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Youth Topics eNewsletter

This week's youth topics.

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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

In the February 2 Edition: 

Events
February Events for Families
SFA Federal Student Aid Workshop (February 2)
Community Lodgings Open House for Afterschool Volunteers (February 4)
Community Planetarium Show (February 2)
U-Street, The Musical (February 5, 6)
Second Thursday Art Night (February 11)
Pluto – In a Class By Itself (February 23)
Fair Housing Design and Construction Accessibility Requirements  (February 24)
USA Science and Engineering Festival (April 14, 15, 16-17)
Global Youth Justice Training Institute (June 14-16)

Careers/Volunteerism
Youth Philanthropy Project
American Youth Policy Forum Summer and Fall Internships
Minority Summer Oncology Fellowship Award
West Point Middle School STEM Workshop
Junior Solar Sprint
Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS)
Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS)
UNITE
Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP)
Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP)
The High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP)
College Qualified Leaders
Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP)
Fuller Challenge
World of Children Award Program
APA Early-Career and Mid-Career Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth, and Families
Middle School Course Work Scholarships
Innovations in Reading Prize
Library Public Relations Award
Local Hero Award
Family Medicine Research Projects
Pediatric Research Early Career Grants
Neuroscience Fellowships
Damon Runyon Fellowship Award
Innovative Regulatory Science Awards
US - Russia Social Expertise Exchange 
Professional Photography Projects
Excellence in Human Resource Research Award
ACAP January Newsletter
Volunteer Times

Grantsmanship
DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities

Research & Resources 
Ever Wondered How the Decision is Made to Close Schools or Delay Start Times?
ACPS Students Join Cast to Star in Musical
T.C. Culinary Graduate Sees Rapid Promotion at Top Old Town Restaurant
Social Media Seminar for ACPS Parents
New Alexandria School Board Formally Installed
Understanding the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY 2017

Education
President Obama Announces Computer Science for All Initiative
Quality Counts Report Card
2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief
State of the K-12 Market 2015
‘Micro Schools’ Could Be New Competition for Private K-12
Supreme Court Declines to Take Up Case on Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse
Justices Ask Obama Administration to Weigh In On Special Education Case
Justice Scalia’s Comments in Affirmative Action Case Draw Fire
LGBT Students: Colleges Seeking Title IX Exemptions to Be Named by Ed. Dept.
Texas Cheerleaders Win in Court Again Over Bible Banners
Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions
Walton Foundation Puts Up $1 Billion to Boost Charters
From Walton to Zuckerberg: How Education Philanthropy Has Changed
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Pledges Big Contribution to Education
Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo Come Together to Provide Flint Public Schools with Water for Students Through the End of the Year
Revenue Woes in Oil, Coal States Squeeze K-12
District Per-Pupil Spending Fell Slightly in Fiscal Year 2013 New Federal Data Show
Snow Days and E-Learning: A Roundup of News Coverage

Study Finds Educational Choice Programs Combat Troubling School Segregation Trends
After 5 Decades, Ruby Bridges Gets Applause Instead of Death Threats in School
Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington’s Slave
Lawsuit Alleges Expelled Students Get Substandard Education
States Move to Issue High School Diplomas Retroactively

Federal Officials Urge Collaboration Between Schools, Health Care Providers
Effect of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act on the Nutritional Quality of Meals Selected by Students and School Lunch Participation Rates
A School Lunch Compromise? School Nutrition Association Reveals Details
Senate Committee Approves Changes to After-school, Summer Meals

KIDS COUNT Data Center Moves Race-Related Statistics Center Stage
Analytics in K-12 Schools: Big Data, or Big Brother?
The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education
Data Dashboards a High Priority in National Ed-Tech Plan
Adaptive Digital Curricula Lagging in Science, Social Studies
Digital Tools Evolving to Track Students’ Emotions, Mindsets
Schools Turn to Digital Tools for Personalizing Career Searches
More Districts Mine Data to Refine Teacher Hiring
Score-Report Holdups Mar College-Testing Season
Tracking Transfer: New Measures of Institutional and State Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students Attain Bachelor’s Degrees
World’s Largest Ed-Tech Show Launches With ‘Student-Led Learning’ Theme

Majority of Finalists for 2016 National Teacher of the Year Are Educators of Color
Class Composition Can Bias English Teachers' Observation Scores, Study Finds
Chowchilla Teacher Under Fire for Buying Computers for Students to Use
Hearing Delayed on Clarksdale Principal Cheating Charges
Cleveland School Resource Officer Placed on Leave over ‘Hurtful’ Facebook Post about Tamir Rice
Education Official Fired Over Facebook Posts
Trial in Suit Claiming Racial Bias in Ferguson-Florrissant School Board Elections
Detroit District Seeks Restraining Order, Injunction Against Teachers
Detroit Judge Declines to Force Protesting Teachers Back to Classrooms
AFT, Local Teachers File Lawsuit Against Detroit Schools
Michigan Lawmakers Target Detroit Teachers' Sickouts
Judge Puts Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts on Hold
Illinois Republicans Propose State Takeover of Chicago Public Schools
Layoffs in Chicago District Amid an Uncertain Future
Chicago Teachers’ Union Mulling ‘Serious Offer’ on Contract from School District
Chicago Teachers Union Bargaining Team Rejects City's Contract Offer
Governing Urban Schools in the Future: What’s Facing Philadelphia and Pennsylvania
Special Education Graduation Disparities Highlighted in New Report

Youth Well-Being
Five Things to Know About Boys
Five Questions That Will Help You Help Kids by Asking About Pets
Skybrary
Student Launches #1000BlackGirlBooks Book Drive for Jamaican School

Study: Students Get Most Physical Activity at School, But It’s Not Enough
Final Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity
The NCAA's Hidden Influence on High Schools
NCAA’s Power 5 Adopt New Injury Rules, Table Talk of Athlete Time Demands
Don’t Let Kids Play Football
Pittsburgh Steelers Star Takes H.S. Football Team to See ‘Concussion’ Movie
Timeline: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis
Concussions Found to Be the Most Common H.S. Cheerleading Injury
Illegal Contact Found to Often Lead to Concussions in Youth Ice Hockey Players
Judge Nixes First Class-Action Lawsuit Over High School Concussions
Removing Football Helmets from Practice May Reduce Head-Impact Frequency
H.S. Sports Programs in Virginia, Oklahoma Facing Allegation of Sexual Assaults
Charges Stick Against School Officials in Players Rape Case
Superintendent Cancels H.S. Basketball Season After Alleged Hazing Assault
Student-Athlete Receives Five-Game Ban for Criticizing State Association on Twitter
Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Pop Warner to Proceed to Trial
Missouri Legislator Withdraws Bill to Revoke Scholarships If Student-Athletes Strike
Nebraska School Activities Association Unveils Draft Transgender-Student Policy  

Child Care Costs Have Become Huge Burden to Families
Moneyball for Head Start
$26 Million Goes to New, National Early-Ed. Research Network
What Do Disadvantaged Youth Need More than Anything Else?
The Intersection of Afterschool and Competency-Based Learning
Potential Opportunities for Out-of-School Time in New Education Law
With Merger and Grant, Wyman Hopes to Expand Work with Underserved Kids
Mentoring Resources
College Bound
Recruitment, Outreach, and Engagement of Disconnected Young Adults under WIOA Lessons Learned from the Evaluation of the Linking Innovation Knowledge Employment (@LIKE) Program
Workforce Training Programs Should Consider Equity, Acting Ed. Secretary Says
Investing in Tomorrow: Helping Families Build Savings and Assets

New Recommendation to Screen for Maternal Depression
Addressing Maternal Mental Health in the Pediatric Medical Home
Kids in Crisis
Creating a Safe Environment for Teens Experiencing Digital Abuse
Promoting Protective Factors
Preparing Youth to Thrive
Jed Foundation & Steve Fund Forge Partnership to Support Mental Health of College Students of Color
New Jersey Teens Help Create New Law for Youth to Access Mental Health Without Parents’ Consent
MISLABELED: The Impact of Bullying and Discrimination on California Muslim Students
What Does it Mean to Be Culturally Competent?

Wounded Teen Activist Returns to City Where He Was Shot
The Bystander Effect
New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer
Advocates Hope for Action on National Background Check Bill

Luke: Abuse in Foster Care as Trans Youth
How Research Evidence Informs Foster Youth Medication Policies
Fewer Teens Drink, Smoke Cigarettes, Pot Use Stagnant, More Suffer Depression
Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
Understanding Methamphetamine Use Among Homeless Youth
Reclaiming My Life after Meth
New Strategies for Treating Addiction Among Teens  

Overwhelmed Federal Officials Released Immigrant Teens to Traffickers in 2014
Obama Administration Placed Children with Human Traffickers, Report Says
NCTSN Resources on Human Trafficking
Faces of Human Trafficking Resource Guide
What Promotes Resilience Among Female Survivors of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
HIV Testing Uncommon in Teens Despite Recommendations: CDC

Juvenile Justice
Supreme Court Extends Parole Rights to Juvenile Murderers Sentenced to Life
Restorative Justice Can Help Stop the School-To-Prison Pipeline, NY Panel Says
A Blueprint for Youth Justice Reform

Workshops & Webinars 
Career Pathways: From Ideas to Action, Tools for States (February 10)
Building a Robust Afterschool System: Lessons and Opportunities (February 17)
How Research Evidence Informs Foster Youth Medication Policies (February 22)
Behind the Nation's Record-Setting High School Graduation Rate (On Demand)

Events

February Events for Families 
The Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Center of ACPS is hosting free events for families during the month of February.  

SFA Federal Student Aid Workshop (February 2)
Every senior should fill out the 30-minute application to qualify for free money from the federal government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, colleges, and some private scholarships. Free, confidential assistance from financial aid professionals will be available from 5 – 8 p.m. at T.C. Williams. Contact Margaret Feldman, Director of College Advising (703.824.6730) for additional information.  

