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Schedule of Services for the Christmas Holiday Week -- Updated 12/22/2014 12:38:16 PM

All City of Alexandria government offices will be closed on Wednesday, December 24; Thursday, December 25; and Friday, December 26, in observance of the Christmas holidays. Residential refuse and recycling will be collected on Wednesday, December 24. There is no collection scheduled on Thursday, December 25; and Thursday’s collection will take place on Friday, December 26.

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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 December 12 Edition: 

Events
George Washington PTA Book Fair (December 12)
Titan Takeover (December 12)
Annual Holiday Cheerleading Invitational (December 13)
Patrick Henry Community Meeting (December 17)
Ready by 21 National Meeting (March 31 – April 2)

Careers/Volunteerism 
Kuckein Student Research Fellowship
Student Science and Engineering Research Grants
Professional Development Fellowships for Teachers
The Tech Awards
Fellowships for Social Entrepreneurs
Fellowship for Native Hawaiian Artists
Research Grant for Early Career Psychologists
Bronfman Prize for Young Jewish Humanitarians
Fellowship for Jewish Scholars
Roth Award for Domestic Violence Programs
Gardner Leadership Award
Hillman Prize

Grantsmanship
DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities
 

Research & Resources 
Attorney General and Secretary of Education Hold Roundtable at Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center School
Focus on Middle Grades Seen as Pivotal to High School and College Readiness
Nationwide Grade-Retention Rates Have Dropped, New Study Finds
Spending Bill Would Fund Preschool Grants, But Not Race to Top
Inspired Learning: Commentaries on Arts Education
Will Ohio’s Change Hurt Art Education?
After-school Programs Jump into Hour of Coding
Time to Give the Quarterbacks of OST a Fat Raise
The Need to Address Noncognitive Skills in the Education Policy Agenda
The New Kid on the Block
Two Years After Shootings, Newtown Works to Heal as Nation Looks for Lessons
Department of Education Walks Delicate Line on Single-Sex Classrooms
The Science of Equality
Tackling Complex Social Problems through Collective Impact
‘Mystery Parents’ Test Charters’ Enrollment of Special Education, ELL Students
New Center Aims to Better Aid States on Special Education
From Broken Homes to a Broken System
White House Report Says That Native American Education Is In ‘State of Emergency’
Reform Group Report Calls Education Failure in Buffalo “Breathtaking”
Millions of Student Records Sold in Bankruptcy Case
‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’ Has Disparate Impact in North County
How Much Does Length and Frequency of Youth Homelessness Affect Young People’s Mental Health?
An Arizona Partnership Gives Young People ‘In-House’ Legal Counsel
Nine-Year-Old’s Arrest Prompts Call for Change by Federal Judge
Child Protection in Turmoil Across the Country
CEOs Concerned About Skill Shortages
Fusing Career, Academic Skills Benefits Students, Study Finds
Get Proactive: Write Policy to Make Your Nonprofit More Inclusive
Building the Right Board

Workshops & Webinars 
From Discipline to Dialogue: Engaging Student Voice (December 16)
Changing Adolescent Healthy Living Behavior Through Mentoring (January 14, 2015)

Events

George Washington PTA Book Fair (December 12)
The George Washington Middle School PTA will host a book fair from 4 – 9 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Potomac Yard (3651 Jefferson Davis Highway). A portion of the sales that day (and until December 16 for online purchases) will benefit the George Washington PTA and its programs. Mention the book fair and its voucher number 11346442 at checkout. George Washington students and parents will be on hand to gift-wrap holiday purchases. The George Washington Choir and Orchestra will perform at 5 p.m. The German Department will read a Grimm’s fairy tale and sing a song. The French Department will read “Madeline at Christmas”, and the Spanish Department will tell the “Tale of the Poinsettia”.  

Titan Takeover (December 12)
The Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) is partnering with the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria to host “Titan Takeover”, a free fun night where youth will play games, eat, dance and enjoy themselves. The event will take place from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Durant Center (1605 Cameron Street). 

Annual Holiday Cheerleading Invitational (December 13)
The annual competition that features youth cheerleading teams from neighborhood recreation centers and the metropolitan area is scheduled for 11 a.m. at T. C. Williams High School (3330 King Street). Tickets will be available for purchase at the door the day of the event. Ticket prices are $10 for ages 13 and older, and $5 for ages 5-12; ages 4 and younger are free. For information about the competition, additional recreational programs and activities, or to volunteer as a coach, call Recreation Services at 703.746.5402.  

