiring Event: Full-time Relationship Bankers and Bank Tellers (April 15)
BB&T Bank will conduct on-site interviews for full-time Relationship Bankers and Bank Tellers at the City of Alexandria’s Workforce Development Center (1900 N. Beauregard St. Suite 300) at 9 a.m. Registration is required and will close at 5 p.m. on April 14. Please arrive no later than 8:55. Once the event starts, it will be closed to late arrivals.

Building Independence in Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism (April 15)
The workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Media Center of the T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus (3801 W. Braddock Road) will offer parents of children with intellectual disabilities or autism practical tools and strategies to help their child gain independence in personal care, functional living skills, and personal safety. For more information or to register, contact ACPS Parent Support Specialist Janet Reese (703.824.0129)

Weight of the State (April 20-21)
Virginia's fourth Weight of the State conference on childhood obesity prevention will be held at the Hilton Richmond Hotel in Short Pump (Richmond) and will showcase the latest approaches in childhood obesity prevention and control. The keynote presenter is Dr. Marion Nestle, who specializes in the politics of food and dietary choice. 

TeensWork! Job Fair (April 23)
The annual event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. in the T.C. Williams High School Cafeteria. The TeensWork! application as well as registration for the event are available online.

T.C. Planetarium Show (April 28)
The next monthly community show (from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m.) explores the ever increasing number of planets discovered outside Earth’s solar system and concludes with a walk across the late April sky. Registration opens at Noon on April 6 and is limited to 35 people. For more information, contact Planetarium Coordinator Bob Nicholson (703.824.6805).

Pathways to Success for America’s Youth and Young Families (May 1)
The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America’s Youth and Young Families was published in 1988 and helped define a new reality for youth who did not attend college. At that time, half of the nation’s youth – and not just those in poverty – were struggling to achieve success in postsecondary education, work and adulthood. Twenty-five years later a new reality has emerged with expanded college access -- as many as 86% of on-time high school graduates now continue their education. The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them addresses the new reality. That study found 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. A Capitol Hill forum hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum from 12 – 2 p.m. will present findings from the study and feature a two-part panel. Online registration is available.

Family and Youth Leadership Summit (May 2)
The summit is the only event of its kind focused on the issues that matter to families who have children and youth with mental health needs. A separate track for youth and young adults will be sponsored by Youth MOVE Virginia. The event is free; child care and travel stipends are also available.

Titan Expo (May 3)
The annual community event for people of all ages will be held by the athletic field at T.C. Williams High School (3330 King Street). Titan Expo will feature carnival games for children and teens (fish pond, bean bag toss), a car bash, bake sale, bingo, used book sale, inflatables, and great music. Admission is free with games and food available at a reasonable cost. All funds raised benefit the Larry Trice PTSA/SCA scholarships for student graduates from T.C. For more information, contact Linda Patterson.

An Island Affair (June 5)
Palm trees and an early summer night’s breeze await at the Hotel Monaco, the location of An Island Affair. Proceeds support the healthy growth and development of children in foster care and those who are at-risk of being placed in foster care. Tickets are $75 per person before May 22 and $85 thereafter

Careers/Volunteerism 

T.C. Williams Titan Expo Used Book Sale
Books will be resold at the annual Titan Expo community event from 1- 4 p.m. on May 3. All proceeds benefit the Larry Trice PTSA/SCA Scholarships for T.C. graduates. Donations of good quality used books (no encyclopedias, computer books older than 2012, or telephone books) can be dropped of at Chinquapin Recreation Center (3210 King Street) or at 3820 Fort Worth Avenue (on sunny days only) until May 1. For more information, contact Linda Patterson.

Words Unlocked Poetry Initiative
The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings invites youth held in secure facilities to participate in its nationwide poetry initiative and contest. The theme is “Transformations” and youth are encouraged to share poetry describing transformations they have experienced, hope to experience, or fear they may experience. Free online resources for the month-long program include daily lesson plans, classroom materials, and contest guidelines. The submission page will go live on April 10.