Community Planetarium Show (February 2)
The last week of January and the first week of February mark a dark period in NASA’s manned space flight program. Explore disasters and near disasters and the lessons learned; not recommended for young children. The show is from 7 – 9 p.m.

Community Lodgings Open House for Afterschool Volunteers (February 4)
Drop in at Brent Place (375 S. Reynolds Street) or the Fifer Learning Center (607 Notabene Drive) from 2:45 – 6 p.m. to observe what an afterschool tutor does, ask questions, and sign up. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, contact Jane Collins (703.549.4407).  

U-Street, The Musical (February 5, 6)
Having the streets of Washington, D.C. as a backdrop, the gritty musical engages in a series of political debates on topics ranging from race and religion, to immigration and the justice system. The production by the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority, the Alexandria Department of Parks Recreation and Cultural Activities, and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 5, and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on February 6 at the Richard Kauffman Auditorium at the Lee Center 1108 Jefferson Street).   

Second Thursday Art Night (February 11)
Enjoy a special after-hours event from 6 – 9 p.m.at the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the second Thursday of every month. Browse open studios and galleries, interact with artists, and enjoy special programming.   

Pluto – In a Class By Itself (February 23)
In celebration of the 86th anniversary of Pluto’s discovery, how Pluto was discovered, demoted to a dwarf planet, and studied close up during the New Horizon’s July 2015 Flyby will be examined. The show is from 7 – 8 p.m.  

Fair Housing Design and Construction Accessibility Requirements (February 24)
The Virginia Housing Alliance's new training center, the Virginia Housing Education and Learning Partnership (VA-HELP), will host a training event regarding Fair Housing Design and Construction Accessibility Requirements. The training will cover basic terms and concepts regarding major civil rights laws and principles of accessibility, basic design principles and guidelines, reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification, and the future universal design market. Scholarships are available for young professionals, students, and nonprofit employees interested in attending. The event will be held at Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Virginia Housing Center (4224 Cox Road, Glen Allen).
  
USA Science and Engineering Festival (April 14, 15, 16-17)
Celebrate Science at the largest STEM education event of its kind in the United States. Over 1,000 leading STEM organizations will present hands-on science and engineering activities for people of all ages. The event is free of charge. Sneak Peek Friday will take place on April 15, 2016; registration info for schools will be provided soon.   

Global Youth Justice Training Institute (June 14-16)
Global Youth Justice will host its annual training institute in Cape Cod, MA. Participants will learn strategies to enhance youth diversion programs—teen, peer, youth, and student courts and peer juries. The agenda includes peer-to-peer training sessions on recruiting/training volunteers, grants and funding, increasing youth referrals, community partnerships, wrap-around services, and substance abuse screening and treatment. A half-day grant writing and resource session will also be offered.

Careers/Volunteerism 

American Youth Policy Forum Summer and Fall Internships
AYPF is currently hiring for both our summer and fall internship positions. Duties include working with program staff to collect data for briefing papers, fact sheets, and publications; researching promising practices to help identify potential programs to highlight in publications, forums, and study tours; tracking and analyzing effective youth policies and practices in states and districts, and assisting with communications to key contacts on Capitol Hill.  

Minority Summer Oncology Fellowship Award
The annual program of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is designed to introduce medical students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine to the discipline of radiation oncology early in their medical education. Although medical students in all years are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to first- and second-year students. The fellowship provides each student with a $4,500 package that includes a $3,500 stipend for the eight-week training program (exceptions can be made for a longer program and will need to be approved by ASTRO’s Healthcare Access and Training Subcommittee) and $1,000 toward the cost of travel to the society’s 2017 annual meeting. To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled in a medical school in the United States and be able to identify a mentor with a successful record of research productivity. The deadline for applications is March 4.  

West Point Middle School STEM Workshop
The program offers 6th and 7th grade students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities taught by faculty and cadet mentors of the West Point United States Military Academy. Tuition, housing, meals and all activities are covered by a scholarship funded by the Toyota Foundation. The workshop will be held May 24 - 27. Students must be a citizen of the United States, demonstrate a strong academic performance, and strong interest in pursuing college. The deadline for the online application is February 15.  

Junior Solar Sprint
The free educational program affords 5th through 8th grade students the opportunity to design, build and race solar powered cars using hands-on engineering skills and principles of science and math. It is designed to support the instruction of STEM in categories such as alternative fuels, engineering design, and aerodynamics. Students who are part of a registered Technology Student Association (TSA) chapter or who compete at an approved Army host site are eligible to compete in JSS.  The competition at the Aberdeen Proving Ground (MD) is scheduled for April 23.  

Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS)
The Army-sponsored, summer STEM enrichment program for middle and high school students takes place at participating Army Research Laboratories, including Silver Spring and Adelphi. The program is based on a multi-disciplinary educational curriculum and is focused on age and grade-appropriate hands-on activities in areas such as science, engineering, mathematics, computational sciences, computational biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry and biology. Applications for the Adelphi program must be received by April 30; Silver Spring applications are due May 31.  

Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS)
JSHS is designed to challenge and engage students in grades 9-12 in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. The national competition is scheduled for April 27-30.  

UNITE
UNITE is a four-to-six week, pre-collegiate summer experience for talented rising 9th through 12th grade students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in STEM.  Applications will be accepted February through May, 2016. For general inquiries, contact Hillary Lee (888.860.9010).  

The Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP)
The program matches Department of Defense scientists with talented high school students who receive first-hand research experience and exposure to Department of Defense laboratories in addition to mentoring. Students work with their mentors, Army scientists and engineers to gain experience in a professional research setting where they serve as research assistants. Participating sites include the U.S. Army Research Laboratory – Adelphi, MD; U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command – Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD; and Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC) – Alexandria, VA. Applications are due March 31.   

Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP)
An initiative of Army Educational Outreach Programs (AEOP), the summer STEM program places talented high school students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in STEM in research apprenticeships at area colleges and universities (including Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland-Baltimore). REAP apprenticeships are 5-8 weeks in length (minimum of 200 hours) and apprentices receive a stipend. For additional information, contact the Academy of Applied Science (603.222.4520).  

The High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP)
The Army Research Office provides high school juniors and seniors with an authentic science and engineering research experience alongside university researchers. Students receive an educational stipend equivalent to $10 per hour and are allowed to work up to 300 hours total. The University of Maryland, College Park is a program location. Contact ReShockie Smith (919.549.4339) for additional information. 

College Qualified Leaders
The internship program of Army Educational Outreach Programs matches practicing Department of Defense scientists with talented college students. Selected participants receive a stipend based on education and experience and may participate year-round. Internships are available at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command – Walter Reed Army Institute of Research – Silver Spring, MD; and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory – Adelphi, MD. Contact The AEOP CQL Team (603.228.4530) for additional information.  

Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP)
The program provides undergraduate students with an authentic science and engineering research experience alongside university researchers sponsored by the Army Research Office. Through the commuter program students develop skills in critical science and engineering research areas in a university lab setting. The University of Maryland, College Park is one of the program locations. Students receive an educational stipend equivalent to $10 per hour and are allowed to work up to 300 hour total. The deadline for applying is February 15.  

Fuller Challenge
The Buckminster Fuller Institute invites activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, scientists, students, and planners from around the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. The institute seeks to fund initiatives that tackle urgent needs at a range of scales, from macro-strategies that have the potential for widespread impact, to local, community-based initiatives with global relevance and replicability. Proposals at any stage of development will be reviewed; nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid initiatives are all eligible. A $100,000 prize will be awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy. Applications must be submitted by March 1. There is a $100 application fee for nonprofit organizations and a $150 fee for individuals. Applicants who apply by February 17 will receive an early bird discount on the fee.  

World of Children Award Program
The World of Children Awards honor individuals in five categories -- Protection, Education, Humanitarian, Health, and Youth. The Protection Award recognizes individuals making extraordinary contributions to children so that they can live free from fear, abuse, and exploitation (including but not limited to trafficking, slavery, and sexual imposition); the minimum grant award is $50,000. The Education Award recognizes individuals making substantial contributions to children in the educational arena, including individuals who have made and are making education available to severely underserved populations, those who innovate new and effective methods of learning and teaching, and those whose work creates educational opportunity for children who are challenged or disenfranchised; the minimum grant award is $50,000. The Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to children in the areas of social services, education, or humanitarian services; the minimum grant award is $50,000. The Health Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to children in the fields of health, medicine, or the sciences; the minimum grant award is $50,000. The Youth Award recognizes youth who are making extraordinary contributions to the lives of other children. Nominees must be under the age of 21 by the nomination submission deadline; have an existing nonprofit organization in good standing that can receive grant funds; and have been doing this work for a minimum of three years by the nomination submission deadline. The minimum grant award is $25,000. Nominations must be received by April 1.  

APA Early-Career and Mid-Career Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth, and Families 
The award of the American Psychological Association recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions in science, policy and practice that benefit the psychological functioning or well-being of children, youth, and families. Well-being is defined broadly to include mental and physical health, cognitive/educational, and socio-emotional outcomes. These outcomes can extend beyond the individual and include parents and family systems as well. The deadline for nominations is January 31.  

Middle School Course Work Scholarships
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NVTM) scholarship provides financial support to college or university students preparing for teaching middle school mathematics. For 2015-16, one scholarship with a maximum value of $3,000 will be awarded to a person currently completing his or her junior year of college or university, scheduling for full-time study at a four- or five-year college or university in the next academic year, and pursuing a career goal of becoming a certified teacher of middle school mathematics. Applications must be received by May 6; college transcripts are due June 2.  

Innovations in Reading Prize
Through the Innovations in Reading Prize of the National Book Foundation, individuals and institutions that use particularly innovative methods to generate excitement and a passionate engagement with books and literature will be rewarded for their creativity and leadership. Priority will be given to applications that feature an interdisciplinary approach and/or incorporate innovative thinking in design, technology, social change, social entrepreneurship, or other fields. Candidates may enter themselves for consideration or be nominated by others. The winner will receive $10,000 and be featured prominently on the foundation's website and in other digital publicity. Any citizen of the U.S. and American institution is eligible for the prize. The deadline is February 29.  