Patrick Henry Community Meeting (December 17)
ACPS will hold a community meeting regarding the new Patrick Henry Elementary School Project at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria. Attendees will receive a project update from Sorg Architects, hear feedback from teachers on their vision for instructional spaces and participate in a discussion about how children and community members will arrive at the new building, enter, and use the public spaces.

Ready by 21 National Meeting (March 31 – April 2)
The fourth annual Ready by 21 National Meeting will be held in New Orleans. Early bird registration ends January 30, 2015. Online registration is available.

Careers/Volunteerism 

Kuckein Student Research Fellowship
The Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society will award grants of up to $6,000 for clinical investigation, basic laboratory research, epidemiology, social science/health services research, leadership, and professionalism studies. First, second and third-year medical students from schools with active Alpha Omega Alpha chapters or associations are eligible to apply. The deadline applications is December 31.  

Student Science and Engineering Research Grants
The Grants-in-Aid of Research program of Sigma Xi (a society of research scientists and engineers) awards grants of up to $1,000 to students from all areas of the sciences and engineering. Designated funds from the National Academy of Science allow for grants of up to $5,000 for astronomy research and $2,500 for vision-related research. Students from any country are eligible to receive funding. Applications must be received by March 15, 2015.  

Professional Development Fellowships for Teachers
The Fund for Teachers awards fellowships to pre-K-12 classroom teachers to facilitate participation in training and enriching activities that will improve their skills as teachers. Teachers must have a minimum of three years of experience and be full-time teachers spending at least 50% of their time in the classroom. Eligible teachers may apply as individuals (funding limit of $5,000) or as a team (funding limit of $10,000). The deadline for applications is January 29, 2015. 

The Tech Awards
The international awards program honors ten innovators (individuals, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies) annually from around the world who are applying technology to significantly improve human conditions in the categories of environment, education, health, and economic development. There is also a category for young innovators. Two laureates are chosen in each category. At the annual gala, all laureates are awarded cash prizes of $25,000. An additional $50,000 is awarded to one laureate in each of the categories. Eligibility forms are due April 7, 2015; full applications are due April 28.

Fellowships for Social Entrepreneurs
Three distinct fellowships are offered by Echoing Green. The Global Fellowship supports young leaders worldwide who are deeply connected to the needs and potential solutions that may work best for their communities. The Black Male Achievement Fellowship invests in emerging leaders dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the United States. The Climate Fellowship supports the best next-generation social entrepreneurs committed to working on innovations in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Fellowships are provided to individuals (at least 18 years of age) or partnerships (organizations led by two people). Fellows receive stipends ranging from $70,000 to $90,000 and technical support to turn their innovative ideas into sustainable social change organizations. Applications must be submitted by January 5, 2015.

Fellowship for Native Hawaiian Artists
Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to Native Hawaiian artists working in the fields of dance, music, traditional, or the visual arts. Applicant must be able to supply documentation of Native Hawaiian ancestry. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2015.  

Research Grant for Early Career Psychologists
The American Psychological Foundation will award one grant of $10,000 to an early career psychologist in support of research in the area of early intervention and treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children. Priority will be given to a project that has the potential to provide a model for broad-based applications across the country. The grant is meant to encourage early career psychologists to devote their careers to methods of intervention and treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children. Applicants must be a psychologist with an Ed. D, Psy. D., or Ph. D from an accredited university and be no more than seven years postdoctoral. The application deadline is May 15, 2015.

Bronfman Prize for Young Jewish Humanitarians
The Charles Bronfman Prize annually recognizes Jewish humanitarians whose work, while inspired by personal Jewish values, is of universal benefit to all people. The award honors next-generation leaders who have a vision for change that will better the world in a meaningful way, and who have created a mechanism for acting on that vision in ways that deliver measurable results. Nominations must be submitted by January 15, 2015.

Fellowship for Jewish Scholars
The two-year fellowships support doctoral students in modern Jewish history and culture. The foundation is particularly interested in projects that would speak to a wider public beyond the academy. Each fellow will receive a total of $40,000 over two years and participate in one summer workshop annually. A total of six fellowships will be awarded for the 2015-17 cohort. Eligible scholars should be completing a doctoral dissertation on a topic related to modern Jewish history and culture. Fellowships are open to doctoral students and writers of all religions and nationalities. The deadline for applications is January 15, 2015.

Roth Award for Domestic Violence Programs
The Roth Award was created to reward and spotlight domestic violence programs that address the needs of underserved populations. Eligible programs provide services to populations (including those based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, faith, disabilities, low socioeconomic status, sexual preference, and victims from economically comfortable suburban areas) that traditionally do not know how to avail themselves of services or who are too ashamed to find them. To be eligible for the award, a program’s primary focus must address the issue of intimate partner violence. Applications must be submitted by January 31, 2015. 

