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

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

 

In the July 31 Edition: 

Events
JustPlay (August 3)
Entrepreneurship Summer Camp for Girls (August 3-14)
National Night Out (August 4)
Why We Can’t Wait: Empowering Males of Color Through Mentoring & Literacy (August 5)
Mental Health First Aid Training (August 8)
Summer Youth Employment Program Closing Ceremony (August 14)
Titan Takeover Teen Night (August 14)
ACAP and SAPCA Youth Leadership Conference (August 17-19)
The Global Read Aloud Project (October 5 – November 13)
Impact: Innovation + Philanthropy (October 6)
Open Doors to Independence Fundraising Breakfast (October 22)

Careers/Volunteerism 
SAPCA Board Seeking Youth Members
SAPCA Hiring Social Media Intern
YoungArts
Student Essay Competition in Healthcare Management
Department of Health and Human Services Invites Public Comment on Proposed Head Start Rules
Research/Policy Intern
Boren Awards
Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Awards
National Kind Teacher Award
I Love My Librarian Award
Fellowships in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
Human Rights Documentaries
Healthcare System Reporting Fellowships
End-of-Life Care Nursing Career Development Award
Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Psychology Award
Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force Newsletter
SAPCA Newsletter
ACAP Newsletter
Tip Sheet: Strategies for Working with the Media

Grantsmanship
DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities

Research & Resources 
ACPS Announces Free and Reduced School Lunch Qualifications
Operation Safe Babies
Northern Virginia Community College Dental Hygiene Program
ABC’s The Chew Co-Host Carla Hall Spends Time with Alexandria’s Students
New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones Across U.S.
A Lack of Education Could Be Just as Dangerous as Smoking, Study Says
Rewriting Education Law: Senate Replaces ‘No Child Left Behind’
I Have a Question: What Parents and Caregivers Can Ask and Do to Help Children Thrive in School
8 Tips for Parents of Children with Asperger’s Syndrome
Working Brain Science into Parents’ Daily Routine
Expanded Learning, Expanded Opportunity: How Four Communities Are Working to Improve Education for Their Students
Children with Strong Social Skills in Kindergarten More Likely to Thrive as Adults
Career Prep Moves to Middle Schools
High School Graduation Rates: Deep Pockets of Need Even as Picture Improves
Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth
Rethink School Discipline
From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. States and School Districts
Students Face Uncertain Paths After Special Education
Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice
Improving Reading by Playing With Words: Four Classroom Activities
Little Shaq
Amazon Top Pick for Contract to Create N.Y.C. Schools’ e-book ‘Marketplace’
The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: Students from Low-Income Families
Money Magazine’s Best Colleges List
The Economic Value of College Majors
Report Examines Prevalence of Race-Conscious College Admissions Policies
Rich Kids Study English
U.S. Gets Gold in International Math Competition
Rahm Emanuel Names New Leaders for Chicago Schools  

Youth Well-Being
The 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book
America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015
Still at Risk: U.S. Children 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina
Understanding the Geography of Growth in Rural Child Poverty
The Skills Gap and the New Economy: Implications for Low-Income Students
Economic Costs of Youth Disadvantage and High-Return Opportunities for Change
Summer Jobs Reduce Violence Among Disadvantaged Youth
Summer Hunger: Too Expensive to Ignore
Local Governments and Anti-Hunger Organizations Work Together to Improve Children’s Health
Financial Inclusion Efforts Can Provide a Brighter Future for Low-Income Residents
California Photographers Focus on Life After Foster Care in New Book
Low-Income, Homeless Teens Use Art for Job-ReadinessBetween the World and Me
Growing Together, Learning Together
Setting Standards for Out-of-School Time
How to Build Safe Spaces: Define, Then Deliver
Behavioral Health Equity Barometer
Children and Complementary Health Approaches
Investigating How to Help Urban Minority Teens ‘Co-Parent’


Smokefree Housing Could Save Millions
U.S. 8th and 10th Grade Students More Than Twice as Likely to Report Using E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Cigarettes in 2014
Q&A: How to Help Homeless Youth Quit Smoking
Texas Drownings Highlight Calls for Swim Instruction
HBO Examines Consequences of ‘Trophy Culture’ in Youth Sports
Houston Texans Star Warns Youth-Athletes About Social-Media Presence
Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours
SAMHSA Releases Report on Underage Drinking
Past Month Alcohol Use Among U.S. 8th, 10th, and 12th Graders Continues to Decline; Approaching Levels of Marijuana Use
Music & Arts Therapists Help Youth Find Their Voice, Break Free from Addiction
Insurance Coverage for Substance Abuse Improving But Still Limited
Percentage of National Treatment Admissions for Heroin at Highest Level

Juvenile Justice
Childhood Trauma and Its Effect: Implications for Police
Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States
Fiscal Years 2013-2014 Status Report for the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States
Prosecution, Transfer, and Registration of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders
Why Youth Join Gangs
Parents’ Guide to Gangs
Police Official Says Game Helps Officers Make Inroads Among Youth
Alternatives to Arrest for Young People

Workshops & Webinars 
Every Kid in a Park (August 10, August 12, August 14)

Events

JustPlay (August 3)
Families are invited to William Ramsay Recreation Center (5650 Sanger Ave.) from 5 – 7 p.m. for games, books and play. Children 12 and under must bring a parent or guardian. Space is limited to 100 people. Register online or call 703.824.6865.  