Library Public Relations Award
The annual program of the Library Leadership and Management Association honors outstanding library public relations initiatives. The award (named for John Cotton Dana, a librarian who is considered to be the father of the modern library) honors strategic communications campaigns from all sizes and types of libraries, including rebranding efforts, awareness campaigns, and community partnerships. Libraries are encouraged to submit samples of their processes, research, media releases, media coverage, and other results received, as well as evaluation of the results demonstrating the scope and effectiveness of the campaign. Eight $10,000 awards are granted each year. Entries may be submitted by any library, library friends group, consulting agency, or service provider; the deadline is February 29.  

Local Hero Award
The Council on Community Pediatrics, a division of the American Academy of Pediatrics, promotes community pediatrics through policy, practice, and education. To that end, the council is accepting nominations for the 2016 CCP Local Hero Award, which recognizes pediatricians who lead community action and advocacy on behalf of children. The award is presented annually to two individuals who leverage community resources to improve accessibility, appropriateness, and quality of care for all children; advocate for children who lack access to care; implement public health approaches to advance the health of all children in the community; and/or promote child health within all community environments (i.e., community, school, and family). Award recipients will be honored at the 2016 AAP National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco. The award includes an honorarium, one-day conference registration fee, airfare reimbursement, two-night hotel stay, and two days of meals. To be eligible, nominees must be a pediatrician, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a resident of the United States or Canada. Nominations must be received by March 1.  

Family Medicine Research Projects
The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians, works to advance the values of family medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational, and scientific initiatives aimed at improving the health of all people. Through its Joint Grant Awards Program, the foundation supports research of one to two years in duration that poses questions of high relevance to family medicine. The principal investigator of the project must be a family medicine researcher — a clinician or Ph.D. In addition, the PI or one of the co-investigators must be a member of the AAFP. Priority will be given to new researchers and to those who mentor new investigators on the research team. Education and healthcare institutions or organizations that plan to use the JGAP support exclusively for research projects directly involving and impacting family medicine also are eligible. Grants will not exceed $50,000. Applications are due July 7.      

Pediatric Research Early Career Grants
The Thrasher Research Fund is inviting concept papers for its Early Career Awards Grants program, which awards small grants of up to $25,000 to new researchers to help them gain a foothold in the area of pediatric research. The program will consider a variety of research topics relevant to children's health. However, priority will be given to applicants who show great potential to impact the field of children's health through medical research. The program is open to physicians who are in a residency/fellowship training program or who completed a program no more than a year before the date of submission of the concept paper, and postdoctoral researchers who received a doctoral-level degree no more than three years prior to the date of submission of the concept paper. The deadline for concept papers is March 15.  

Neuroscience Fellowships
The awards are presented by the Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund to highly promising early-career researchers at a juncture in careers when securing funding for higher-risk, and potentially higher-reward, projects can be a challenge. The initiative is especially interested in projects related to specific areas of neuroscience, including studies of the mechanisms of neuronal excitability and development and of the genetic basis of behavior; studies of the integrative function of the nervous system; and clinical research studies designed to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders as well as the understanding of their causes. Awards of $225,000 over three years may be used for salary support, research assistants, equipment, or any other purpose that promotes the scientific activities of the fellow. Investigators must be a permanent resident of the United States whose research is conducted at a U.S. institution. Candidates also must hold a Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree; have completed their research training, including postdoctoral training; and be an independent investigator within four years (before July 1, 2016) of receiving his/her first tenure track appointment at a university or medical institution. The deadline is March 1.  

Damon Runyon Fellowship Award
The award helps early-career scientists hone their cancer research skills and explore their own ideas while working with mentors in top universities and cancer research centers. The foundation encourages proposals focused on theoretical and experimental research relevant to the study of cancer and the search for cancer causes, mechanisms, therapies, and prevention. The proposed research must be conducted at a university, hospital, or research institution. The award provides a stipend of $50,000 per year for four years of Level I funding, and $60,000 per year for four years of Level II funding. (Physician-scientists who have completed their residencies, clinical training, and are board-eligible will receive Level II funding.) Fellows also will receive an annual $2,000 expense allowance for educational and scientific expenses. Applications must be received by March 15. 

Innovative Regulatory Science Awards
Grants of up to $500,000 over five years will be awarded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to academic investigators developing new methodologies or innovative approaches in regulatory science that have the potential to inform regulatory decisions made by the Food and Drug Administration and others. The program is open to citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. and Canada who have a faculty or adjunct faculty appointment at a degree-granting institution in North America. Applicants must have training in a field relevant to regulatory science such as mathematics, computer science, applied physics, medicine, engineering, toxicology, epidemiology, biostatistics, or systems pharmacology. Awards are made to degree-granting institutions in the U.S. or Canada on behalf of the awardee. The deadline to apply is March 9.  

US - Russia Social Expertise Exchange 
The US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange, a program of the Eurasia Foundation, is a diverse network of Russian and United States social experts — professionals and entrepreneurs — engaged in a meaningful exchange of ideas and best practices with the potential to lead to joint action and positive change in the social dimensions of both countries. To advance this mission, SEE is accepting applications for its Independent Professionals Project Initiative. Thematic areas for 2016 include social support and protection of citizens; protection of flora/fauna and promotion of animal welfare; promotion of philanthropy and volunteerism; youth development, including extracurricular and alternative education; public health and promotion of healthy lifestyles; preservation of national identities, cultures, languages, and traditions of indigenous peoples; social and cultural adaptation and immigration of migrants; medical and social rehabilitation and/or social and economic reintegration of persons engaged in the illicit use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances; and promotion of economic and labor mobility. Candidates must be a citizen or permanent resident of either the United States or Russian Federation, have at least professional proficiency in both English and Russian, and be primarily affiliated with an organization or institution that works on issues falling within an SEE thematic area. The deadline for applications is January 31.  

Professional Photography Projects
Through the annual program, one professional photographer or visual journalist will receive a $20,000 grant to produce a substantial body of work that shares the foundation’s goals of promoting world peace and cultural understanding. The foundation welcomes proposals for still photography or multimedia projects. Photographers and visual journalists from any country may apply. Applications ($50 application fee) are due February 7.  

Excellence in Human Resource Research Award
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is accepting nominations for its 2016 Michael R. Losey Excellence in Human Resource Research Award, a single award of $50,000 that honors lifetime achievement, both past and ongoing, in human resource research. To be eligible, a nominee must possess a broad and deep track record of contributions to the HR discipline through research, as well as interactions with the practitioner community. Examples include speaking and consulting engagements, books, and journal articles that have affected how HR is practiced. The deadline for nominations is July 15.  

ACAP January Newsletter
Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) work groups have begun reviewing and updating their Action Plans for 2016-2018. The work groups (Youth Development, Latino Outreach, Schools, and Advocacy) are seeking new members to bring fresh ideas and creativity to the planning process. Contact Lissette Torres for additional information. Learn more about ACAP in the January newsletter.     

Volunteer Times
Learn about opportunities to help others in the February edition of Volunteer Times, the newsletter of Volunteer Alexandria.

 

Grantsmanship

DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities
The DCHS Office of Youth Services compiled a listing of grant opportunities on January 8 and January 15

Research and Resources

Ever Wondered How the Decision is Made to Close Schools or Delay Start Times?
Most ACPS parents and students are aware that schools close when there is a heavy snowstorm like this weekend, but there are other reasons why ACPS may have to close schools or delay the start time.  

ACPS Students Join Cast to Star in Musical
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) has partnered with the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Alexandria Department of Parks Recreation and Cultural Activities to produce ‘U-Street, The Musical’, an original musical that focuses on homelessness in America at the Richard Kauffman Auditorium at the Lee Center (1108 Jefferson St.).  

T.C. Culinary Graduate Sees Rapid Promotion at Top Old Town Restaurant
T.C. Williams High School alumnus Jack Harrell has been made Demi Chef in less than a year at coveted Old Town Italian restaurant Carluccio’s. Harrell, who graduated from T.C. Williams in 2015, credits his rapid rise to his culinary arts program classes with Chef Craig Scheuerman. He was promoted after just seven months in the job by Executive Chef Alfio Celia in front of all the kitchen staff.  

Social Media Seminar for ACPS Parents
ACPS is hosting a free social media presentation for parents of ACPS middle and high school students on February 2 from 5 - 8 p.m. at Minnie Howard Campus, Pizza and hot chocolate will be provided for all parents who participate. The event is for parents only.  

New Alexandria School Board Formally Installed
The new Alexandria City School Board was formally installed at a public induction at T.C. Williams High School on January 7. The new board, which will serve for a three-year-period, consists of five new members and four returning members. Incumbents Bill Campbell and Karen Graf were joined by newcomer Hal Cardwell representing District A. Cindy Anderson, Margaret Lorber and Veronica Nolan, all newcomers, took the oath to represent District B while incumbents Chris Lewis and Ronnie Campbell were joined by Ramee Gentry in District C.  

Understanding the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY 2017
Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley proposed an Operating Budget for FY 2017 that focuses on increasing the number of teachers and classroom supports needed to ensure a high-performing school division. It also directs funds toward meeting the goals of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan. The Operating Budget totals $256.9 million, which is a $10.5 million increase plus $6.1 million for proposed creative leased facilities options. It includes a City appropriation request of $210.6 million or an increase of $11.8 million for next year. However, in order to meet this level of funding, the City appropriation per student would need to increase for the first time in five years.