Gardner Leadership Award
The award honors a living American whose leadership in or related to the nonprofit community has been transformative, and who has mobilized and unified people, institutions, or causes that improve people’s lives. Award recipients are individuals whose leadership has had national or international impact or, if at the regional level, attracted wide recognition and imitation. Nominations will be accepted until January 30, 2015.

Hillman Prize
The annual program honors investigative journalism and commentary in the public interest. Winners exemplify sound news judgment, resourcefulness and courage in reporting, skilled storytelling, and social impact. The 2015 prizes will be awarded for work produced, published, broadcast, or exhibited in 2014. The contest is open to journalists and subjects worldwide, although work must have been published in the United States.

Grantsmanship

DCHS Office of Youth Services Listing of Grant Opportunities
The DCHS Office of Youth Services compiled a listing of grant opportunities on December 1.

Research & Resources

Attorney General and Secretary of Education Hold Roundtable at Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center School
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a roundtable with students at the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center School as part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. They announced a Correctional Education Guidance Package aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of the education services provided to America’s estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day. Attorney General Holder told the students President Obama felt that he had several second, third and fourth chances growing up in Hawaii, but that it had been a forgiving place and he had been allowed to learn from his mistakes. He told the students that the President made bad choices and had grown up angry, but that education had helped turn him around.  

Focus on Middle Grades Seen As Pivotal to High School and College Readiness
The Middle Grade Success Challenge is an initiative of the United Way that encouraged school-community partnerships to use data to build early-warning systems, design interventions to help kids falling off track, offer mentoring programs, and increase awareness to help improve the outcomes of students ages 10-15. Thirteen cities participated and many involved gathered in Alexandria to discuss outcomes and plans to share their experience more broadly. The middle grades challenge was part of the United Way’s larger goal to, by 2018, cut in half the number of students who drop out of school and improve the number of students who graduate from high school ready for college and career.

Nationwide Grade-Retention Rates Have Dropped, New Study Finds
A study on grade retention published in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, found the practice of requiring students who do not make sufficient academic progress repeat a grade in school has steadily declined from 2005 to 2010. Researchers tracked nationwide retention trends in 1st through 9th grades, from 1995 through 2010. The retention rate fell for all groups of students, and decreases were strongest in groups that used to have the highest retention rates, including boys and minority students.  

Spending Bill Would Fund Preschool Grants, But Not Race to Top
Congress has unveiled a spending bill that would fund most of the government, including the U.S. Department of Education and federally funded education programs, through September 2015. The bill would hold education funding largely steady, but would include some increases for early childhood programs. The Obama administration would receive $250 million to dole out to states for a second year of the Preschool Development Grant program. The bill would also provide $2.4 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant program, a $75 million increase to help support a recent update of the program (which bolsters health and safety standards for child care programs).

Inspired Learning: Commentaries on Arts Education
Educators and advocates discuss the role of the arts in K-12 learning in a special feature by Education Week, which includes a video that explores how an artists-in-residence program is building school community.  

Will Ohio’s Change Hurt Art Education?
The Ohio State Board of Education is slated to debate and vote on a change to a rule that governs how many music teachers, art teachers, school nurses and other similar support staff a district must employ. Currently, districts are required to employ five people for every 1,.000 students from one of eight areas: counselor, library media specialist, school nurse, visiting teacher, social worker and elementary art, music and physical education. Opponents of the change believe eliminating the baseline number of specialized positions a district must hire will only lead to diminished opportunities for students, especially at financially strapped schools.  

Afterschool Programs Jump into Hour of Coding
Hour of Code is a worldwide project to introduce more kids to coding. The majority of events are taking place in schools, but some afterschool programs are jumping on the bandwagon. Hour of Code is the brainchild of the nonprofit Code.org, which urges schools and other organizations to offer the free coding tutorials December 8 – 14. The tutorials are available on the Code.org website.  

Time to Give the Quarterbacks of OST a Fat Raise
According to the leader of the California Department of Education’s After School Division, the Out-of-School Time (OST) field must embrace and integrate site coordinators (front-line OST professionals who lead, organize and implement OST plans on the ground) into the leadership structure in more profound and real ways than they are currently being included.  

The Need to Address Noncognitive Skills in the Education Policy Agenda
Critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, social skills, persistence, creativity, and self-control are often called noncognitive skills. Because noncognitive skills matter greatly and can be nurtured in schools, developing them should be an explicit goal of public education.