Harry Burke Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Special Education and the Anne Lipnick Inclusion for All Awards
ACPS is seeking nominations for the Harry Burke awards (which will be given to one preschool or elementary special education teacher, one middle or high school special education teacher, one elementary paraprofessional, and one middle or high school paraprofessional), and the Anne Lipnik Inclusion for All Awards (which will be awarded to one elementary general education teacher and one middle or high school general education teacher). The deadline for nominations, which can be made online, is April 10.

Creative Community Fellowships
National Arts Strategies is seeking applications from innovators committed to using arts and culture to design solutions to community problems. All fellows enter the program with an idea for a cultural project that responds to a problem they want to solve in their communities. The residential track brings twenty-two entrepreneurs together for a week of learning and networking. The online track is designed to accommodate entrepreneurs who may not be able to travel. The deadline to apply is April 26.

Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships
The foundation provides fellowships to advanced professionals in all fields – including the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and creative arts (except the performing arts). Often characterized as “midcareer” awards, the fellowships are intended to assist individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.  The deadline for applications is September 19.

Open Society Foundations Fellowship
The fellowship supports individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges. A fellowship project might identify a problem that has not been recognized, develop new policy ideas to address familiar problems, or offer a new advocacy strategy. The program accepts proposals from anywhere in the world. Full-time fellows based in the United States will receive a stipend of $80,000 or $100,000, depending on work experience, seniority, and current income. Stipends will be prorated for part-time fellows. Applications must be received by August 3.

Rosalyn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism
The fellowships provide stipends to journalists from the United States and Columbia to report on topics related to mental health and mental illness. The goals of the fellowships are to increase accurate reporting on mental health issues and decrease incorrect, stereotypical information; help journalists produce high-quality work that reflects an understanding of mental health issues, and develop a cadre of better informed print and electronic journalists. Six U.S. fellows are awarded stipends of $10,000 each every year. The application deadline is April 17; letters of recommendation and support should be submitted by May 1.

L’Oreal Women of Worth
The program honors women in the United States whose volunteer work serves their communities. Ten Women of Worth honorees will be recognized at an awards event in New York City. L’Oreal Paris will donate $10,000 in each honoree’s name to a charitable organization of her choice. Additionally, one National Woman of Worth honoree will receive an additional $25,000 donation for her cause. The application deadline is May 15.

Kathy Goldfarb-Findling Leadership Award
The Gifford Foundation is accepting nominations for an award that honors a nonprofit professional who best exemplifies the approach of the foundation’s former executive director to leadership. A prize of $3,000 can be used for professional development opportunities, personal needs, or just to recharge one’s batteries. The only restriction is that the funds may not be redirected to the awardee’s organization.

School Safety Peer Reviewer
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is seeking subject-matter experts to review applications for grant funding under the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, which seeks to build evidence-based knowledge about the causes of school violence and test innovative approaches to increase school safety. NIJ is seeking both technical reviewers (who have specialized knowledge of research and evaluation design) and practitioner reviewers (who have professional experience working in schools or on student safety) to review funding applications. The reviews will occur from June to August 2015.

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Seeks National Advisory Council
SAMSHA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is seeking to fill member vacancies for its National Advisory Council. Of the council’s 12 voting members, 9 shall be from among the leading representatives of the health disciplines relevant to the activities of CSAP. A total of three members should be from the public, to include leaders in the fields of public policy, public relations, law, health policy economics, or management. To be considered for the council, submit resume and a short biography by April 10 to Matthey J. Aumen.

SAPCA March Newsletter
Among the features included in the March newsletter of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) is a photo album of the Kick Off of Kick Butts Day, an annual day of activism sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Freed Kids that empowers youth to take action against tobacco use.

Grantsmanship

5 Hot Causes for Donors in 2015
The Chronicle of Philanthropy outlines the 2015 priorities of donors.

DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities
The DCHS Office of Youth Services compiled a listing of grant opportunities on March 24.