Education

President Obama Announces Computer Science for All Initiative
The White House announced an “ambitious, all-hands-on-deck” initiative to get every student in the United States Coding. The president’s budget proposal will include $4 billion for states and $100 million for districts to expand access to K-12 computer science. It is proposed that states submit their “Computer Science for All” five-year plans, and those with well-designed strategies would receive funding. The $100 million would be allocated “like other district-level competitive grants”. The funding would bring hands-on computer science courses to more public high schools, help create computer science programs for elementary and middle schools, and “ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities”.  

Quality Counts Report Card
The Quality Counts report by Education Week ranked the U.S. education system at a solid C – the same as last year.  The form of the report card incorporates state and national grades on three indices: The Chance-for-Success Index provides a cradle-to-career perspective on the role that education plays in promoting positive outcomes throughout a person's life. The K-12 Achievement Index rates states on current academic performance, change over time, and poverty-based gaps.  The school finance analysis assesses spending patterns and equity. The 2016 summative grade of C corresponds to a rating of 74.4 out of 100, up slightly from 74.3 in 2015, when the nation also earned a C.  

2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief
While U.S. high school graduation rates continue to rise, new data released by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center highlight sobering gaps for key student populations in dozens of states. The nation has reached a high school graduation rate of 82.3% for the 2013-14 school year, but there are still a large number of states graduating less than 70% of English-language learners, students with disabilities, Hispanic/Latino students, African American students and low-income students.  

State of the K-12 Market 2015
The report by Market Data Retrieval (MDR) found continuing growth and some surprising expansion in a year where not everything happened as expected. It is based on two large-scale surveys of education decision-makers conducted by the EdNET Research team.  

‘Micro Schools’ Could Be New Competition for Private K-12
"Micro schools" have popped up in places such as California's Silicon Valley; Austin, Texas; and New Orleans, offering parents a drastically different version of K-12 education than traditional public and private schools. These are tiny schools—sometimes with as few as half a dozen students—that put a heavy emphasis on technology and pushing instructional boundaries in a mash-up of lab schools and home school co-ops.  

Supreme Court Declines to Take Up Case on Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse
A coalition of education groups led by the National School Boards Association and its Ohio affiliate had urged the justices to review a federal appeals court opinion that denied qualified immunity to an administrator who had reported to state authorities her suspicions that a 17-year-old girl with an intellectual disability was being sexually abused at home. The administrator was sued by the girl's parents, who alleged that the administrator was retaliating against them amid a dispute over the individualized education plan for the girl. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  

Justices Ask Obama Administration to Weigh In On Special Education Case
The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Obama administration on whether it should take up a special education case stemming from a dispute over whether a 5-year-old girl with cerebral palsy could bring her doctor-prescribed service dog to school. The legal issue in the case of Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools is bit more technical than the dispute over whether a golden doodle named "Wonder" could accompany and help the girl at school. The legal question is whether a 1986 federal statute that amended the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires families to exhaust procedures under the IDEA when they are suing under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Those latter statutes provide for damages, which the IDEA does not.  

Justice Scalia’s Comments in Affirmative Action Case Draw Fire
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested minority students may be harmed by race preferences in admissions and they may be better off at “slower-track” institutions.  

LGBT Students: Colleges Seeking Title IX Exemptions to Be Named by Ed. Dept.
The U.S. Department of Education will create an online search tool that will allow the public to see which colleges and universities have sought religious exemptions from Title IX. The Education Department has argued that Title IX's nondiscrimination protections apply to sexual orientation and gender identity. But the law also provides an exemption for religiously affiliated colleges and universities that request it. Advocacy groups and some federal lawmakers called on the agency to make a list of campuses with such exemptions public to inform LGBT students' college choices.  

Texas Cheerleaders Win in Court Again Over Bible Banners
The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of high school cheerleaders who had argued that their free speech was trampled by their school district when it ordered them not to display banners emblazoned with bible verses at football games. The court acknowledged in its opinion that the Kountze school district, about 95 miles northeast of Houston, later allowed the banners. But the justices determined their ruling was necessary to protect the future display of religious-themed signs because the district has argued it retains the right to restrict them.  

Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions
The report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education represents the first time that a broad coalition of colleges and universities have joined forces in a unified effort calling for widespread change in the college admissions process. The report includes concrete recommendations to reshape the college admissions process and promote greater ethical engagement among aspiring students, reduce excessive achievement pressure, and level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students. It is the first step in a two-year campaign that seeks to substantially reshape the existing college admissions process. The report includes concrete recommendations in three core areas: promoting more meaningful contributions to others, community service and engagement with the public good; assessing students’ ethical engagement and contributions to others in ways that reflect varying types of family and community contributions across race, culture and class; and redefining achievement in ways that both level the playing field for economically diverse students and reduce excessive achievement pressure.  

Walton Foundation Puts Up $1 Billion to Boost Charters
The Walton Family plans to spend $1 billion over the next five years to support new charter schools and bolster current programs.  

From Walton to Zuckerberg: How Education Philanthropy Has Changed
The more strategic philanthropy evident today combines research and advocacy with a deliberate attempt to use their donations to change public policy.  

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Pledges Big Contribution to Education
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced the creation of a $100 million philanthropic fund to pour money into education. The first two gifts from the philanthropy are to the United Negro College Fund and Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley (worth a combined $1.5 million) to focus on college access.  

Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo Come Together to Provide Flint Public Schools with Water for Students Through the End of the Year
Walmart, Coca-Cola, nestle and PepsiCo will collectively donate water to meet the daily needs of over 10,000 school children for the balance of the calendar year – 176 truckloads or up to 6.5 million bottles of water.  

Revenue Woes in Oil, Coal States Squeeze K-12
Reeling from drastic midyear cuts after they grossly miscalculated expected revenues amid falling oil prices and troubles in the coal industry, legislators in several mineral-dependent states, including Alaska and Oklahoma, are set to debate alternative revenue sources for state school aid. During the energy boom of the last decade, when a barrel of oil cost close to $100, school administrators in energy-producing states built football fields and gleaming new schools. They also gave teachers big bonuses as incentives to move to rural areas with surging enrollments. But with oil now costing barely $35 a barrel, the situation has changed.  

District Per-Pupil Spending Fell Slightly in Fiscal Year 2013 New Federal Data Show
The latest school district spending data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the median district got $11,745 per student in fiscal 2013, after adjusting for inflation, 1.8 percent less than the prior year. They spent $10,047 per student during the same time, a .5 percent decrease from fiscal 2012, suggesting administrators worked to buffer students from some of the budget cuts.  

Snow Days and E-Learning: A Roundup of News Coverage
Education Week reviewed recent coverage of how K-12 schools are using technology and online resources to change the way learning happens on snow days.

     

Study Finds Educational Choice Programs Combat Troubling School Segregation Trends
Research by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice found 18.4% of U.S. students live in metropolitan areas where public schools became less integrated by race and income from 2000 to 2010, yet less than 2% of students live in neighborhoods that have become more segregated in that time. According to the report, state legislatures have attempted to solve such problems by forcing integration with various policies for years with mixed, often negative, results. In spite of the suspicions of critics, school choice programs may be the better answer. Evidence shows school choice programs improve integration in communities where they have been enacted.   

After 5 Decades, Ruby Bridges Gets Applause Instead of Death Threats in School
Bridges was the guest of honor for “An Evening with Ruby Bridges: A Single Act of Courage” hosted by the South Orange-Maplewood School District (NJ) Parenting Center and Elementary School PTAs.  

Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington’s Slave
A children's book about Hercules, George Washington's cook and a slave, has been pulled by its publisher after concerns about its depiction of slavery. The book had drawn fire online for depicting Hercules, who eventually ran away, as happy and smiling. Critics said the book whitewashes slavery.  

Lawsuit Alleges Expelled Students Get Substandard Education
Motions have begun in a lawsuit alleging that expelled students receive an inferior education and violate the state’s constitutional guarantee of adequate education. The lawsuit also said black students are disproportionately expelled from public schools and thus are disproportionately deprived of their educational rights. If the lawsuit is successful, Connecticut could become an example of how to reform education for students who are expelled.  

States Move to Issue High School Diplomas Retroactively
At least six states are quietly bestowing retroactive diplomas on tens of thousands of former students who never passed their state’s required exit exam, sparking a heated debate about rigor, fairness, and the meaning of a high school diploma. In Georgia alone, more than 17,000 diplomas have been granted that way in just the past nine months. Texas has issued at least 4,000 retroactive diplomas, with 12,000 students—and possibly three times that number—still eligible. South Carolina has already conferred more than 6,100 retroactive diplomas and could face similar requests from an additional 8,000 or more students.  In California, at least 35,000 students now qualify for diplomas even though they failed the required—but now eliminated—exit exam in the past decade. Arizona and Alaska have passed similar legislation, allowing students to apply for diplomas despite failing the test required for graduation.

         

Federal Officials Urge Collaboration Between Schools, Health Care Providers
A letter from the U.S. Department of Education advised schools to assess and meet the health needs of their students, and to collaborate with healthcare providers to strengthen their efforts. The letter is accompanied by a toolkit that details five practical ways schools can meet student health challenges through cooperative and innovative efforts.  

Effect of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act on the Nutritional Quality of Meals Selected by Students and School Lunch Participation Rates
A study published in JAMA Pediatrics examined 1.7million lunches at three middle schools and three high schools in an unnamed urban district in the state of Washington between 2011 and 2014. The study found students ate healthier lunches after their schools began complying with new federal nutrition standards.  

A School Lunch Compromise? School Nutrition Association Reveals Details
The Senate agriculture committee is set to mark up a bill next week that would reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, the federal law that includes guidelines for the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs. The last overhaul of the law in 2010 authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set stricter standards for school meal programs. Those standards—which required schools to serve more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and to limit calories, fats, and salt—have been met with resistance from some who argue they are too restrictive and costly to implement. Among those groups is the School Nutrition Association, which has lobbied on behalf of its members to loosen the rules. It has posted on its website the outline of a compromise.  