Entrepreneurship Summer Camp for Girls (August 3-14)
The free camp will be held at Marymount University from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Hosted by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the camp is for Northern Virginia girls ages 15-17. Contact Abigail Hamilton for additional information.  

National Night Out (August 4)
City officials will partner with Alexandria Police to celebrate the 32nd Annual National Night Out. To heighten awareness of crime prevention, residents in more than thirty Alexandria neighborhoods will turn on their porch lights, host neighborhood cookouts, and sponsor block parties in support of National Night Out.   

Why We Can’t Wait: Empowering Males of Color Through Mentoring & Literacy (August 5)
A discussion hosted by the DC Public Schools’ Office of Innovation and Research will feature an update on the Empowering Males of Color initiative (a $20 million effort by DCPS to identify and assess current challenges and successes of PK-12 African-American and Latino males), comments by community partners engaged in the work, and networking with mentors who have answered the call to action. The event will take place at Eastern High School (1700 East Capitol Street N.E.) from 6 – 8 p.m.  

Mental Health First Aid Training (August 8)
MHFA demonstrates the initial help given to a person showing signs of mental illness or a mental health crisis. The eight-hour course teaches risk factors, warning signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders; the effects of the illnesses and an overview of treatments; and a five-step action plan for helping someone with symptoms. The training will take place from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. at 4401 Ford Avenue, 12th floor. Youth courses are available for adults responding to a youth in crisis. Registration is open until filled and the class is limited to 20 participants. Visit alexandriava.gov/DCHS to register for this and other class dates. To learn more about MHFA, visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org.   

Summer Youth Employment Program Closing Ceremony (August 14)
The City of Alexandria’s Summer Youth Employment Program will hold its closing ceremony at the Minnie Howard Campus Auditorium (3801 West Braddock Road) from 1-3 p.m.  

Titan Takeover Teen Night (August 14)
The KeepIt360 Club of the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy and the Above the Influence Club of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria are hosting a Teen Night at Cora Kelly Recreation Center (25 W. Reed Ave.) from 7-10 p.m. Text “Titan” to 30644 or email Kim Hurley by August 12 to attend.  

ACAP and SAPCA Youth Leadership Conference (August 17-19)
ACAP and SAPCA will be hosting the fourth annual Youth Leadership Conference from 10am-5pm at the First Baptist Church (2932 King Street). The conference is free for high-school aged youth (including rising ninth graders) and will include snacks and lunch each day. Youth who attend the conference will have the opportunity to expand their leadership skills, learn about financial literacy, and practice networking. Register online, email the registration form to Lisette Torres, or mail it to ACAP (421 King Street, Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314).  

The Global Read Aloud Project (October 5 – November 13)
More than 270,000 students around the world are expected to participate in this year’s event. Teachers will choose from four books as well as a group of picture books, and four of the authors will join in on the online conversations on Skype, Twitter, Google Apps, Kidblog, and other applications over a six-week period.  

Impact: Innovation + Philanthropy (October 6)
The annual event of Act for Alexandria will feature Paul Schmitz, groundbreaking author and innovator, as the keynote speaker. Registration is $25 for individuals and $100 for groups of five until September 4. Rates increase to $40 for individuals and $175 for groups on September 5.  

Open Doors to Independence Fundraising Breakfast (October 22)
Join Community Lodgings for a complimentary breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (901 N. Fairfax St.) and the opportunity to learn more about the impact that the educational and housing programs of Community Lodgings have on Alexandria’s homeless and low-income families and individuals. Consider becoming a Table Captain by inviting nine friends. Contact Jasmin Witcher (703.549.4407) for more information.

Careers/Volunteerism 

SAPCA Board Seeking Youth Members
Members of the board of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria help plan programs and activities that reduce youth substance use and abuse in the City of Alexandria. Meetings are held once a month from 6 – 7:30 p.m. To apply, send a paragraph describing volunteer experience, clubs, and activities and interest in serving on board to Noraine Buttar (703.746.3670). Applications are due August 21.  

SAPCA Hiring Social Media Intern
SAPCA is hiring one paid social media intern for the 2015-2016 school year. The selected candidate will generate content related to substance abuse prevention and is expected to commit up to 4 hours per week.  Applications are due by Friday, August 21 and should be forwarded to Noraine Buttar.  

YoungArts
The National YoungArts Foundation is designed to identify and support the next generation of artists in the literary, performing, visual, and design arts. YoungArts provides emerging artists (ages 15-18 or grades 10-12) with life-changing experiences with renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and other opportunities throughout their careers. Support is offered in ten artistic disciplines: cinematic arts, dance, design, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice, and writing. Winners are eligible for a monetary award of up to $10,000, recognition as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and master classes with world-renowned artists. The deadline for applications is October 16.   

Student Essay Competition in Healthcare Management
The annual competition of the American College of Healthcare Executives is designed to stimulate and demonstrate the ability of future healthcare executives to identify and describe important issues and developments in their chosen profession. The competition is open to students currently enrolled in either a graduate or undergraduate health administration program that is a participant in the American College of Healthcare Executives Higher Education Network. The graduate and undergraduate students whose essays are the winning entries will each receive $3,000, while their programs will receive $1,000. The second and third-place graduate and undergraduate finalists will receive $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. The deadline is December 4.  