The New Kid on the Block
Wings for Kids is a Charleston, S.C. afterschool program that has since expanded into Georgia and North Carolina and serves more than 1,200 elementary school students. It focuses on social and emotional skills such as recognizing and managing one’s emotions, empathizing with others, and developing healthy relationships.  

Two Years After Shootings, Newtown Works to Heal as Nation Looks for Lessons
The deadliest K-12 school shooting in U.S. history occurred two years ago and no event has come close to matching its influence in discussions of school safety and student well-being in the time since. A state review of the mental health and educational history of shooter Adam Lanza released in November showed layers of missed opportunities to intervene and address his psychological and emotional problems.  

Department of Education Walks Delicate Line on Single-Sex Classrooms
The U.S. Department of Education released guidelines on single-sex public education and it does not fully address the science of whether the brains of boys and girls work differently. Quoting the guidelines, “evidence of general biological differences is not sufficient to allow teachers to select different teaching methods or strategies for boys and girls”. It stops short of either condemning or praising single-sex classrooms.  

The Science of Equality
The vast majority of Americans believe racism is wrong, yet the evidence showing that race often determines how people are treated is overwhelming. Produced by the Perception Institute, a consortium of social scientists engaged in the mind sciences, “The Science of Equality” details how unconscious phenomena such as implicit bias, racial anxiety, and stereotype threat impart education and health care systems. The report also offers empirical, research driven solutions to overcome their effects.  

Tackling Complex Social Problems through Collective Impact
What is collective impact? How is it different from other forms of collaboration? The Collective Impact Forum created a short motion graphic that in just two minutes explains how collective impact works and why it is an effective approach for social change.

‘Mystery Parents’ Test Charters’ Enrollment of Special Education, ELL Students
Modeled after “mystery” of “secret shopper” services used in retail, authorizers in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts are using a similar tactic to make sure the charter schools they oversee are not turning away students with more specialized needs, such as children with disabilities or who are still learning English.  

New Center Aims to Better Aid States on Special Education
States seeking help on special education issues – including the management of federal funds, ways to reduce the over identification of minority students with disabilities, and understanding the latest mandates from Washington – could rely on one of six regional resource centers. In 2015 that system will be replaced by the Center for Systematic Improvement, which at $8.7 million over five years is the recipient of the largest single technical-assistance investment ever made by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Instead of being linked by geography when it comes to getting technical assistance, they will be connected by shared concerns.  

From Broken Homes to a Broken System
In the federal system, there is no juvenile division and no court judges, rehabilitation facilities or probation system for juveniles. From 1999 through 2008, as many as 60% of juveniles in federal custody were American Indians, according to a commission that last year recommended that tribes be given full jurisdiction over Indian children and be released from “dysfunctional federal and state controls”.  

White House Report Says That Native American Education Is In ‘State of Emergency’
President Obama announced an initiative to increase opportunities for Native American youth. Accompanying the announcement was a report outlining the current state of education for Native American students that declared “Native youth – and Native education – are in a state of emergency”.  

Reform Group Report Calls Education Failure in Buffalo “Breathtaking”
The education reform group, Families of Excellent Schools, released a report that looks at the “broken schools” in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers. Using state data, the group’s report lists 42 public schools in Buffalo (61%) as “severely failing schools” in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers and other districts outside of New York City. Among the findings were that at 61% of the schools in Buffalo, no more than 1 in 10 students is academically proficient or college ready.  

Millions of Student Records Sold in Bankruptcy Case
Founded in 2002, ConnectEDU has amassed millions of records from school districts as well as individual students and their parents. Depending on what district or individual specified, a record could include a student’s test scores, grade point average, learning disability, email and home address, phone number, and date of birth, among other information. What would happen to the data the company had amassed in its college and career-ready technology platform for students from middle school through college? Who would own the records? How would they be secured? Ultimately, the sale of ConnectEDU occurred without the company abiding strictly to its privacy policy, creating a cautionary tale for school districts, and a complex challenge for the ed-tech industry.  

‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’ Has Disparate Impact in North County
According to a national study performed by the Civil Rights project at UCLA from 2009 – 2010, there was an 18.4% gap between the proportions of black students suspended relative to white students. Missouri ranked as the second worst state – No. 2 out of 47 states – with disproportionate suspension rates. Missouri also ranked in the top 10 states in the country during that same period of time for percentage of students suspended who are African-American and with disabilities.  