Senate Committee Approves Changes to After-school, Summer Meals
By voice vote, the committee approved the bipartisan Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act, which reauthorizes and modifies federal child nutrition programs. It won the support of a wide range of public health, agriculture and education groups. The bill, which sets standards for summer meal and after-school programs, would streamline the administrative process that requires two applications for programs that operate during both the school year and the summer.

   

KIDS COUNT Data Center Moves Race-Related Statistics Center Stage
Data Center users can now Search by Characteristic when sifting through data and hunting for trends on child and family well-being. The change seamlessly connects visitors to state- and national-level statistics in three areas: age, family nativity, and race and ethnicity. The largest of these areas — race and ethnicity —includes a game-changing 44 markers for evaluating child and family well-being. To this end, users can quickly pull data on a wide range of topics — everything from birth rates and poverty rates to school suspension rates — and break these statistics down by race and ethnicity.   

Analytics in K-12 Schools: Big Data, or Big Brother?
AltSchool is an education startup that is adapting some of the passive-observation technologies already in use in such fields as consumer technology, professional sports, and retail sales. The idea is that more and better information on students, collected unobtrusively as they go about regular learning activities in the classroom, could make education more personalized, powerful, and efficient. Opponents deem it especially problematic that big-data-based experimentation is almost entirely unregulated. To quote: “The extent to which a total surveillance environment affects a child’s learning, psyche and personal growth is uncharted territory. We need development of ethical principles for the use of these data as well as objective review mechanisms”.  

The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education
AltSchool represents the most aggressive, far-reaching foray into the world of big data and analytics that the K-12 education sector has seen to date. Fueled by $133 million in venture capital from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others, AltSchool’s 50-plus engineers, data scientists, and developers are designing tools that could be available to other schools by the 2018-19 school year.  

Data Dashboards a High Priority in National Ed-Tech Plan
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan places high priority on expanding the use of data dashboards. Education Week talked to experts in the field to find out what they think is the recipe for putting in place data dashboards that improve teaching and learning.  

Adaptive Digital Curricula Lagging in Science, Social Studies
Educators have much to choose from when looking for adaptive digital curricula to personalize learning for math or English/language arts. But those who want high-quality, adaptive offerings for science and social studies have a limited menu of options.  

Digital Tools Evolving to Track Students’ Emotions, Mindsets
The educational math software of MIND Research Institute, called ST Math, provides students with learning exercises that aim to build not only math skills, but also curiosity, perseverance, and a mindset that mistakes are powerful learning opportunities. Princeton, N.J.-based startup Mindprint Learning uses a battery of online cognitive assessments to provide highly customized profiles of how individual students learn, including everything from verbal reasoning to spatial perception. But the company, like others in the field, is still trying to find user-friendly ways for schools and parents to turn the resulting information into compelling learning experiences that are customized for each individual student's cognitive strengths and weaknesses.  

Schools Turn to Digital Tools for Personalizing Career Searches
Many districts are encouraging students to think about career possibilities earlier in their K-12 journeys – and they are relying on digital platforms to guide that career exploration.  

More Districts Mine Data to Refine Teacher Hiring
Experts say that more data-focused hiring practices can both help districts attract and secure top-notch candidates and more accurately predict whether a teacher will be effective in the classroom. In addition to minimizing teacher turnover and absenteeism, both of which negatively affect student outcomes, better use of data has helped some districts streamline their hiring processes and hire candidates earlier.  

Score-Report Holdups Mar College-Testing Season
Testing companies' customer-service centers and online discussion boards for school counselors have been buzzing because of a series of problems in recent months with tests from the College Board and ACT Inc. Officials at the two testing organizations are assuring the public that despite some setbacks, the new products and systems being launched will eventually help students better prepare for college and help counselors improve guidance.  

Tracking Transfer: New Measures of Institutional and State Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students Attain Bachelor’s Degrees
The report introduces five metrics on the effectiveness of two- and four-year institutions in enabling degree-seeking community college students to transfer and earn a bachelor's degree. It draws on National Student Clearinghouse data on more than 700,000 students who entered community college in fall 2007 and tracks their progress for six years.  

World’s Largest Ed-Tech Show Launches With ‘Student-Led Learning’ Theme
With hundreds of ed-tech products and services on display at BETT 2016—a show that is expected to draw 36,000 visitors — the possibility of using instructional technology to give students’ power over their instruction resonates with exhibitors.

     

Majority of Finalists for 2016 National Teacher of the Year Are Educators of Color
For the first time in a very long time, if not ever, at least three of the four finalists are teachers of color. All the finalists in the past couple of years have been white.  

Class Composition Can Bias English Teachers' Observation Scores, Study Finds
A study published in the January edition of the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis found observations of teachers—usually the most prominent component of teacher-evaluation systems—can carry significant sources of bias, potentially penalizing English/language arts teachers of lower-achieving students. The analysis provides more evidence that, despite the widespread concern about test-score-based ratings of teachers, observations of teachers are just as susceptible to error.  

Chowchilla Teacher Under Fire for Buying Computers for Students to Use
A California high school teachers and her husband used their own money to buy 90 computers valued at $78,000, but school officials initially removed them from the classroom because the equipment was not purchased and approved by the district. The computers have been returned to her classroom until a decision is made.  The teacher was told her job is on the line because of the donation.  

Hearing Delayed on Clarksdale Principal Cheating Charges
Mississippi education officials have delayed a hearing for an elementary school principal on administrative charges that she took part in cheating on standardized tests at her school in 2013.  

Cleveland School Resource Officer Placed on Leave over ‘Hurtful’ Facebook Post about Tamir Rice
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District placed a school resource officer on paid leave after a controversial Facebook post surfaced in which he criticized Tamir Rice and the slain boy's mother. The officer wrote that Tamir's mother, who he called a derogatory name, should have taught her son not to play with fake guns. He also wrote that Tamir's mother had financial motives, but did not elaborate.  

Education Official Fired Over Facebook Posts
A Georgia education official who frequently posted his thoughts and news accounts about blacks, Muslims, and partisan politics (including allowing a picture of a lynching posted by a “friend” to remain on his site for more than two months) was fired.  

Trial in Suit Claiming Racial Bias in Ferguson-Florrissant School Board Elections
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union will argue in federal court that the school district serving students in Ferguson, Missouri needs an overhaul of the process of electing board members. While 77% of students in the district are black (in part because many white parents send their kids to private and parochial schools), five of the district’s seven board members are white.  

Detroit District Seeks Restraining Order, Injunction Against Teachers
Detroit Public Schools went to court to get a restraining order against teachers who have been staging sick-outs that have caused several school closures in recent months.  

Detroit Judge Declines to Force Protesting Teachers Back to Classrooms
A judge declined to issue a restraining order Monday against the Detroit Federation of Teachers and alleged organizers of the sickouts. The judge said there is no indisputable proof that the union or individual teachers are behind the mass teacher absences.  

AFT, Local Teachers File Lawsuit Against Detroit Schools
The Detroit Federation of Teachers, along with the American Federation of Teachers, has filed a lawsuit against Detroit public schools and Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, alleging that the district has failed to "provide a minimally adequate education and to properly maintain the schools." Parents and students are also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the latest volley in a frenzied legal struggle between teachers and the leadership of the troubled state-run school district.  

Michigan Lawmakers Target Detroit Teachers' Sickouts
Majority Republicans in Michigan’s Legislature have proposed legislation to make it easier to deem such work stoppages illegal strikes.  

Judge Puts Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts on Hold
Nevada’s education savings account program was created by the legislature last June and allows all public school parents to use education funding allocated for their child to attend private schools (including those affiliated with a religion) or to home school. The state places the funds, a little over $5,000 a year, in special savings accounts which parents can use for approved education expenses such as tuition, tutors, and transportation. The state’s treasurer’s office was supposed to start doling out money to more than 4,000 families enrolled in the program starting in February. Implementation of the program has been put on hold until a final decision is made on whether the program is constitutional.  

Illinois Republicans Propose State Takeover of Chicago Public Schools
The Illinois governor and two Republicans proposed a bill that would allow for the state to take over Chicago Public Schools. Under the takeover proposal, filed by two Republicans and backed by the Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, the state would amend its rules to establish an independent authority to wrest control of the school district from the mayor-appointed superintendent and its school board members. Most notably, the bill would allow the district to declare bankruptcy and establish that the state would not be liable for the school district's debt.    

Layoffs in Chicago District Amid an Uncertain Future
Chicago's school district sent layoff notices to 227 employees and announced that it is also closing 180 vacant positions.  

Chicago Teachers’ Union Mulling ‘Serious Offer’ on Contract from School District
Union president Karen Lewis said the union had received a "serious offer" from the school district, which a 40-member committee will review and discuss.  

Chicago Teachers Union Bargaining Team Rejects City's Contract Offer
The Chicogo Teachers Union rejected a four-year-contract offer from the city, with union leaders saying they approved of certain provisions in the proposal but were concerned about the cash-strapped district's ability to enforce the deal.

Governing Urban Schools in the Future: What’s Facing Philadelphia and Pennsylvania
In 2001, the state of Pennsylvania took over the School District of Philadelphia. The School Reform Commission (SRC), which was created as part of the takeover, runs the district, with three members appointed by the governor and two by the mayor. That arrangement has been the subject of continuing debate, with education advocates calling for a return to local control—and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also advocating an end to the state takeover of the city’s schools. Given that debate, the Pew Charitable Trusts commissioned an analysis comparing key elements of Philadelphia’s school governance system with those of 15 other major urban districts. The districts—serving Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade, Milwaukee, Newark (NJ), New York, and St. Paul (MN)—were chosen for their size and their demographic and economic similarities to Philadelphia. Three key findings emerged. Ten of the 15 districts studied and more than 90 percent of those in the U.S. are run by elected school boards; the School District of Philadelphia has never had an elected board.  Of the 15 districts, only Baltimore, Boston, and New York lack the authority to raise revenue on their own— relying instead on city government for the entire local share of the school system’s operating funds. This has always been the case in Philadelphia, even before the state takeover.• In all of the districts studied that have experienced some form of state intervention, the governance change has been long-lasting; in Philadelphia, it is entering its 15th year in 2016.  