Department of Health and Human Services Invites Public Comment on Proposed Head Start Rules
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed the first holistic revision and complete reorganization of the Head Start Program Performance Standards since they were originally published in 1975. The Office of Head Start will take public comments into consideration as it makes decisions for a final rule.  

Research/Policy Intern
The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) is accepting applications for the position of Research/Policy Intern for Fall 2015. The intern will work with program staff to collect data for briefing papers, fact sheets, and publications; research promising practices to help identify potential programs to highlight in publications, forums, and study tours; track and analyze effective youth policies and practices in states and districts, and assist with communications to key contacts on Capitol Hill. Applications must be received by September 11.

Boren Awards
An initiative of the National Security Education Program, the Boren Awards provide funding for United States undergraduate and graduate students to study in world regions critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren scholars and fellows represent a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili. As part of the African Languages Initiative, Boren Award applicants have the opportunity to further their study of Akan/Twi, French, Hausa, Portuguese, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, or Zulu. Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and under-represented in study abroad programs. The deadline is February 9, 2016. Boren Fellowships provide up to $30,000 to U.S. graduate students to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. The deadline is January 28, 2016. In exchange for funding, recipients commit to working in the federal government for a minimum of one year.  

Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Awards
The awards program acknowledges the critical role of child care teachers in providing high-quality child care. Fifty award recipients will receive $1,000 each — $500 to acknowledge each child care teacher's special dedication and $500 to fund a classroom enhancement project designed as part of the application process. The top ten qualifiers become finalists for the Helene Marks Award for the National Childcare Teacher of the Year. The teacher chosen as the Helene Marks Award recipient will receive an additional $1,000 award. The program is open to child care teachers in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and on all United States military bases and installations. The deadline for applications is January 4, 2016.   

National Kind Teacher Award
Each year the Humane Society of the United States Foundation recognizes an outstanding teacher who consistently incorporates humane education into his or her curriculum and/or motivates students to get involved in community service for animals. Winners receive a framed certificate and a scholarship to the Humane Society University’s Certified Humane Education Specialist program. All nominees must be a preK-12 classroom teacher. Self-nominations are accepted. The deadline is February 15, 2016.  

I Love My Librarian Award
The Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award recognizes librarians who are improving the lives of people in a school, campus, or community. Up to ten winners will be selected to receive a $5,000 cash award, a plague, and a $500 travel stipend to attend the awards reception in New York. Nominees must be a librarian with a master’s degree from an American Library Association program in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominators must be library users. The deadline is September 28.    

Fellowships in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
The Simons Foundation will award grants of up to $100,000 to university faculty in mathematics or theoretical physics for a semester-long research leave from classroom teaching and administrative obligations as a way to boost their creativity and/or provide intellectual stimulation. The goal of the program is to make it easier to take such leaves or to extend sabbatical leaves by an extra half year. To be eligible, all applicants must have a teaching or administrative position at a U.S. or Canadian college or university through the term following the leave.  In addition, applicants must have an active current research program. The application deadline is September 30.  

Human Rights Documentaries
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) (an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights) has issued a Call for Submissions for Impugning Impunity: the ALBA Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. Now in its fifth year, the festival aims to create a community-wide dialogue about justice, equality, and humanity through the presentation of documentaries on human rights issues, post-screening Q&A sessions with the films’ directors, and community talk-backs with human rights advocates and activists. Films will be accepted for consideration in two categories — Short Films (5 – 30 minutes) and Feature Films (30 – 120 minutes). To be eligible, documentaries must address a human rights-related topic and have been completed after January 1, 2014. Special consideration will be given to young and independent filmmakers. The festival will take place from October 26 - 28 at the Instituto Cervantes in New York City. Submissions are due August 20.  

Healthcare System Reporting Fellowships
The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance are intended to support U.S.-based journalism projects that hold the promise of informing and educating the public. The fellowship covers the cost of seminar trips, including food, lodging, and travel within the United States; a project allowance of up to $4,000; attendance at Health Journalism 2015, including travel, lodging, and registration; and a $2,500 award for the successful completion of the project. The deadline is November 2.  

End-of-Life Care Nursing Career Development Award
The Oncology Nursing Society Foundation is accepting applications for its annual Pat McCue/New Orleans Chapter End-of-Life Care Nursing Career Development Award. Through the program, a single grant of $2,500 will be awarded to support the continuing educational activities of a registered nurse dedicated to caring for patients and their families during the final stages of life. The award cannot be used for tuition in an academic program. To be eligible, applicants must be a registered nurse who spends a minimum of 75% of his/her time in end-of-life care and has at least a year of experience in end-of-life care. Applications must be received by June 15, 2016.

Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Psychology Award
The annual program of the American Psychological Association presents a one-time award of up to $4,000 to an established clinical psychologist in recognition of his/her accomplishments and promise in clinical psychology. Nominees should be no more than ten years past their postdoctoral degree. The deadline to apply is November 1.

Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force Newsletter
Among the articles featured in the latest edition of the newsletter is a program update on the ICMA Alexandria/El Salvador Exchange, a program that focuses on exposing and educating Salvadoran and other Central American delegates and jurisdictions to the collaborative efforts government agencies and community partners in Alexandria have developed to address violence and crime prevention.  

SAPCA Newsletter
Among the features in the latest edition of the newsletter of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria is a study that found almost one-third of teens who use marijuana said they do so to alleviate boredom.  

