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New York City schools agree to bullying reforms in wake of lawsuit

Chalk Beat – Christina Veiga

“A legal settlement calling on the education department to do more to address bullying in schools was approved this week by a judge, despite objections from advocates. The settlement was announced in March, but the Legal Aid Society challenged the agreement. Lawyers for the public interest firm argued that the settlement called on the education department to implement reforms that were already required by law or under the city’s own rules, and that the agreement did not address “the underlying causes of bullying, including trauma and mental health issues.”” (more)

Many Recommend Teaching Mental Health In Schools. Now Two States Will Require It

The Huffington Post – Christine Vestal

“Amid sharply rising rates of teen suicide and adolescent mental illness, two states have enacted laws that for the first time require public schools to include mental health education in their basic curriculum. Most states require health education in all public schools, and state laws have been enacted in many states to require health teachers to include lessons on tobacco, drugs and alcohol, cancer detection and safe sex. Two states are going further: New York’s new law adds mental health instruction to the list in kindergarten through 12th grade; Virginia requires it in ninth and 10th grades.” (more)

Commentary: 40 Percent of NYC Kindergarten Kids Go to a School Their Parents Chose. More Families Need That Option

The 74 Million – Darla M. Romfo

“A new report from The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School finds that 40 percent of city kindergarten students attend a school other than the one to which they are geographically assigned — up from 28 percent a decade ago. A growing number of parents are taking their children’s education into their own hands, and that is good news. We should embrace and encourage more and better choices in education so even more families are empowered to find the schools that work best for their children.” (more)

Heeding the voice of school experience

District Administration – Elyse Doti Cohen and Matthew Pearson

“Principal retention is a national issue. According to The School Leaders Network, “25,000 principals (one-quarter of all principals) leave their schools each year, leaving millions of children’s lives adversely affected. Fifty percent of new principals quit during their third year in the role.” In New York City, the nation’s largest school system, addressing principal turnover across more than 1,800 schools is critical to student achievement. In 2014, the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Leadership created the New Principal Support (NPS) program to reduce turnover and help experienced principals grow.” (more)

As districts across the country try to drive down absenteeism, New York City leads the way

Chalk Beat – Alex Zimmerman

“In recent years, New York City’s education department has been paying more attention to chronic absenteeism, which is linked to lower test scores, higher dropout rates, and even a greater risk of entering the criminal justice system. Beyond being a serious risk factor for students, officials see chronic absenteeism as a barometer of a school’s ability to create a safe, stimulating space that entices students to attend. New York City isn’t alone: Roughly three-quarters of states — including New York — plan to include the measure as one of the ways they evaluate schools under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.”(more)

Afterschool Program Environments Linked to Academic Confidence and Skills

NYU – Staff Writer

“Young people growing up in urban, low-income communities spend significant time in publicly funded afterschool programs. Unlike schools, which grow increasingly segregated and involve more individual instruction as children grow older, afterschool programs are spaces where instructors, often similar to the students in age and background, can facilitate diverse, productive interactions that help youth reach social and academic goals. “Because of their unique position at the juncture of school, neighborhood, and home, afterschool programs may be particularly important for youth on a path toward school disengagement or risky behaviors,” said study author Elise Cappella, associate professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt and director of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change.”(more)