Special Education Graduation Disparities Highlighted in New Report
The nation's overall graduation rate may have reached a new high of 82%, but many states are still doing a dismal job in getting students with disabilities across the high school finish line on time with a standard diploma. Fewer than half of the students with disabilities in Alaska, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, and South Carolina graduated with a regular diploma in the 2013-14 school year, the most current year for which statistics are available. In all, 33 states graduated fewer than 70% of their students with disabilities.

Youth Well-Being

America’s Adolescents
A new feature of the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) website is America’s Adolescents, which profiles who America’s adolescents are, what they do, and what health issues they face. Among the findings presented are: adolescents are continuing to become more racially and ethnically diverse; nearly one in five adolescents lives in poverty; 92% of teens report going online daily; adolescents spend up to 14 hours a week with friends and family; and adolescents are generally healthy, but still have issues with physical and mental health.   

Five Things to Know About Boys
Child Trends conducted original analyses of the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, which surveyed parents of children 17 and younger about their child’s well-being. The data was supplemented with selected additional findings from the scientific literature on gender disparities in children and youth. From a health perspective, being male was associated with a number of vulnerabilities, relative to females, from birth onward. Males performed less well academically than females, at least up until post-secondary schooling. Hispanic and black boys and youth, with some exceptions, generally experienced worse outcomes than their male white counterparts. In some cases, the gender gap was wider, or narrower, among children and youth in one racial/ethnic group than among children and youth overall. Families, schools, and neighborhoods have opportunities to improve boys' outcomes.   

Five Questions That Will Help You Help Kids by Asking About Pets
Asking about pets can be a nonthreatening approach for engaging clients who may otherwise be resistant to therapy. Clients who struggle to talk about their relationships with family members, or to talk at all, are often open to talking about their pets.  

Skybrary
Actor LeVar Burton, executive producer and host of the former hit children's show "Reading Rainbow," initiated one of the most ambitious crowd-funding projects in modern history in May 2014. Last May, Burton launched the first big project to emerge from those Kickstarter funds: Skybrary, a subscription-based online library of interactive children's literature. On Thursday, Burton will use the National Title I Association conference to officially launch the Skybrary school edition, designed for classroom use. (The edition has already been in limited release in schools through use of Kickstarter funding.) Skybrary brings to the Web what Burton and his company, RRKIDZ, had already designed around mobile devices and tablets, since many more students have Internet access than tablet and smartphone access.  

Student Launches #1000BlackGirlBooks  Book Drive for Jamaican School
An 11 year-old New Jersey student is on a mission to collect 1,000 books that feature black girls as protagonists and donate them to a Jamaican school.  According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 10% of children’s books featured people of color between 1994 and 2012. "In my 5th grade class, we were only reading books about white boys and their dogs, and I understood why my teacher wanted us to read those books because those are the books he could connect with, but I didn't necessarily connect with them myself so I was really frustrated," said Marley Dias.

     

Study: Students Get Most Physical Activity at School, But It’s Not Enough
A study published online in the journal Pediatrics found adolescents engage in most of their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at school. Quoting study authors: "Because adolescents spend so much time at school, even a small increase in the proportion of at-school time spent physically active could lead to meaningful increases in overall physical activity and metabolic health”.  

Final Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity
The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) report proposes a range of recommendations for governments aimed at reversing the rising trend of children aged under 5 years becoming overweight and obese. At least 41 million children in this age group are obese or overweight, with the greatest rise in the number of children being obese or overweight coming from low- and middle-income countries. According to the report, many children are growing up today in environments encouraging weight gain and obesity. Driven by globalization and urbanization, exposure to unhealthy (obesogneic) environments is increasing in high-, middle- and low-income countries and across all socioeconomic groups. The marketing of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages was identified as a major factor in the increase in numbers of children being overweight and obese, particularly in the developing world.  

The NCAA's Hidden Influence on High Schools
Lost in the turmoil surrounding the proposed unionization of Division I athletes, and massive TV contracts for the "Power 5" (college football) conferences is the role the National Collegiate Athletic Association plays in determining the curriculum in public, charter, religious, and independent high schools. Forget the common core and the Smarter Balanced or PARCC assessments. What matters today is compliance with NCAA eligibility rules.  

NCAA’s Power 5 Adopt New Injury Rules, Table Talk of Athlete Time Demands
Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, all schools from the NCAA's "Power Five" conferences must ensure health care providers have final say over when student-athletes can return from concussions and other injuries.  

Don’t Let Kids Play Football
Dr. Bennet Omalu, the subject of the movie Concussion, penned an editorial in The New York Times calling for parents to prohibit their children from participating in high-impact contact sports such as football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, and boxing until they reach the age of 18.  

Pittsburgh Steelers Star Takes H.S. Football Team to See ‘Concussion’ Movie
Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown took a local high school football team to an early screening of Will Smith's new movie "Concussion" before its release on Christmas Day. In speaking with the news station, Brown explained the rationale behind his kind gesture. "These high school kids, they've got to be aware of their future to raise some awareness and some positivity," he said. "[And] to come out and to spend some time in the community is always a pleasure." A receiver on the team, Aaron Mathews, told the news station he wouldn't be hitting his head as much after seeing the film. Wayne Wade, the team's head coach, described having "mixed emotions" while watching it, citing his own playing days as a youth.  

Timeline: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis
PBS has chronicled the persistent attempts of the NFL to downplay the findings of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man credited for the discovery of a long-term degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  

Concussions Found to Be the Most Common H.S. Cheerleading Injury
A study published online in the journal Pediatrics concluded concussions comprised nearly one-third of all high school cheerleading injuries, although concussion rates are far lower in cheerleading than in all other sports.  

Illegal Contact Found to Often Lead to Concussions in Youth Ice Hockey Players
More than four of every 10 concussions among ice hockey players between the ages of 12 and 18 involve illegal contact, suggests a study published online Friday in the journal Pediatrics.  

Judge Nixes First Class-Action Lawsuit Over High School Concussions
An Illinois judge has dismissed the nation's first class-action concussions lawsuit against a prep sports governing body, saying the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has taken steps to make football safer and that imposing costly requirements could force some schools to drop the sport. The ruling rejects a case brought on behalf of players who sought court supervision over how high schools manage football head injuries. The suit also calls for the IHSA, which oversees around 50,000 football players at hundreds of Illinois high schools each year, to pay for medical testing of former high school players extending back to 2002.  

Removing Football Helmets from Practice May Reduce Head-Impact Frequency
According to the early results of a study published online in the Journal of Athletic Training, taking helmets and shoulder pads away from collegiate football players will reduce the frequency of head impacts during practices.  

H.S. Sports Programs in Virginia, Oklahoma Facing Allegation of Sexual Assaults
The Shenandoah County (VA) Schools Superintendent suspended varsity and junior varsity basketball games for Strasburg High School earlier this month after receiving word of an alleged sexual assault by basketball players. The victim was traveling with the varsity and JV basketball teams on a bus heading back to school following an away game in mid-December. According to the sheriff office's website, six boys from the school—three 16-year-olds and three 17-year-olds—were charged with assault and battery by mob. All six are set to appear in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court on Feb. 11. Police in Oklahoma continue to investigate "an extremely disturbing report" involving the junior varsity wrestling team from Norman North High School. While police have not yet released details about the investigation, a source confirmed that a 12-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted by older students on a bus returning from a wrestling tournament earlier this month. A spokeswoman for the Norman district said two students were suspended within hours of the district receiving word of the allegations, while additional students have been placed on suspension as the investigation progresses. The school fired an adjunct coach (who was technically a volunteer, not an employee) and placed a second coach (who is an employee) on suspension pending the results of the investigation.  

Charges Stick Against School Officials in Players Rape Case
A Tennessee school superintendent asked for a buyout of his contract hours after a judge declined to dismiss charges against three high school officials accused of failing to report the sexual abuse of high school basketball players by teammates. The Hamilton County District Attorney's Office filed an affidavit saying "four freshmen basketball players were subjected to assaultive behavior including but not limited to being struck with pool cues and also these four freshman basketball players were subjected to apparent sexual assault." The affidavit said one player required emergency surgery. According to the affidavit, the assaults took place at a cabin while Ooltewah's team was participating in a tournament in Gatlinburg.  

Superintendent Cancels H.S. Basketball Season After Alleged Hazing Assault
After three Tennessee high school basketball players were charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault in connection with an alleged hazing incident that left a teammate hospitalized, the district superintendent decided to bring an abrupt end to the team's season.      

Student-Athlete Receives Five-Game Ban for Criticizing State Association on Twitter
A high school student-athlete in Wisconsin received a five-game suspension after sending a tweet with a derogatory comment aimed at her state athletic association. In response to a directive the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association issued over the holidays regarding the appropriateness of certain cheers, Hilbert High School athlete April Gehl tweeted the uncensored version of "EAT S--T WIAA".   

Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Pop Warner to Proceed to Trial
A Los Angeles judge ruled that a teenage football player may proceed to trial against the national Pop Warner organization, four years after he suffered an on-field injury that left him a quadriplegic. The teen alleges his coaches taught and instructed him to use "a negligent tackling technique" that resulted in his paralysis in 2011 when he was 13 years old. His coaches allegedly taught him a head-first tackling technique, "insisted he use it despite his complaints, and refused to intervene and correct him when he repeatedly employed the tackling technique in practices and games," according to the lawsuit.  