ACAP Newsletter
An article in the July edition of the newsletter of the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy profiles a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control that found teens are having less sex than they used to. The report also found the most sexually active teens are using some form of contraception.  

Tip Sheet: Strategies for Working with the Media
A tip sheet by SAMSHA presents key steps to consider before the media calls, when they call, and during the interview.

Grantsmanship

DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities
The DCHS Office of Youth Services compiled a listing of grant opportunities on July 20.

Research & Resources

ACPS Announces Free and Reduced School Lunch Qualifications
Alexandria City Public Schools released its policy guidelines for the provision of free or reduced price meals for school-age children under the National Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.  

Operation Safe Babies
SCAN is coordinating a new program that educates new parents about safe sleep for infants, provides cribs for families in need, and delivers resources for families and babies across Northern Virginia. Contact Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard (703.820.9001) to host a training or learn more about the program.  

Northern Virginia Community College Dental Hygiene Program
Dental services are available at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) through its Dental Hygiene Program for a nominal one-time fee of $35. Dental hygiene students receive the necessary training during classroom and pre-clinical/lab sessions before performing services on patients.   

ABC’s The Chew Co-Host Carla Hall Spends Time with Alexandria’s Students
Carla Hall, Bravo’s Top Chef, entrepreneur, self-made businesswoman, accountant model and soon to be restaurateur, spent time with students from Alexandria interested in the culinary arts.

Education
New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones Across U.S.
The U.S. Department of Education plans to release the first nationwide map of school attendance boundaries. School districts will be able to use an online tool to draw or upload their own maps and download or tweak existing maps starting in November. In the process, districts will create the most detailed picture yet of how American schools define their communities. Education officials will also have new tools to plan new schools and transportation routes, and to identify equity problems across the district. In Georgia, for example, state education officials are considering using the data to track where foster children attend school.  Another focus could be gerrymandering (the tactic by which state legislatures configure electoral maps to create safe seats for a particular party), which can be common in schools. By way of example, Loudoun County’s rapid population growth began when the district still operated under a court desegregation order in place since the 1960s. That order was lifted in 2006 but by 2009-10, Loudoun’s actual attendance zones increased separation of white and minority students in 1st grade compared to models of enrollment without gerrymandering.  

A Lack of Education Could Be Just as Dangerous as Smoking, Study Says
A new study published in PLOS One, a journal of the Public Library of Science, calculated the health risks of low educational attainment in the U.S. and found that more than 145,000 deaths could have been prevented in 2010 if adults who did not finish high school had earned a GED or high school diploma – comparable to the mortality rates of smoking. In addition, another 110,000 deaths in 2010 could have been saved if people who had some college went on to complete their degree.  

Rewriting Education Law: Senate Replaces ‘No Child Left Behind’
Under the new bill, Every Child Achieves, students must still take annual reading and math tests, but states would decide how to use the tests in assessing schools and students.  

I Have a Question: What Parents and Caregivers Can Ask and Do to Help Children Thrive in School
The Obama administration has released a checklist divided into sets of questions officials say parents should ask educators. It covers such areas as the quality of education, how progress is measured, school safety and student engagement. The U.S. Department of Education partnered with the United Negro College Fund, the national Parent-Teacher Association, and other organizations to create the guide for parents and caregivers. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, said it was important to dispel the notion of minority parents being disengaged.   

8 Tips for Parents of Children with Asperger’s Syndrome
People with Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with the social aspects of life and often have inappropriate responses to social situations. One of the major problems for children with Asperger’s Syndrome is understanding social cues. Tips developed by the Durham Region Autism Services can be helpful.  

Working Brain Science into Parents’ Daily Routine
The Bezos Family Foundation worked with developmental scientists to develop 750 activities parents can do with their children from infancy to age 5 and loaded them into a smartphone app. When parents download the app, they get access to tips that come with a “brainy background”, which is basically an explanation of how the seemingly silly games will help children develop school skills. The main idea behind VROOM is to get information to parents about specific things they can do with the young children to prepare them for school.  

Expanded Learning, Expanded Opportunity: How Four Communities Are Working to Improve Education for Their  Students
A report by America’s Promise examines Grand Rapids, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y. to see how time spent out of the classroom improved outcomes for students in low-income neighborhoods and low-performing schools.      

Children with Strong Social Skills in Kindergarten More Likely to Thrive as Adults
A new report published in the American Journal of Public Health found children who share easily, resolve problems on their own, and cooperate with their peers are less likely to drop out of school, commit crimes, or need government assistance.  

Career Prep Moves to Middle Schools
Middle schools are increasingly looking for ways to expose students to careers so they understand the relevance of what they are learning and stay on track. Nonprofit organizations and colleges are investing in mentoring and job-shadowing programs to get students ready to enter high school focused on their future such as Spark, a nonprofit that partners with schools to match underserved 7th and 8th grader with professionals. Because research shows that 60-70% of students become “chronically disengaged” in 7th and 8th grades, it is critical to provide some sense of career options.  

High School Graduation Rates: Deep Pockets of Need Even as Picture Improves
A report issued by the National Center for Education Statistics found that for school year 2010-11, the estimated national four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for public high school students was 79% and for 2011-12 it was 80%. Hence, nearly 4 out of 5 students receive a regular high school diploma within four years of starting the 9th grade for the first time. That rate dipped as low as 59% in the District of Columbia and as high as 89% in Iowa.  

Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth
A randomized controlled trial of a school-based intervention that provides disadvantaged youth in Chicago high schools (95% of whom were black or Hispanic and more than 90% free or reduced-price lunch eligible) with intensive individualized academic instruction found participation increased math achievement scores and reduced course failures by one-half in addition to reducing failures in non-math courses. Researchers concluded so few previous interventions have targeted a key barrier to school success – “mismatch” between what schools deliver and the needs of youth, particularly those far behind grade level.

Rethink School Discipline
The White House hosted a national convening with the goal of equipping attendees with knowledge and resources for improving school discipline policies and practices. A video of the event shares the administration’s work on school climate and discipline.  

From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. States and School Districts
The anti-bullying policies of all 13,181 school districts across the country are examined in a report by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).   

Students Face Uncertain Paths After Special Education
Many families and their young adults with special needs experience the transition to life after graduation not as a launching pad, but as a cliff. One of the parents quoted in the article is an Alexandria mother of twin boys with intellectual disabilities.         

Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice
The federal Institute of Education Sciences has released a document that outlines the challenges facing schools around English-learners and students with disabilities. It offers examples of what some states are doing around student identification and support of English-learners with disabilities.  

Improving Reading by Playing With Words: Four Classroom Activities
At the International Literacy Association, renowned reading expert Timothy Rasinski shared his favorite ways for developing the foundational reading skills of students: making words, Greek/Latin roots, vocabulary ladders, and teaching idioms.  

Little Shaq
Shaquille O’Neal is writing a series of early-reader books called Little Shaq.  

Amazon Top Pick for Contract to Create N.Y.C. Schools’ e-book ‘Marketplace’
Under a $30 million contract that is expected to be approved next month, Amazon Digital Services Inc. would create a comprehensive online shopping source for e-books and digital content for New York City schools. The new marketplace is expected to address major concerns of schools, including: lack of sufficient space for textbooks and primary resources; the physical decay and loss of books; the inability to compare options and prices, and being prohibited from exchanging book licenses with other schools and classrooms.      

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: Students from Low-Income Families
ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education released a report that confirmed family education background exerts a powerful influence on the readiness of students for college.  Ninety percent of the first-generation students who took the ACT college readiness assessment said they planned to go to college, but 52% did not reach a single one of the score points on the ACT associated with the likelihood of success in college. Only 9% of first-generation students met all four of the college-readiness benchmarks – a number that has not changed since 2011. About 435,000 students or one-quarter of the 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT reported an annual family income of less than $36,000.  

Money Magazine’s Best Colleges List
Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, are among the lesser-known schools that made it into the top ten of Money magazine's "Best Colleges" list. Along with Stanford, Princeton, and Harvard Universities, these institutions were rated highly by the magazine for value as calculated using a methodology that considers the quality of education, affordability, and outcomes. Money screened out schools with graduation rates below the median and those facing financial difficulties. Factors weighed for affordability included merit aid, parent and student borrowing, the typical length of time to graduate, tuition increases, and other measures. With its "value added" grade, the magazine considered how well students at each school did compared to what would be expected given their economic and academic backgrounds and the institution's mix of majors. After the analysis, 736 colleges made Money's cut. Along with the new list, Money has an interactive tool on its Web site to help students identify colleges that are a good fit based on their individual criteria.  

The Economic Value of College Majors
The publication of the Georgetown University on Education and the Workforce uses census data to analyze wages for 137 college majors to detail the most popular college majors, the majors that are most likely to lead to an advanced degree, and the economic benefit of earning an advanced degree by undergraduate major.  

Report Examines Prevalence of Race-Conscious College Admissions Policies
A report from the American Council on Education paints a picture of university leaders and admissions officers striving to form racially and socioeconomically diverse entering classes in the face of legal constraints and other challenges. The heart of the report is a survey of 338 four-year colleges and universities that responded to the research request. Of that number, 92 institutions (or 27.2%) still consider race in admissions; 19 (5.6%) do not consider race, but used to do so; and 227 (67.2%) have never considered race.  

Rich Kids Study English
Researchers who reviewed data from the National Center for Education Statistics for a recent Atlantic article found if money is tight, students are more likely to choose useful majors, such as computer science, while those from wealthier families often are drawn to history and the arts. The amount of money a college student's parents make correlates with what that person studies because sometimes high-income students do not feel the same financial pressure to choose a practical field of study. Upon graduation, more affluent students may have more of a safety net if they cannot get a job or are underemployed. As students from disadvantaged backgrounds choose a college, they are also more likely to look for one with a wide variety of majors.   

U.S. Gets Gold in International Math Competition
The U.S. team won the International Math Olympiad for the first time since 1994.  

Rahm Emanuel Names New Leaders for Chicago Schools
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel named Forrest Claypool as the new chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools as part of a new leadership team. In addition to Claypool, a former president of the Chicago Transit Authority and superintendent of the Chicago Park District, Emanuel named Frank M. Clark, a former utility executive, as the new school board president; Janice K. Jackson, a former network chief, as the new chief education officer; and Denise Little, who was in charge of all the district's school network chiefs, as a senior adviser to Claypool.