Research & Resources

ACPS Five-Year Plan Will Focus Decision-Making
The goals of the 2020 Strategic Plan include better accountability and community engagement, the recruitment and retention of teachers, updating facilities and classrooms, health and wellness, and academic excellence and equity. Over the next three months the stakeholder committee will continue to tweak the plan based on input from community forums, online data, and several smaller presentations to groups including teachers, staff and parent teacher associations. The School Board will adopt the final plan in June.

Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations (ACHSO) Needs Assessment
The report, Meeting Needs Today, provides a snapshot of the state of Alexandria’s human services system (including services, service gaps and service improvement) since the last needs assessment in 2008.

A-F School Accountability Over in Virginia After Gov. Terry McAuliffe Signs Bill
The bill signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe on March 19 requires the state school board to redesign the School Performance Report Card “so that it is more effective in communicating to parents and the public the status and achievements of the public schools and local school divisions” in Virginia. Factors that the state board can consider include student performance on state assessments, student growth indicators, school safety, and total cost and funding per pupil.

Districts Ramp Up Efforts to Link Spending, Academic Priorities
The school district in Wylie, Texas is one of six districts that is participating a pilot effort by the Chicago-based Government Finance Officers Association to persuade school districts around the country to follow a set of practices that bring budgeting decisions in line with clear instructional priorities. The organization of public finance officials is pushing for school districts to drop the year-to-year budget cycles and follow a budgeting process that requires long-term planning guided by efforts to improve student achievement.

‘Education Innovation Clusters’ Aim to Improve Schools
“Education innovation clusters” – regional partnerships among school districts, research organizations, private companies, and other groups to improve schools – are evolving in cities and regions around the world. To help coordinate and accelerate the growth of education innovation clusters, Washington-based Digital Promise (an ed-tech advocacy) announced this month that it is designing a network that will share lessons learned in these hubs with schools in the United States and abroad.

Districts Work With Families to Curb Pre-K Absenteeism
According to a study released in January, a quarter of the preschoolers from low-income families enrolled in the District of Columbia’s preschool year on 2013-14. That is the equivalent of a month’s worth of classes. Nearly a third of the 4-year-olds in Chicago’s school-based preschools missed 10% of school days in 2011-12, the threshold for being considered chronically absent. The number of preschoolers in New York City absent more than 10% of the school year approached 50% in 2012-13.

Preschool Programs Out of Reach for Some Kids of Color and Low-Income Families
Attending high-quality preschool can significantly contribute to the health development of young children, especially those in low-income families. Despite its effectiveness, the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that 63% of 3 to 4 year-olds in low-income families do not attend preschool, a higher rate compared with their more affluent counterparts (46%). Data also show that Hispanic and American Indian children were enrolled in preschool at lower rates than other races.

Fewer Children in Poverty, But Still Cause for Concern
For the first time since the great recession, the child poverty rate has declined. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 22% of kids (16 million children) lived in poverty in 2013, a number equal to the child populations of Texas and California combined.

‘Frontline’ Look at ‘The Vaccine War’ Includes School Issues
The new report leans heavily toward the medical and pharmaceutical professionals and others who argue the need to vaccinate the nation’s children against 14 infectious diseases.

Art Paired with Astronomy to Hook Girls on Science
The nonprofit Rising Stargirls works to get girls, particularly those from poor and minority backgrounds, interested in astronomy careers. It believes efforts to interest students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics should incorporate more art, drama, and other “soft” subjects.

WriteReader, Top Selling Reading App, to Expand into U.S. Market
Founded in 2011, the Copenhagen-based WriteReader seeks to bring a new approach to reading instruction, where children learn to read by first learning how to write. Their write to Read app helps children “sound out and write books on topics that interest them from day one”. Children use the iPad app to record their stories, which then are translated into text through the app’s speak-to-text feature. A phonetic keyboard allows the child to write out the story. Parents or teachers can also use the interface to write the story underneath the child’s version so that children can learn to read by comparing the two texts.