Missouri Legislator Withdraws Bill to Revoke Scholarships If Student-Athletes Strike
Five days after pre-filing a bill that would have revoked the scholarships of collegiate student-athletes if they went on strike, a Missouri legislator withdrew the proposed legislation. State Rep. Rick Brattin introduced the bill on Dec. 11 in response to the University of Missouri football team's decision in November to cease participation in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigned or was removed from his post (Wolfe wound up resigning within 48 hours of the football team's announcement). Had the bill in its current form passed, it would have revoked the scholarship of "any college athlete who calls, incites, supports, or participates in any strike or concerted refusal to play a scheduled game." The bill also would have required a university to fine any member of a coaching staff "who encourages or enables a college athlete to engage in [such] behavior."   

Nebraska School Activities Association Unveils Draft Transgender-Student Policy
The Nebraska School Activities Association voted to advance a draft gender policy to a final reading in its January board meeting. If the policy passes as is, transgender students interested in participating in athletics must contact a school administrator or athletic director in writing, informing them of their "consistent gender identity different than the sex" on their birth certificate. If the school determines the student "meets the requirements for initial eligibility," it must file an application to the state association. Once the association receives the application, its Gender Identity Eligibility Committee will review it and send its decision in writing to the school and the executive director of the organization. The committee will consist of a physician with experience in transgender health care; a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed mental health professional; a school administrator from a non-appealing school; and a NSAA staff member. As part of the application, transgender students must provide documentation "affirming the actions, attitudes, dress, and manner and demonstrate the student's consistent gender identification and expression," along with written verification from a health-care professional to affirm the student's gender identification. They must also provide medical documentation "of hormonal therapy, sexual re-assignment surgery, physiological testing, counseling, and other medical or psychological interventions on behalf of the student."  

   

Child Care Costs Have Become Huge Burden to Families
A report by Child Care Aware, a nonprofit that advocates for access to child care, concluded child care is unaffordable for low-income families and a heavy burden to middle-income families. The cost of child care excess exceeds the cost of housing or college tuition in many parts of the United States, yet federal assistance for child care reaches less than 18% of eligible children.  

Moneyball for Head Start
A report written in partnership with Head Start advocates and good governance think tanks concluded the same data- and evidence-driven approach that was made famous by a former baseball general manager would dramatically improve the 50-year-old federal preschool program for young children. For example, Head Start needs to start investing more in research so that it can figure out the practices of the most effective Head Start centers and find a way to replicate them across the country, according to the report "Moneyball for Head Start." Currently, a quarter of a percent of Head Start's $8.6 billion budget is spent on research and evaluation, and that should be boosted to 1%, the report says.  

$26 Million Goes to New, National Early-Ed. Research Network
The Institute of Education Studies launched a new research network focused on developing "reliable information and useful tools" for early educators and policymakers wishing to improve early-childhood education. Quoting the press release: "The Early Learning Network will study what is happening in early education programs across the country and how successfully children are making the transition from preschool to elementary school. The Network will seek to identify what policymakers and practitioners can do to improve early-learning programs so students are prepared for long-term success in school." The network consists of seven research teams that will conduct three studies, with a focus on disadvantaged students.      

What Do Disadvantaged Youth Need More than Anything Else?
Urban Alliance is a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. that matches disadvantaged high school students with internships, mentors and a path to the workforce. It is profiled in a series on the innovative ways young adults are being placed on a path toward college and career success.  

The Intersection of Afterschool and Competency-Based Learning
Afterschool and competency-based learning are increasingly emerging as student-centered, supportive learning models to prepare students for college and career. A white paper explores the intersection and relationship between these two fields, recommends ideal policy environments for implementing successful programs, provides real-world examples, and shines a spotlight on emerging trends for the future.  

Potential Opportunities for Out-of-School Time in New Education Law
A provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act requires more stakeholders to be consulted when states are creating their Title I plans. The law requires “meaningful consultation” with parties that could range from governors and state legislators to parents, teachers and out-of-school time providers.  

With Merger and Grant, Wyman Hopes to Expand Work with Underserved Kids
The Wyman Center, a St. Louis-based nonprofit youth-development organization, has merged with a local academic support program — and received a $1 million grant to support the merger. The combined organization hopes to provide thousands of disadvantaged St. Louis youth with social, emotional and academic support — and to expand the effort nationally. Wyman, founded in 1898, recently announced the grant from the Steward Family Foundation.  

Mentoring Resources
The OJJDP National Mentoring Resource Center serves as an online resource for mentoring tools and program and training materials and offers training and technical assistance to mentoring programs across the country. The National Criminal Justice Reference Service is recognizing the observance of January as National Mentoring Month by offering a Mentoring Resources Special Feature, an online compilation of links to publications, funding, and related resources on mentoring activities.  

College Bound
Some 1.3 million homeless children and youth are currently enrolled in U.S. public schools, according to the National Center for Homeless Education, and could also face difficulties in the college application process. But a new bill introduced in November could help make those processes easier if it becomes part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), say advocates for homeless and foster youth. The bill is known as the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act of 2015.  

Recruitment, Outreach, and Engagement of Disconnected Young Adults under WIOA Lessons Learned from the Evaluation of the Linking Innovation Knowledge Employment (@LIKE) Program
An issue brief describes the unique and intensive recruitment, outreach, and engagement strategies of the Linking Innovation, Knowledge, and Employment (@LIKE) program based in Southern California, which serves disconnected young adults, age 18 to 24. It explains what worked best in outreach, recruitment, and engagement of disconnected young adults. This is the first of three issue briefs on innovative aspects of the @LIKE program that can help programs implement WIOA requirements.  

Workforce Training Programs Should Consider Equity, Acting Ed. Secretary Says
States, communities, school districts, non-profits, and the federal government need to make sure equity is the watchword for implementation of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. That was the message John B. King Jr., the acting U.S. Secretary of Education, delivered Tuesday to the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act national convening, a conference of 700 state leaders and other organizations working to implement the new law. King is hoping that job training facilities, community colleges, and adult-education providers will think about the needs of English-language learners, minority students, low-income students, students with disabilities parents, and other "nontraditional" students as they implement WIOA, which generally govern job training programs.  

Investing in Tomorrow: Helping Families Build Savings and Assets
A new brief by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Investing in Tomorrow: Helping Families Build Savings and Assets,” reports that modest federal investment in universal children’s savings accounts could reduce the wealth gap among young white, black and Latino households by about 20 to 80%. Research suggests that savings accounts can change children’s behavior and make it substantially more likely they will attend college.  

   

New Recommendation to Screen for Maternal Depression
Experts estimate one in seven mothers may experience a mood disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Connecticut is far ahead of many states as its Medicaid program began reimbursing child health providers to screen for maternal depression in 2013 and some commercial insurers have followed their lead.  

Addressing Maternal Mental Health in the Pediatric Medical Home
A report by the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut reviews the most common types of maternal mental health disorders, how they affect child health and development, available treatments and the role of child health providers in early detection and linkage to services.  

Kids in Crisis
Kids in Crisis is USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin's series on youth mental health. Wisconsin ranks among the worst states for rates of youth depression, youth suicide, and shortages of care providers. A team of 25 journalists throughout the state have spent months reporting on the topic.  

Creating a Safe Environment for Teens Experiencing Digital Abuse
Digital abuse is defined as the use of technologies, like texting and social networking, to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Some examples of digital abuse include: sending or demanding that someone send unwanted, explicit pictures; putting a partner down on social media; or using sites like Twitter or Instagram to keep tabs on partners. Given the fact that 92% of teens report going online daily and nearly 75 percent have access to a smartphone according to Pew Research, this kind of behavior is on the rise. In fact, the Pew Research Center of Science and Technology also reports that 65% of young Internet users have been targets of online harassment.  

Promoting Protective Factors
A new series of factsheets for practitioners by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) reviews current research linking protective factors to well-being for five at-risk populations served by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). The factsheets explore topics such as individual skills and capacities that can improve the well-being of children and youth; how parents, guardians, and others can contribute to the well-being of these children; and strategies for practitioners: Promoting Protective Factors for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence;  Promoting Protective Factors for Children and Youth in Foster Care; Promoting Protective Factors for In-Risk Families and Youth; Promoting Protective Factors for Pregnant and Parenting Teens; Promoting Protective Factors for Victims of Child Abuse and Neglect.  

Preparing Youth to Thrive
The Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) and the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality selected eight top out-of-school programs with a commitment to social and emotional skill development (SEL), and a proven track record of working with one of the hardest populations to reach (vulnerable and at-risk adolescents) to determine how out-of-school programs throughout the country can be more intentional about providing SEL. Why these programs are so effective was assessed as well as how these practices and approaches to SEL could be shared with others. The conclusion was with the right staff practices, supports, and curriculum, youth participants develop social and emotional skills regardless of the program/activity. Six skill areas–emotion management, empathy, teamwork, responsibility, initiative, and problem solving—also rose to the surface as key skills in social emotional growth. These practices and offerings could be replicated at any program.  

Jed Foundation & Steve Fund Forge Partnership to Support Mental Health of College Students of Color
Jed Foundation (JED) and the Steve Fund, two leading mental health organizations, announced a joint plan to provide colleges and universities with recommended practices for improving support for the mental health and emotional well-being of America's college students of color. The announcement is accompanied by the release of new data showing the urgency of improving mental health support for this population  

New Jersey Teens Help Create New Law for Youth to Access Mental Health Without Parents’ Consent
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law that will allow teenagers under 18 to access mental health care treatment without permission of a parent. New Jersey is not the first state to pass such legislation, but it may be the first where teenagers helped craft the law and then lobbied for it themselves in front of a state legislature. The Keystone Club of the Hudson County Boys & Girls Clubs, who call themselves The Griffins, representing courage and leadership, starting working on Bill A3435 in 2014. The bill passed 59-10-4 by the New Jersey Senate last June.  

MISLABELED: The Impact of Bullying and Discrimination on California Muslim Students
A 2014 survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) California (the organization's largest state office, found 52% of responding Muslim middle and high school students reported being "verbally insulted or abused" because of their religion. Twenty-nine percent of responding girls who wore hijabs reported offensive touching or pulling of their head coverings by classmates. Students interviewed for the report said they do not report bullying or harassment because the behavior is sometimes presented in a joking tone, or because they fear adults won't take their concerns seriously.  