Youth Well-Being
The 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book
The annual publication of the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that one in four children lived in a low-income working family in 2013, and nearly one in three lived in a house where neither parent has full-time employment – suggesting the recovery from the Great Recession is leaving millions of children behind. The report found that while well-being improved on some measures, about 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families than during the Great Recession. In addition, while the economic recovery after the Recession led to increased wealth for some individuals, millions of children were left behind. The report shows the number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods is higher than at any time since 1990. In addition, two million more kids live in areas of concentrated poverty than did during the years 2006 through 2010. While citing good news such as the continued decline in teen pregnancies and more children having health insurance than in previous years, a Casey policy expert deemed the economic declines “deeply troubling”. In rankings of the 50 states, Virginia ranked 14th with regard to overall child well-being; 14th in economic well-being; 10th in Education; 17th in Health, and 14th in Family & Community (nurturing families and supportive communities).  

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015
The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which includes participants from 23 federal agencies. Among its findings was the number of American infants born before the 37th week of pregnancy dropped slightly in 2013, as did the percentage of children with asthma under the age of 17. The percentage of teens who experienced a major depressive episode increased. They are more likely than other youth to initiate alcohol and other drug use, experience concurrent substance use disorders, and smoke daily.  

Still at Risk: U.S. Children 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina
According to a newly released report by the aid agency Save the Children, nearly four in five of the recommendations made by a national commission on children in disasters have not been adopted almost ten years after Hurricane Katrina. Between 2004 and 2012 less than one cent of every $10 spent on federal emergency preparedness grants went to activities targeting safety for children. Thirty-two states now require minimum emergency planning standards at schools and child care. But 18 states (including Virginia) and the District of Columbia still fall short. The report calls on Congress to restore congressional cuts to mental health support programs; mandate that hospitals include pediatric emergency readiness and neonatal intensive care in their emergency disaster plans; mandate that states and localities that receive federal support include vulnerable populations in their evacuation plans, including children with special healthcare needs and families that do not have vehicles, and create a national task force to monitor how federal agencies are implementing the recommendations of the 2010 report by the National Commission on Children and Disasters.   

Understanding the Geography of Growth in Rural Child Poverty
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) showed that nearly 2.6 million nonmetropolitan children younger than 18 years old lived in families with incomes below the official poverty line in 2013. A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found the overall nonmetropolitan area child poverty rate of 26% was markedly higher than the 1999 rate of 19% reported for the same area in the 2000 Census. It was also higher than the 2013 metropolitan rate of 21% (up from 16% in 1999). One in five rural counties had child poverty rates of over 33% in 2009-13, but another one in five had child poverty rates of less than 16%. Overall, county average rates of child poverty rose from 20% to 25% over 1999-2009/13, with the proportion of counties with child poverty rates of over 33% doubling in this period.  

The Skills Gap and the New Economy: Implications for Low-Income Students
A white paper by the GE Foundation outlines strategic steps needed to help low-income students succeed in college and career. By 2018 nearly 65% of the 47 million job openings in the United States will require some kind of post-secondary education, but there will be a shortfall of three million individuals with the appropriate level of education to fill them. Four strategies targeted to low-income students are recommended for closing the skills gap: match students with mentors; broaden career knowledge; build STEM awareness and readiness; and develop the “Essential Skills” (leadership, teamwork, grit and other competencies).   

Economic Costs of Youth Disadvantage and High-Return Opportunities for Change
A report by the White House’s Council on Economic Advisers on closing opportunity gaps for disadvantaged youth highlights two promising programs: One Summer Jobs Plus (OSP) and Becoming a Man (BAM). With OJJDP-supported evaluation grants, the University of Chicago Crime Lab is currently testing both youth-focused delinquency prevention models. The White House has recognized the BAM approach as an example of innovation in advancing the goals of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative for minority males.   

Summer Jobs Reduce Violence Among Disadvantaged Youth
A study by the Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago Crime Lab tested whether summer jobs can reduce crime. In a randomized controlled trial among 1,634 disadvantaged high school youth in Chicago, assignment to a summer jobs program decreased violence by 43% over 16 months.   

Summer Hunger: Too Expensive to Ignore
Deloitte Consulting looked at the impact of national summer nutrition programs on children’s lives. "In the short-term, the programs can help mitigate summer weight gain, cognitive decline and summer learning loss for children from low-income families. In the long term, they may help increase high school graduation rates and reduce susceptibility to chronic diseases, which are otherwise each accompanied by large potential costs to the children and their communities.”   

Local Governments and Anti-Hunger Organizations Work Together to Improve Children’s Health
City governments are increasingly partnering with local anti-hunger organizations to reduce child hunger and improve children’s health.  

Financial Inclusion Efforts Can Provide a Brighter Future for Low-Income Residents
A new blog series by the National League of Cities will explain what financial inclusion is and provide examples and action steps to help city leaders start or strengthen financial inclusion efforts. Financial inclusion programs expand access to financial services by empowering low-income residents to take advantage of available benefits and tax credits, manage money more effectively, and build assets to increase their financial stability.      

California Photographers Focus on Life After Foster Care in New Book
Of the 4,000 young adults aging out of the foster care system in California each year, within two to four years 25% will be homeless, more than half will be unemployed, and 20% will be in prison. A freelance photographer was motivated to spread awareness about their plight. His book follows the lives of eleven young people who have recently or are in the process of aging out of the foster care system in Southern California.  