How Much Does Length and Frequency of Youth Homelessness Affect Young People’s Mental Health?
Researchers wanted to know whether mental health disorders, substance abuse, and high risk behaviors were related to how soon, how long, and how often young people were homeless. Sixty-one homeless youth ages 18 to 21 (most of whom were African-American) were recruited from two shelters in Chicago. Researchers found the younger a person was when he or she first became homeless, the more often they would experience homelessness and for longer periods of time. Being homeless for a longer time also correlated with the number of mental health diagnoses a young person received.  

An Arizona Partnership Gives Young People ‘In-House’ Legal Counsel
Project ALWAYS (Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services) occupies free space at the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development. In return, the project’s lawyers provide free legal counsel to youth at Tumbleweed and clients from other Phoenix-area nonprofits who are victims of homelessness, sex trafficking, and abuse. Legal issues young people get help with include expunging criminal records, settling landlord-tenant disputes, formalizing child support and custody, resolving immigration status issues, getting orders of protection from abusive partners, and accessing federal benefits.  

Nine-Year-Old’s Arrest Prompts Call for Change by Federal Judge
Quoting Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, “It is time for a change in our jurisprudence that would deal with petty crimes by minors in a more enlightened fashion. The criminal punishment of young schoolchildren leaves permanent scars and unresolved anger, and its far-reaching impact on the abilities of these children to lead future prosperous and productive lives should be a matter of grave concern for us all.” His comments were in response to a lawsuit filed by the grandparents of a 9-year-old boy whose collarbone was broken as a police officer restrained him at an elementary school in a suburb of Salt Lake City. The 9-year-old had stolen an iPad from school, and the principal caught him with it.  

Child Protection in Turmoil Across the Country
Since 2012, directors of at least 16 state and county child protection agencies have resigned or been fired. Nine states have passed sweeping reforms designed to protect more children. Those actions often followed public outrage over the deaths of children previously known to child protection agencies. New York, Florida and Arizona overhauled their child protection systems this year, and Minnesota is now poised to follow their lead. Nationwide, states have passed reforms or seen key leaders resign amid scandal, only to have children continue to die from repeated abuse and neglect. According to federal data analyzed by Cornell University, 1,046 children have died since 2008 despite agencies knowing that the child was at risk or the caretaker was dangerous.  

CEOs Concerned About Skill Shortages
According to a new survey of 126 Chief Executive Officers, about 60% of job openings require basic science, technology, engineering, and math literacy, and 42% require advanced STEM skills. The survey looks at CEO’s perceptions of workers’ skills. It indicates that 46% of respondents said “skill shortages” are “somewhat problematic,” and 52% said they are “problematic” or “very problematic.” The “skills gap” cited in the survey referred to a gap between the skills that employers are looking for and those that job seekers possess (and was not STEM specific.  

Fusing Career, Academic Skills Benefits Students, Study Finds
Linked Learning is a California initiative that blends rigorous academics with career preparation. A study by SRI International found the initiative helps students earn more credits in high school and have greater confidence in their career and life skills than their peers in regular programs. In addition, students in the program are also more likely to stay enrolled in their districts through high school, and more likely to experience their instruction as rigorous and connected to the world outside school.  

Get Proactive: Write Policy to Make Your Nonprofit More Inclusive
Sometimes a gap exists between the organization and the people it serves. The CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits wrote: “Unfortunately, we know many organizations that serve low-income communities of color with no board members of color, no members who have ever been poor, and no members who personally know anyone who is poor”. One goal of creating a diversity and inclusion policy is to make sure the nonprofit is not “us” serving “them”.  

Building the Right Board
Boards are required by law for nonprofits and the choice of board size and members’ qualifications and composition has a lasting effect on any organization. Most nonprofit management experts agree it is important to look at the organization’s goals and plans for the future before looking at potential board members. According to the CEO of an Atlanta nonprofit that serves more than 9,000 young people with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges: “The board is your most important part of your organization. The success of everything you do will depend on the success of the board”.  

Workshops & Webinars

From Discipline to Dialogue: Engaging Student Voice (December 16, 1 – 2:15 PM)
The webinar sponsored by the American Youth Policy Forum will feature Dr. Anne Gregory, Associate Professor at Rutgers University who will discuss research on teacher-student relationships in the context of discipline, and Vickie Shoap, Restorative Justice Specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools.

Changing Adolescent Healthy Living Behavior Through Mentoring (January 14, 2015)
The focus of the webinar is a research field study that brought seventh-grade youth and health science college students together in a ten-week afterschool mentoring program.

 

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