What Does it Mean to Be Culturally Competent?
Cultural competency is a process that begins with an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference. This awareness informs practices, affecting the ways staff interacts with students, families and colleagues, particularly those representing different cultures.

     

Wounded Teen Activist Returns to City Where He Was Shot
Semaj Clark was in Savannah with a group of teens from the California-based Brotherhood Crusade, which he credits with showing him a life beyond running the streets of south-central Los Angeles. After a community safety forum held by the Chatham County Juvenile Court on October 10, Clark and one of his friends were walking down River Street, Savannah’s waterfront tourist strip, when some local kids approached them. “I was just talking to them, telling them positive stuff,” he said. He called it “a natural instinct.” They talked him into coming with them a few blocks down the street, to the Yamacraw Village public housing complex. “I had an instinct or a feeling that told me to stop, but I just didn’t listen to it,” Clark said. “I love to help kids. I love to help anybody that I see that used to be like me.” But when they got to Yamacraw Village, beneath the landmark Talmadge Memorial Bridge, one of the kids pulled out a gun. When Clark and his friend tried to run, he opened fire. Clark was hit squarely in the back, the bullet ripping into the vertebrae behind the heart. His doctors told him he will not walk again.  

The Bystander Effect
School administrators and teachers should not assume that just because other students in a room during a violent incident say nothing or do nothing means there is no lasting impact. Quoting a study by the Centers for Disease Control in 2015, “Understanding School Violence”: “Not all injuries are visible. Exposure to youth violence and school violence can lead to a wide array of negative health behaviors and outcomes, including alcohol and drug use and suicide”.        

New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer
The Obama Administration announced a series of executive actions designed to: keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks; make our communities safer from gun violence; increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system; and shape the future of gun safety technology.         

Advocates Hope for Action on National Background Check Bill
Lawmakers in the House and Senate recently reintroduced the bipartisan Child Protection Improvements Act (HR 4703, S 2332), which would allow organizations to screen potential employees and volunteers through the FBI fingerprint database. In more than half the states, child-serving organizations do not have access to the FBI database through their states. In states that do provide access, or when a third-party provider offers access, wait times and costs can be prohibitive, the legislation’s supporters say.

     

Luke: Abuse in Foster Care as Trans Youth
In a video, 25 year-old Luke McNamara recounts the abuse and humiliation he faced as a transgender youth growing up in the California foster care system.  

How Research Evidence Informs Foster Youth Medication Policies
For vulnerable children, including those in foster care, behavioral health medications and services offered by the child welfare system are a crucial component of their development. This system, which in 2011 served 6.2 million children in the United States, is responsible for services tied to youth well-being, including the use of psychotropic medications for emotional and behavioral problems. However, knowledge of research about recommended practices for appropriate use of medications varies greatly among child welfare professionals. The ways in which research evidence is used differs across states and communities. The focus of a forum was how mid-level policymakers in state child welfare agencies acquire, interpret, and use research evidence to develop policies regarding the use of medications for youth in foster care with the goal of improving their life and health outcomes.  

Fewer Teens Drink, Smoke Cigarettes, Pot Use Stagnant, More Suffer Depression
The 2015 Behavioral Health Barometer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration showed decreases from 2013 to 2014 in the percentage of adolescents who reported they had engaged in binge drinking or smoked cigarettes in the previous month. The findings are a continuation of a downward trend since 2010. During that same period, rates of marijuana use ticked up from 7.1% to 7.4%, but the change was not statistically different compared with any year from 2008 to 2013. The data also showed an increase in the rates of depression among teenagers.  

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
SAMHSA has released a revised version of the Opioid Overdose Toolkit. This toolkit is designed to educate first responders, physicians, patients, family members, and community members on ways to prevent opioid overdose. The revised content now includes information on the first FDA-approved nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.  

Understanding Methamphetamine Use Among Homeless Youth
Researchers collected data about drug use and sexual behaviors from 136 homeless youth receiving services in Los Angeles. Participants also provided information about their social interactions with others, including people with whom they had “hung out”, had sex, “hooked up,” “partied,” drank alcohol, or used drugs. Youth who had the most social connections and were at the center of their social network were more likely to be methamphetamine users than youth who paired off with one friend or who socialized with a small group. Also, the more meth-using individuals a youth interacted with, the more likely they were to use methamphetamines themselves.  

Reclaiming My Life after Meth
The writer began using drugs at age 13.  

New Strategies for Treating Addiction Among Teens
Addicted to prescription painkillers after a high-school sports injury, he moved on to heroin, which was cheaper and more easily accessible. His parents tried everything, more than once sending him out of state for treatment. His mother turned her grief into action, co-founding the nonprofit Healing Addiction in Our Community and taking its cause — “Not Another Life Lost” — to the state capitol in Santa Fe. Her efforts as a citizen-lobbyist have resulted in passage of two pieces of legislation: One bill requires doctors to use a statewide prescription drug-monitoring program; the other requires all medical practitioners to complete a course in addiction and pain management when their licenses are renewed.

     

Overwhelmed Federal Officials Released Immigrant Teens to Traffickers in 2014
Since 2011, more than 125,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have been stopped at the border, many placed in shelters funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has demanded a response from the Obama administration to whistleblower claims that thousands of those children have been released to sponsors with criminal records that include homicide, child molestation and human trafficking. Legal advocates for the children say many have wound up in abusive situations, where they have been forced to work to repay debts or living expenses. Some children simply stop showing up for immigration hearings and vanish.  

Obama Administration Placed Children with Human Traffickers, Report Says
A Senate investigation has found the Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers. According to the report, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations.  

NCTSN Resources on Human Trafficking
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has resources for mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, and survivors on the signs of trafficking and services for human trafficking survivors.  

Faces of Human Trafficking Resource Guide
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has developed the Faces of Human Trafficking Resource Guide to raise public awareness of human trafficking, the many forms it can take, and the important role that everyone can play in identifying and serving victims.  

What Promotes Resilience Among Female Survivors of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
Researchers wanted to learn what promotes resilience among young female survivors of sex trafficking. They recruited and interviewed six young women ages 18 and up, all of whom had experienced sex trafficking in the form of prostitution as a minor. Participants provided basic demographic information and spoke about their personal experiences before, during, and after their time in the sex trade. They also talked about the psychological effects of being a survivor. The researchers uncovered a number of themes about how participants were recruited into sex trafficking, what they experienced once involved, and the factors that helped them leave their trafficking situation: traffickers recruit victims by preying on their vulnerability; victims experience isolation and threats; many factors motivate victims to leave.   

HIV Testing Uncommon in Teens Despite Recommendations: CDC
Fewer than 1 in 4 high school students who have had sex have ever been tested for HIV, a troubling low rate that did not budge over eight years, government researchers say. Young adults fared slightly better, although testing rates have declined in black women, a high-risk group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an influential preventive health panel recommend routine HIV testing at least once for teens and adults.

 

Juvenile Justice

Supreme Court Extends Parole Rights to Juvenile Murderers Sentenced to Life
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday made retroactive its decision of four years ago barring life-without-parole sentences for murders by all but the most incorrigible juvenile offenders. The 6-3 decision will mean some 1,000 juvenile offenders sentenced before the 2012 decision will likely be paroled. Some of those offenders have spent most of their lives in prison.

Restorative Justice Can Help Stop the School-To-Prison Pipeline, NY Panel Says
Alternative discipline is an opportunity to keep kids in school and reduce the number of days missed due to suspension. Restorative justice programs avoid suspensions by allowing participants to acknowledge the harm created, work together to make amends and build relationships in order to prevent future incidents.  

A Blueprint for Youth Justice Reform
A publication by the Youth Transitions Funders Group outlines ten state and national policy recommendations to improve responses to youth and young adults who are involved in or at risk of entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems. It also offers an overview of the role that philanthropy plays in youth justice reform at the local, state, and national levels. The Blueprint aligns with YTFG’s recent publication “Investing to Improve the Well-Being of Vulnerable Youth and Young Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice.

Workshops & Webinars

Career Pathways: From Ideas to Action, Tools for States (February 10, 2 – 3:15 p.m.)
In order to ensure that students are adequately prepared for college and career and that the education they receive is well-aligned to the needs of the labor market, states and districts across the country are working to provide multiple educational pathways to better meet the needs of students, employers, and the economy as a whole. A webinar will describe the value of career pathway systems, provide leading examples of states and districts doing this work, and will introduce the CCRS Center’s new Career Pathways Module, which provides tools and resources for the development and implementation of a career pathways system.  

Building a Robust Afterschool System: Lessons and Opportunities (February 17, 2 – 3:15)
The webinar will provide an overview of the cornerstone elements of an afterschool system and showcase how these elements are reflected in the system building work in three communities: Palm Beach County, Florida; Seattle/King County, Washington; and Providence, Rhode Island. Representatives from these communities will discuss the various approaches used to develop a citywide afterschool system, the steps made to ensure their system meets the needs of their community, and the challenges and successes experienced along the way. In addition, we will explore opportunities for continued growth and sustainability, as well as several emerging issues moving forward.   

How Research Evidence Informs Foster Youth Medication Policies (February 22, 1 – 2:30 p.m.)
A webinar will focus on how mid-level policymakers in state child welfare agencies acquire, interpret, and use research evidence to develop policies regarding the use of medications for youth in foster care with the goal of improving their life and health outcomes.  

Behind the Nation's Record-Setting High School Graduation Rate (On Demand)
The GradNation campaign released new state data and, for the first time, state progress reports on 2013-14 high school graduation rates. A webinar based on the data covered such topics as state leaders and laggards; new data on graduation gaps; an update on the number of dropout factories around the country; status of key subgroups, particularly low-income students, students with disabilities, students of color, and English-Language Learners