Low-Income, Homeless Teens Use Art for Job-Readiness
When Youth Spirit Artworks was founded in 2007, it was envisioned as a place where homeless and near-homeless youth could come to create and sell art, learn job skills, and contribute to their neighborhoods through community revitalization art projects.  It has served hundreds of local young people ages 16 through 25; 90% are young people of color and approximately 40% are homeless.  Teens at YSA receive a small stipend for their work hours, ranging from $125 to $370 per month, depending on the individual’s time commitment. In addition, they can earn money from selling their art, which are priced at $25 to $160, depending on size. The artists receive half the sale income. The other half, about $7,000 in revenue last year, supports the program.   

Between the World and Me
The new book by Ta-Nehisi Coate entitled “Between the World and Me” has been deemed a “monumental work about being black in America that every American urgently needs to read”.  The book was originally slated for an October release, but was recently bumped up in the wake of last month’s terror attack in Charleston. It unfolds as a six-chapter letter from Coates to his 15 year-old son Samori, prompted by his son’s stunned and heartbroken reaction to last November’s announcement that no charges would be brought against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.  

Growing Together, Learning Together
The report published by the Wallace Foundation is a digest of the latest thinking on how to build and sustain an afterschool system as well as the challenges that lie ahead. It focuses on the four components of system building that the most current evidence and experience suggest are essential: strong leadership from major players; coordination that fits the local context; effective use of data, and a comprehensive approach to quality.  

Setting Standards for Out-of-School Time
Pushed by statewide after-school networks and some funders, the creation of standards is part of a broad movement toward making the quality of after-school programs consistently high. The Wallace Foundation has supported 14 cities in developing citywide after-school systems, starting in 2003 with Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington and Providence, R.I. In 2012, Wallace provided grants to nine more: Jacksonville; Baltimore; Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia; St. Paul, Minn.; Grand Rapids, Mich., and Louisville, Ky. “All nine have now adopted citywide quality standards, and eight are assessing program quality using a common citywide assessment tool,” said Priscilla Little, initiative manager for learning and enrichment at The Wallace Foundation.  

How to Build Safe Spaces: Define, Then Deliver
The Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality has been assessing how after-school providers across the country define and create safe spaces. Three overarching characteristics of safe spaces have been identified: cultivation of ground rules for group processes; cultivation of a culture in which people actively care for each other; and promotion of equity and inclusion, and demonstration of support for the principles that all youth are different, equal and important.

       

Behavioral Health Equity Barometer
The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a one year snapshot of the state of behavioral health of youth and adults by demographics and insurance status. Behavioral health issues include the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders. While gaps in treatment exist for the population as a whole, the Barometer identifies gaps that exist by health insurance status and for specific ethnic and racial populations. While the differences are not statistically significant (which means the rates are technically the same) among adolescents aged 12 to 17 experiencing a major depressive episode, 41.6% of white adolescents received treatment for depression in the past year prior to being surveyed, while only 36.9% of Hispanic or Latino adolescents, and 28.6% of black adolescents received treatment.  

Children and Complementary Health Approaches
According to a 2012 survey, nearly 12% of children in the U.S. have used or been given a complementary health product or practice, the ten most common being natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins or minerals); chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation; Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong (a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training); deep breathing; homeopathy; meditation; special diets; massage; guided imagery, and movement therapies. Fact sheets published by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of NIH provide information for parents who may be thinking about or are already using a complementary health approach for their child.

Investigating How to Help Urban Minority Teen ‘Co-Parent’
Researchers wanted to see if Family Foundations (an evidence-based program designed to help adult parents of young children “co-parent”) could be tailored for low-income, urban minority teen mothers and the fathers of their babies. Co-parenting is “the way parents work together to care for their children, and it is separate from parents’ romantic, legal, or financial relationships”. Among the conclusions were 1) building on fathers’ existing relationships with the mothers of their children and with male case managers was the most effective way to recruit young dads and get them to enroll, and 2) text massaging was the most effective way to communicate with teen fathers.  

Smokefree Housing Could Save Millions
A study published in Public Health Reports concluded that making all U.S. public housing smoke free could result in societal savings of between $183 million and $267 million.  

U.S. 8th and 10th Grade Students More Than Twice as Likely to Report Using E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Cigarettes in 2014
More than twice the percentage of 8th and 10th graders reported past month use of e-cigarettes compared to use of tobacco cigarettes (9% vs 4% and 16% vs. 7%, respectively).  

Q&A: How to Help Homeless Youth Quit Smoking
A senior behavioral scientist and professor who has been researching youth smoking for over a decade has found that many young people would like to quit and many youth workers would like to help them do so. Despite this interest, no one has created smoking cessation program specifically for homeless youth.      

Texas Drownings Highlight Calls for Swim Instruction
Eight children have drowned this summer in Dallas County, Texas (which encompasses the city of Dallas) – more than its 2013 and 2014 annual total combined. Three of those who drowned were siblings. An informal poll of the nearly 35,000 students in the district, the majority of whom are nonwhite and economically disadvantaged, taken during the 2011-12 school year found less than 25% had taken swimming lessons or were comfortable in deep water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, African-American children ages 5 to 14 drown at nearly three times the rate of their white peers.

