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Kids in Crisis: Putting therapists in schools helps children with mental health needs

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Rory Linnane and Annysa Johnson

“At this time last year, Monica Pendleton felt like her 5-year-old son was in a constant temper tantrum. She’d get calls from his school: He was screaming or kicking tables and chairs, or both. Teachers were at a loss. Pendleton would have to leave work to pick him up. “The front office knows me and him personally,” Pendleton said.”(more)

Borsuk: Character counts — and these 6 schools prove it

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“I like character education for two simple reasons: One is that there are so many schools where the atmosphere created by the way people treat each other impedes education. This goes not only for how kids act but for how adults in the school sometimes treat kids — and other adults. (I’ve witnessed these things.) So much class time in so many schools is taken up with behavior problems. More broadly, a positive school culture leads to more positive outcomes. The other is that I am convinced the well-designed efforts around character and conduct can make differences. It is possible to create a more positive atmosphere in a school. Intentional efforts around character education can be a part of that. South Milwaukee offers strong evidence of two of the most important traits of a successful character program: persistence and pervasiveness.”(more)

Borsuk: Mental health issues becoming pervasive for schools

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of precise numbers, but experts in the field say there has been an increase nationwide in mental health needs of kids. Possibly, a factor may be that we’re paying more attention and doing more about problems. The statement is frequently made that one in five school-age children have mental health issues that go beyond normal, and 80% do not get professional help. The state Department of Public Instruction recently cited estimates that 95,200 of Wisconsin’s 1.4 million children had “serious mental health needs.” That’s a 7% rate. As with other social issues, some people would ask why mental health problems are something a school needs to deal with. Isn’t this for parents and professionals?.”(more)

Borsuk: What does it really mean to ‘never, never give up on students?’

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“Two weeks ago in this column, I quoted Marc Tucker, who leads the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington-based nonprofit, saying that in a talk in Madison. On its face, it’s not controversial. Who’s in favor of giving up on kids? But what does it mean to give up or not give up? That’s a provocative matter, particularly in a city where the needle has moved so little in improving deeply distressing overall outcomes for students. (Let one fact represent the problem: Fewer than 20% of students in both Milwaukee Public Schools and the private school voucher program were rated as proficient or advanced in reading and math in tests given a year ago.) Some teachers took Tucker’s remarks as criticism of their own efforts.”(more)

Borsuk: Too many students unprepared for college

USA Today – Alan J. Borsuk

“About a dozen years ago, Willie Jude, a longtime Milwaukee Public Schools administrator who was principal of Custer High School at the time, told me that many Custer grads who went on to higher education (and there weren’t that many) realized quickly they were way behind many other students when it came to academic preparation. That’s because those other kids were learning the B and C parts of the book when you were learning the A part, Jude said he told them. In other words, a lot of freshmen hit college with a high school diploma that says they are more likely to succeed than students with other diplomas. The difference breaks strongly along lines of income and race.”(more)