Wired to Learn: K-12 Students in the Digital Classroom
A white paper by the Center for Promise at America’s Promise Alliance explores digital learning as a strategy to improve student classroom experiences, and highlights the efforts of five school districts across the United States to use technology to reshape the traditional K-12 learning environment.

How Much Math, Science is Too Much?
A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology determined the optimal amount of homework for 13 year-old students is about an hour a day. Spending too much time on homework was linked to a decrease in academic performance.

How Well Are American Students Learning?
The 2015 Brown Center Report, released by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, includes three studies: the gender gap in reading, the impact of the Common Core State Standards – English Language Arts on reading achievement, and student engagement. One surprising finding concerned the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA): “National scores on PISA’s index of intrinsic motivation to learn mathematics are compared to national PISA math scores. Surprisingly, the relationship is negative. Countries with highly motivated kids tend to score lower on the math test. Conversely, higher-scoring nations tend to have less-motivated kids”.

States Have Role to Play in Fostering Student Engagement
A new report by the National Association of State Boards of Education concluded state education leaders should take a more active role in supporting and pushing schools to nurture student engagement, a critical driver of academic achievement.

Common Core and White Privilege: The Claim With a Long Internet Life
At an event hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics last year, a teacher at the private Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H. discussed his motivations for helping to write the common core’s English/language arts standards: “The reason why I helped write the standards and the reason I am here today is that, as a white man’s society, I’m given a lot of privilege that I didn’t earn. I think it’s really important that all kids get an equal opportunity to learn how to read. And I think I had decided advantages as a result of who I was”.

Judge Tosses Out Anti-Common Lawsuit from Gov. Jindal, Legislators
A Louisiana judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by Gov. Bobby Jindal and state legislators seeking to invalidate the state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

School Requires Students to Clean Building as Alternative to Suspensions
Students at Cesar Chavez K-8 School were assigned janitorial duties while their classmates played at recess or ate lunch. For the offenses of “goofing off in class, rolling their eyes at a teacher, and playing four square too aggressively”, they cleaned the gym and collected restroom trash. The school’s principal defended the punishment as “community service”. A district official compared the practice to roadside inmate work crews. Perhaps the lesson is when districts put pressure on schools to lift suspensions, they must also provide them with meaningful alternatives or risk having the blank spaces in their policies filled in with practices like janitorial duty.

Federal Student-Data-Privacy Bill Delayed Following Criticism
Introduction of a bill intended to establish a new level of federal involvement in the protection of K-12 students’ privacy has been delayed following criticism that lawmakers fell well short of creating the strong national law for which advocates hoped. The primary federal student-data-privacy law currently in place, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), was enacted in 1974. It is widely regarded as inadequate for addressing the challenges of the digital age and largely silent on many of the practices employed in the rapidly expanding $8 billion-per-year ed-tech industry. If enacted, the proposed Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 would mostly prohibit ed-tech vendors from selling the information they collect on students and using that information to target students with advertisements.

Appeals Court Upholds District’s Refusal to Air ‘Jesus Tattoo’ Ad
A federal appeals court has upheld the refusal of the Lubbock Independent School District (Texas) to air a “Jesus Tattoo” ad on the video scoreboard of its large high school football stadium. A private religious group sought to run the ad featuring a shirtless, heavily tattooed Jesus Christ.

High Court Denies Appeals on Student Speech, Church Services at Schools
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up two closely watched education cases. In Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, the justices refused without comment to hear an appeal brought by California high school students who were barred from wearing American flag apparel during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at their school. An administrator had prohibited the apparel, citing hostilities between white students and those of Mexican descent. In Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York, the justices declined for the third time to get involved in a long-running dispute between a small church congregation and the nation’s largest school system over the use of schools for church services. The Bronx Household of Faith has been battling since 1994 to use school facilities.

