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Don’t Call It ‘Guidance’ Anymore: A Talk With The Nation’s Top School Counselor

NPR – Elissa Nadworny

“Counselors play a big role in helping students succeed: They help with scheduling, college applications and with issues like mental health. Since 2015, first lady Michelle Obama has honored a school counselor of the year in a ceremony at the White House. Friday, the honor goes to Terri Tchorzynski of the Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek, Mich., where she works with 11th- and 12th-graders drawn from 20 public high schools in Calhoun County. Tchorzynski started her career as a high school English teacher, before getting her master’s degree in counseling — a role she says she “always knew she wanted.” NPR Ed caught up with Tchorzynski about her work in Michigan and the important role she sees counselors playing in schools.”(more)

The 6 education stories to watch in 2017

The Minnesota Post – Erin Hinrichs

“When it comes to education issues, the term “community engagement” gets tossed around a lot — and rightfully so. In order for local policy makers and educators to make greater strides toward closing the achievement gap they need to hear from those who are too often left out of these conversations. Parents, students and community members are best positioned to bring attention to inequities that exist within the current education system, whether it be disparities in disciplinary actions or in who is encouraged to enroll in dual-enrollment courses for college credit.”(more)

3 Ways Schools Can Be Supportive of Students’ Mental Health

KQED News Mind/Shift – Meg Anderson

“About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide. And yet, as we’ve been reporting this month, many schools aren’t prepared to work with these students. Often, there’s been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn’t enough money. When there are enough people to handle the job, how should all the different roles fit together? Many experts point to one model. It’s got a bureaucratic name — the “multi-tiered system of supports” — but when you picture it, just imagine an upside-down pyramid, or maybe a funnel.”(more)

Study Indicates Positive Teacher-Student Relationships Might Be More Effective Than Counseling, Anti-Bullying Programs

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“If there was any question about how important the role of a teacher in a child’s life is, a new study has substantiated this further with some new evidence. Members of the Violence Research Centre at Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology and colleagues from both ETH Zurich and the University of Toronto arrived at the conclusion that positive relationships with teachers for middle school aged students is likely to reduce aggressive behavior for four years through analysis of nearly a decade’s worth of data. The researchers analyzed “data from eight ‘waves’ of a major longitudinal study of culturally-diverse Swiss youth being schooled across Zurich. The latest study involved 1,067 students randomly sampled across 56 of the city’s schools,” said the University of Cambridge in a release.”(more)

America’s Guidance Counseling Crisis: A Potential Solution From Abroad

Education Week – Heather Singmaster

“…there are two things that the Swiss provide students that the U.S. does not: access to comprehensive, ongoing guidance/career counseling and a flexible, permeable education system that allows everyone—recent graduates through adults—to go back to school and learn new skills and change their career path at any time…Here in the U.S….chances are you do not have access to anything nearly this inclusive—and certainly have very few opportunities to do on-site career investigation. The national ratio of guidance counselor to student is 500 to 1…until we seriously attempt to fill the funding shortages and come up with a comprehensive system that helps students find the path that is right for them, guidance counseling in this country will remain a crisis.”(more)

Suspension Is Not the Answer: Investing in Students’ Mental Health Yields Academic Gains

The Huffington Post – Monica Gray

“Unfortunately, “support structures” and “second chances” are severely lacking for many in America today, particularly in minority and low-income communities. The United States has the most prisoners of any developed country in the world, both in terms of raw numbers and by percentage of the population. More citizens are behind bars in the US than in Russia, Mexico, Iran, India and China. Who makes up America’s prison population? Often inmates are adults who endured terrible violence and trauma as children, such as witnessing a parent’s murder. A study by The Sentencing Project found that juveniles who received sentences of life in prison reported witnessing violence in their homes 79% of the time, and more than half (54.1%) witnessed weekly violence in their neighborhoods. Children who are exposed to violence tend to suffer from a range of psychological issues, and often have “difficulties with attachment, regressive behavior, anxiety and depression and conduct problems.” Without mental health support services, few are able to cope with the emotional stress in a productive manner on their own. Confused, angry or scared, a student’s cries for help are commonly first expressed by acting out in school.”(more)