HBO Examines Consequences of ‘Trophy Culture’ in Youth Sports
HBO’s Real Sports featured a segment on the potential ramifications of the “trophy culture” in youth sports -- awarding trophies to all participants, rather than a limited few. A psychology professor at San Diego State University fears handing all children a trophy will cause them not to ‘be engaged in the process of improving” as they will already feel like “a winner”. If the child struggles later in life – either athletically or in the classroom – they may believe the blames lies elsewhere. The full episode is only available to HBO subscribers, but an abbreviated version is available.  

Houston Texans Star Warns Youth-Athletes About Social-Media Presence 
Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year advised student-athletes to “read each tweet about 95 times before sending it. Look at every Instagram post about 95 times before you send it. A reputation takes years and years to build, and it takes one press of a button to ruin”.      

Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours
A new video from the Children, Youth & Family Consortium at the University of Minnesota conveys the importance of addressing the challenge of improving children’s mental health through a public health framework.  

SAMHSA Releases Report on Underage Drinking
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new report showing a significant decline in underage alcohol consumption among youth aged 12 to 20 between 2002 and 2013. The report indicates a drop in underage binge drinking, but finds alcohol to still be the most widely used substance among America’s youth.      

Past Month Alcohol Use Among U.S. 8th, 10th, and 12th Graders Continues to Decline; Approaching Levels of Marijuana Use
The percentage of 12th graders reporting past month alcohol use decreased from highs above 70% in the late 1970s to 37% in 2014, the lowest rate since data collection began in 1975. Use among 8th and 10thgraders has also declined. While alcohol continues to be the substance most frequently reported by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, the recent declines have narrowed the gap between the percentage reporting alcohol and marijuana use.  

Music & Arts Therapists Help Youth Find Their Voice, Break Free from Addiction
A study by an Arizona State University researcher indicates that a therapist might use group drumming in substance abuse counseling to "activate and reinforce the recovery process," and emphasized that it is particularly useful for youth when group dynamics have been disturbed because of conflict or relapse. His research found that drumming circles have proven to be an important complementary tool in addiction therapy by reducing alienation and are effective in improving a sense of connectedness to the self and others, especially for individuals with repeated relapses.  

Insurance Coverage for Substance Abuse Improving But Still Limited
Davis Owen, 20, died of a heroin overdose on March 4, 2014. Six weeks earlier, he had finished 21 days in an inpatient treatment facility, and he was enrolled at the time of his death in a nine-hour-per-week outpatient program. His mother, Missy Owen, said the family had “very good insurance” with Aetna from her husband Michael’s job with autotrader.com in Atlanta (she worked as a guidance counselor with the Cobb County School System). But Owen’s coverage limited inpatient treatment for substance abuse to 30 days per year, “meaning that if in 30 days you’re not better, you can try again next year.”   

Percentage of National Treatment Admissions for Heroin at Highest Level
After six years of stability, heroin admissions increased from 14% in 2010 to 16% in 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available).

Juvenile Justice
Childhood Trauma and Its Effect: Implications for Police
A bulletin released by the National Institute of Justice summarizes the effects of ongoing trauma on young children, how these effects impair adolescent and young adult development and functioning, and the possible implications for policing. Children from poor communities of color are particularly at risk due to their additional exposure to street violence.   

Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States
The book examines commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States under age 18. It found efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to these crimes require better collaborative approaches that build upon the capabilities of people and entities from a range of sectors. In addition, such efforts need to confront demand and the individuals who commit and benefit from these crimes.   

Fiscal Years 2013-2014 Status Report for the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States
OJJDP is among the Office of Justice Programs’ agencies working with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to ensure that victims of human trafficking in the United States have access to quality services. The strategic plan defines four goals, eight objectives, and more than 250 associated action items for victim service improvements.   

Prosecution, Transfer, and Registration of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders
The Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) has released “Prosecution, Transfer, and Registration of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders” – a  report that examines the systems of charging, adjudication, disposition, transfer, and/or sentencing that might apply to a serious juvenile sex offender. 

Why Youth Join Gangs
A video by the National Gang Center, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice, features gang researchers, practitioners, and young people who were previously involved in gangs discussing research regarding gang joining and provide insights into what might be observed when interacting with youth who are at high risk of joining a gang.  

Parents’ Guide to Gangs
The National Gang Center has updated a guide that provides parents with answers to common questions about gangs to enable them to recognize and prevent their child’s involvement in a gang.  

Police Official Says Game Helps Officers Make Inroads Among Youth
“Juvenile Justice Jeopardy” is an interactive game created on a customized basis by Massachusetts-based nonprofit Strategies for Youth that teaches young people about the law and how to interact with police. Assistant Police Chief James Waters of the Indianapolis Department approached local business leaders about providing financial support and received $15,000 to purchase ten licenses to use the game. A local mall and restaurants provided food and gift cards as incentives for young people to participate. Now every police district in Indianapolis offers the game on a weekly basis.  

Alternatives to Arrest for Young People
A strong body of evidence shows that young people accused of crimes, particularly low-level offenses, achieve better outcomes when their development is supported in the community instead of juvenile court interventions such as detention and long-term placements away from home. A new issue brief by the National League of Cities provides examples of how law enforcement agencies can divert youth accused of minor offenses from arrest.

Workshops & Webinars

Every Kid in a Park (August 10, August 12, and August 14; 3 – 4 p.m.)
President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative was announced in early 2015 to provide all 4th grade students and their families with free admission to federal lands and waters for a year. A webinar will be held August 10, August 12, and August 14 to share information about the program structure and ways to participate.