Atlanta Schools Cheating Trial Heads to Jury
Jurors in the Atlanta school district’s test cheating case have begun deliberations in what is believed to be the longest and most complex academic misconduct trial in Georgia and U.S. history. A dozen former Atlanta teachers and administrators are accused of conspiring to artificially inflate test scores to meet federal standards by changing answers or guiding students to fill in the correct responses on a 2009 state test. The prosecution said bonuses and salary raises were awarded based on test scores. If jurors find the defendants guilty, they could each face up to 20 years in jail.

For Students Who Want to Be Teachers, New Documentary Explores Obstacles
A new documentary follows a trio of students deciding whether to pursue a career as an educator. “The Road to TEACH” follows the cross-country road trip of three 20-somethings who are considering careers in education despite discouragement from parents and peers.

Don’t Become a Teacher, Advises Award-Winner Nancie Atwell
An influential language arts teacher who recently won a $1 million international teaching prize discouraged others from following in her footsteps: “Public school teachers are so constrained right now by the common core standards and the tests that are developed to monitor what teachers are doing with them. If you’re a creative, smart young person, I don’t think this is the time to go into teaching unless an independent school would suit you”.

Parent Advisory Council Members in Connecticut Sue Local Superintendent, Board
Former members of the Bridgeport Public School’s District Parent Advisory Council filed a lawsuit against the district’s interim superintendent and the school board for removing members of the group’s executive board.

After Divisive Start, Use of ‘Parent Trigger’ Law Matures
Five years after California parents gained the power to initiate major changes at failing schools, advocates of the state’s controversial parent-trigger law are expanding their strategies to broaden its influence. Two startups point to disparate directions California’s maturing parent-trigger law may take.

U.S. Citizenship Test Gains Traction as Diploma Criterion
One organization’s push to make the test administered to prospective U.S. citizens a high school graduation requirement is finding early momentum in many states. Arizona and North Dakota this past January became the first states to pass legislation requiring students to correctly answer a portion of the exam, administered by the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services to people seeking U.S. citizenship, in order to graduate from high school.

America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future
The central message of the report, the first in a series to be produced by the Educational Testing Service, is that despite having the highest levels of educational attainment of any previous American generation, 16-34 year-olds on average demonstrate relatively weak skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments compared to their international peers.

Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Launches Tobacco-Free Schools Campaign and Website
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) is launching its 24/7 campaign, a youth-driven initiative to help schools become tobacco-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week. VFHY is also launching a website, 247CampaignVA.com, which will offer free online resources and materials that Virginia schools can use to adopt or promote 100% tobacco-free schools policies. The Campaign will work with schools and school divisions across Virginia to help them implement, enforce and communicate new and existing tobacco-free school policies.

Summer Camp Programs
The City of Alexandria's Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Activities offers diverse and fun-filled camp programs over spring break for youth ages 3-17. Spots are still open for Tennis Camp and Hoop Life Basketball Camp, both for ages 5-14. Also open is the FUNtastic Spring Break Camp, a five-day adventure for ages 5-12 that includes exploring nature, hiking, scavenger hunts and more. For more information or to register, visit alexandriva.gov/recreation or contact the Registration and Reservation Office at 703-746-5414 or RegisterARPCA@alexandriava.gov.

What Happened to Summertime Play?
According to historians of play, children spend much less time in unstructured play than they used to and many schools no longer offer recess. Children ages 8 to 10 spend nearly eight hours per day using electronic media, according to a 2013 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Older children and teens spend more than 11 hours per day. According to Kaiser Family, a child in the U.S. is six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike.

Vital Ingredient Missing in Children’s Lives: Nature
In his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”, Richard Louv argued that children’s mental, spiritual and physical health are linked to the natural world. But children spend far less time outdoors than they did in the past. A survey by the Outdoor Foundation in 2009 of more than 41,000 young people between the ages of 6 and 25 found that youth participation in outdoor recreation declined since 2006 in all age groups and among both boys and girls. Research speaks to the benefits of youth being outdoors. A 2003 study by a Cornell associate professor found that plants, green views, and access to natural play areas helped reduce stress among highly stressed children. Research published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being in 2011 found that children with ADHD who played regularly in green settings had milder symptoms than other kids with ADHD.

Medical Experts Look Beyond Law to Make Youth Sports Safer
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine held two days of meetings and programs with representatives from all 50 state high school athletic associations at NFL offices in Manhattan. The goal was to have decision-makers return to their states and push high schools to put into place recommendations on how best to handle potentially catastrophic medical conditions such as heat stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, and head and neck injuries.

Improving Youth Programs and Outcomes in Washington, D.C.
A cohort of youth-serving nonprofits in Washington, D.C. completed a self-assessment and quality improvement process led by the National Youth Employment Coalition. The over-arching recommendation was that public and private funders and direct service providers should co-invest in performance management and quality improvement at the organizational level, and should work together to develop a more coherent youth employment system based on a career pathways framework.

Foster Youth Not Yet Making the Grade
California’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) calls out foster youth as a distinct subpopulation of underserved students who need added supports and services to improve their educational outcomes. The recently released report, Foster Youth and Early Implementation of the LCFF: Not Yet Making the Grade, finds both reason and cautious optimism and much work ahead as districts begin to meet the stark educational needs of these students.

What Scientists Know About Baby Brains
Research of the director of outreach at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington focused on the role of social interactions in infants’ and toddlers’ language learning and how social cues might help toddlers learn from screen media. EdWeek interviewed her regarding research coming out of the institute.

Preschoolers More Likely to Lie, Fight When Daddy’s Depressed
A study published online in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice suggests a decline in a father’s mental health can cause similar problems for his children. Researchers found children of fathers who were depressed in the first year were more likely to show a range of negative behaviors, from hitting and lying to anxiety and sadness. Moreover, having a depressed parent (either mom or dad) was a stronger predictor of a toddler showing bad behaviors than parent fighting was.

Study: Talkative Fathers Matter for Young Children
A study by researchers in the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at North Carolina found how much fathers talk to young children has a direct positive effect on their kindergarten performance.

Beyond Biological - Preserving the Emotional Connection between Fathers and Their Children
The presentation was the focus of a workshop by SCAN that identified strategies and resources that attend to the reciprocal nature between fathers and their children.

On Losing My Darling Natalie
Doris Fuller lost her daughter to terminal mental illness this month. She killed herself one month short of her 29th birthday by stepping in front of a train in Baltimore.

Suicide Trends Among Persons Aged 10-24 Years
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed mortality data for 10-24 year-olds during the period 1994 to 2012. Results of the analysis indicated that during 1994 to 2012, suicide rates by suffocation increased on average by 6.7% and 2.2% annually for females and males, respectively. Increase in suffocation suicide rates occurred across demographic and geographic subgroups during the period. Clinicians, hotline staff, and others who work with young persons need to be aware of current trend in suffocation suicides in this group so that they can accurately assess risk and education families.

Support for Grieving Students Via Phone and Text
PRS CrisisLink is a local service that offers a free, confidential hotline and textline that is available 24/7/365 to anyone who needs help. The crisis workers answering the hotline and textline understand that everyone grieves differently and that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to experience a loss. If experiencing a crisis, reach out. Hotline: 703.527.4077 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255); Textline: 703.940.0888.

Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Services in the U.S.
The authors of the report write, “Over the past decade, the study of inequality in health and mental health has grown rapidly with researchers seeking to quantify the extent of the problem, identify causal mechanisms, and develop interventions to eliminate specific disparities”. Even so, inequity persists and in most areas of health care progress has been limited and incremental in nature. There is good reason to believe that a renewed focus on prevention of youth mental health problems among minorities could not only yield more rapid results, but could also drastically reduce overall inequality in the long-term”.

Second-Generation Antipsychotic Drug Use Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children: Quality-of-Care Concerns
The U.S. Office of the Inspector General released a report raising serious quality of care concerns about prescribing anti-psychotics to Medicaid-enrolled children. The report revealed that children in five states were being prescribed antipsychotic drugs for too long at too young an age. The report, which reviewed Medicaid claims for a sampling of hundreds of children from New York, California, Florida, Illinois and Texas from 2011, identified “quality of care concerns” in 67% of the claims for antipsychotic drugs prescribed to children.

Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission
The report contains recommendation for “Mental and Behavioral Health”: “It should embrace system-of-care principles, including greater coordination and efficiency of care, community partnerships, inclusion of families and youth as collaborators and decision-makers, and incorporation of evidence-based practices as an organizing framework”.

Cyberbullying: Powerful Video Shows the Emotional Effects on Students
A clever, powerful video created for the Canadian Safe School Network is based on those fun clips from the Jimmy Kimmel show where celebrities read mean things people tweet to them with an obvious lack of concern that there are real people reading their words. 

A CNN Documentary Short Looks at a Young Transgender Student
Raising Ryland” is the story of Jeff and Hillary Whittington and their first child, a daughter named Ryland. Within Ryland’s first twelve months, the parents realized their child was not responding to sounds. A diagnosis of profound deafness came soon after and Ryland received cochlear imprints. As soon as he could hear, he said “I am a boy”.  

Documentary on Homeless Teens in Chicago Aims to ‘Show the Struggle’
The documentary “The Homestretch” follows three youth experiencing homelessness in Chicago. Roque, Anthony and Kasey were among the more than 19,000 homeless students in the city’s public schools and an estimated 1.2 million homeless youth nationwide — a figure many advocates say is probably an undercount.

‘The Homestretch’ Airs April 13
The documentary will air on 10 p.m. on PBS’s Independent Lens.The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth recommended three ideas for using “The Homestretch” as an awareness and fundraising tool.

Scenes from Washington, DC’s 2015 Point-in-Time Count
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds services for the homeless in communities across the nation through its Continuum of Care program. Every year, grantees of the program are required to survey their homeless population on one night in January. An estimated 350 volunteers assisted the count in the District of Columbia. A slideshow captures moments from the event.

What Happens to Disenfranchised Students?
Research offered by OJJDP revealed five categories of risk factors that contribute to youth gang membership: community, family, school, peer group, and individual. Factors in the school category are more controllable: academic failure; low educational aspirations, especially among females; negative labeling by teachers; trouble at school; few teacher role models; educational frustration; low commitment to school; high levels of antisocial behaviors in school; low achievement test scores; and identification as being learning disabled.

Juvenile Justice GPS – Geography, Policy, Practice & Statistics
The online resource features national and state information on state laws and juvenile justice practice to help chart system change. The new juvenile justice services section examines how states are organized and how they are advancing evidence-based practices and reporting system performance.  

Opportunity for Cities to Help Young People Achieve Financial Success
The National League of Cities is providing guidance to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor on their new technical assistance opportunity to help cities include financial capability in their youth employment programs.

Getting Millennials Engaged in Civic Life
The path to getting the nation’s youths to become more fully educated and engaged begins – but does not end – in the classroom.

Workshops & Webinars

Financial Capability and Youth Employment Programs: Steps to Get Started (April 2, 3 - 4 p.m.)
The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration is partnering with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National League of Cities (NLC) to expand financial capability training opportunities for youth. The webinar will feature CFPB experts who will talk about their experience infusing financial capability into summer youth programs as well as promising practices to integrate such services in year-round programs. NLC will outline strategies municipal leaders and workforce systems can use to integrate these services. Application procedures and selection criteria for the pilot program will also be discussed.

Women Connected: Families and Relationships in Women’s Substance Use and Recovery (April 9, 3 – 4:30 p.m.)
The webinar offers service providers specific strategies to address the need of women to connect with others, especially children and family. Participants will gain knowledge and resources to help engage women in substance use treatment and recovery, including an array of family-based interventions.

Early Team-Based Treatment for People with Psychotic Symptoms: The RAISE-Early Treatment Program Experience (April 14, 2 – 3 p.m.)
Hosted by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the webinar will feature a discussion of how early psychosis clinics are employing methodologies developed for the NIMH RAISE research studies.

 

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