Tag Archives: Children and Families

University of Southern California study: Teen who receive sexts six times more likely to engage in sex

1 Jul

We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others. Common Sense Media has some great resources for parents about teaching children how to use media responsibly. Their information Talking About “Sexting” is excellent.

That picture’s not as private as you think
• 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves over the Internet or their phones.
• 22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive.
• 38% of teens say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely.
• 29% of teens believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.
• (All of the above are from CosmoGirl and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2009.)
Advice for Parents
• Don’t wait for an incident to happen to your child or your child’s friend before you talk about the consequences of sexting. Sure, talking about sex or dating with teens can be uncomfortable, but it’s better to have the talk before something happens.
• Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved — and they will lose control of it. Ask teens how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.
• Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
• Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. It’s better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they’re distributing pornography — and that’s against the law.
• Check out ThatsNotCool.com. It’s a fabulous site that gives kids the language and support to take texting and cell phone power back into their own hands. It’s also a great resource for parents who are uncomfortable dealing directly with this issue. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting?utm_source=newsletter02.17.11&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=feature1-text

Common Sense Media has other great resources. Parent must monitor their child’s use of technology.

Science Daily reported in the article, Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex:

A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630094751.htm

Citation:

Sexting and Sexual Behavior Among Middle School Students
1. Eric Rice, PhDa,
2. Jeremy Gibbs, MSWa,
3. Hailey Winetrobe, MPHa,
4. Harmony Rhoades, PhDa,
5. Aaron Plant, MPHb,
6. Jorge Montoya, PhDb, and
7. Timothy Kordic, MAc
+ Author Affiliations
1. aSchool of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California;
2. bSentient Research, Los Angeles, California; and
3. cLos Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, California
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: It is unknown if “sexting” (ie, sending/receiving sexually explicit cell phone text or picture messages) is associated with sexual activity and sexual risk behavior among early adolescents, as has been found for high school students. To date, no published data have examined these relationships exclusively among a probability sample of middle school students.
METHODS: A probability sample of 1285 students was collected alongside the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Los Angeles middle schools. Logistic regressions assessed the correlates of sexting behavior and associations between sexting and sexual activity and risk behavior (ie, unprotected sex).
RESULTS: Twenty percent of students with text-capable cell phone access reported receiving a sext and 5% reported sending a sext. Students who text at least 100 times per day were more likely to report both receiving (odds ratio [OR]: 2.4) and sending (OR: 4.5) sexts and to be sexually active (OR: 4.1). Students who sent sexts (OR: 3.2) and students who received sexts (OR: 7.0) were more likely to report sexual activity. Compared with not being sexually active, excessive texting and receiving sexts were associated with both unprotected sex (ORs: 4.7 and 12.1, respectively) and with condom use (ORs: 3.7 and 5.5, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Because early sexual debut is correlated with higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies, pediatricians should discuss sexting with young adolescents because this may facilitate conversations about sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention. Sexting and associated risks should be considered for inclusion in middle school sex education curricula.
Key Words:
• sexting
• sexual risk
• middle school
• adolescents
• cell phone
• Accepted April 17, 2014.
• Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
1. Published online June 30, 2014

(doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2991)
1. » AbstractFree
2. Full Text (PDF)Free http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/25/peds.2013-2991.full.pdf+html
Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex
Date: June 30, 2014
Source: University of Southern California
Summary:
A study provides new understanding of the relationship between ‘sexting’ and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to the ongoing conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were six times more likely to also report being sexually active.

Here is the press release from the University of Southern California:

Tweens and teens who receive sexts are 6 times more likely to report having had sex
Study shows that middle school students who send more than 100 texts a day are also more likely to be sexually active
Contact: Suzanne Wu at suzanne.wu@usc.edu or (213) 503-3410; Tanya Abrams at tanyaabr@usc.edu or (213) 740-6973
LOS ANGELES — EMBARGOED UNTIL Sunday, June 29, 9 p.m. PT/Monday, June 30, 12:01 a.m. ET — A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active.
While past research has examined sexting and sexual behavior among high school students and young adults, the researchers were particularly interested in young teens, as past data has shown clear links between early sexual debut and risky sexual behavior, including teenage pregnancy, sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol, experience of forced sex and higher risk of sexually transmitted disease.
“These findings call attention to the need to train health educators, pediatricians and parents on how best to communicate with young adolescents about sexting in relation to sexual behavior,” said lead author Eric Rice, assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work. “The sexting conversation should occur as soon as the child acquires a cell phone.”
The study anonymously sampled more than 1,300 middle school students in Los Angeles as part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Respondents ranged in age from 10-15, with an average age of 12.3 years. The researchers found that even when controlling for sexting behaviors, young teens who sent more than 100 texts a day were more likely to report being sexually active. Other key findings:
• Young teens who sent sexts were almost 4 times more likely to report being sexually active.
• Sending and receiving sexts went hand-in-hand: Those who reported receiving a sext were 23 times more likely to have also sent one.
• Students who identified as LGBTQ were 9 times more likely to have sent a sext.
• However, unlike past research on high school students, LGBTQ young adolescents were not more likely to be sexually active, the study showed.
• Youth who texted more than 100 times a day were more than twice as likely to have received a sext and almost 4.5 times more likely to report having sent a sext.
The researchers acknowledge that despite anonymity, the data is self-reported and thus subject to social desirability bias, as well as limitations for geographic area and the diverse demographics of Los Angeles. However, the dramatic correlation between students who sent sexts and reported sexual activity indicates the need for further research and summons attention to the relationship between technology use and sexual behavior among early adolescents, the researchers say.
“Our results show that excessive, unlimited or unmonitored texting seems to enable sexting,” Rice said. “Parents may wish to openly monitor their young teen’s cell phone, check in with them about who they are communicating with, and perhaps restrict their number of texts allowed per month.”
Overall, 20 percent of students with text-capable cell phones said they had ever received a sext, and 5 percent report sending a sext. The researchers defined “sext” in their survey as a sexually suggestive text or photo.
Jeremy Gibbs, Hailey Winetrobe and Harmony Rhoades of the USC School of Social Work were co-authors of the study. The data collection was supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (grant 5U87DP001201-04).
For the embargoed PDF of the study, contact the American Academy of Pediatrics at commun@app.org. To arrange an interview with a researcher, contact USC News at uscnews@usc.edu.

In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example? How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex? See, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America http://www.drugfree.org/10-tips-for-talking-to-teens-about-sex-drugs-alcohol/

So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache. http://drwilda.com/2012/06/07/talking-to-your-teen-about-risky-behaviors/

Resources:

Sexting Information: What every parent should know about sexting.

http://www.noslang.com/sexting.php

Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents: Sexting

http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/sexting/

Teen Sexting Tips

http://www.safeteens.com/teen-sexting-tips/

Related:

New study about ‘sexting’ and teens

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/new-study-about-sexting-and-teens/

Sexting’ during school hours

http://drwilda.com/2012/08/05/sexting-during-school-hours/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Pennsylvania study: Parents’ education affects child’s working memory

8 May

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement. http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd
Parent involvement is crucial to the success of children.

Daniel S. Dinsmoor, Ph. D. wrote the article, Why is Working Memory Important?

Working memory is usually classified as having two forms. The first is verbal working memory and the second is visual-spatial working memory. Verbal working memory involves being able to remember things that are said to us and the manipulation of language based cognitive material. Visual-spatial working memory is used to remember anything that is seen. So this could include sequences of events, visual patterns and images. Visual-spatial working memory is often involved in mathematical skills. Children vary in terms of the size of their working memory capacity. Research into working memory gives us factual information about how this cognitive process develops. We know for example, that working memory gradually increases through childhood into early adulthood. Generally speaking, a child at five years of age can hold one item in mind, a seven years old child can hold two items in mind, a 10 -year-old can hold three items, and a 14 year old can hold four items in mind. A child who has a working memory capacity that’s much greater than other children in his class, may find class boring and unmotivating. A child whose working memory capacity is much smaller relative to other members in the class may experience the academic work as being such a struggle that they no longer can continue to be motivated to do it.
Contrary to what one might expect, how many years in preschool a child has does not affect working memory. That is, starting preschool at an early age does not increase working memory capacity. Similarly, parent’s social economic level or their number of years of education does not correlate well with the working memory capacity of their child.
Without intervention, difficulties with working memory do not improve over time (we will discuss interventions that help later in this article). So if a child in the third grade is seen to have a significant problem with working memory, that child will also have a significant problem with working memory in high school.
Recent research indicates that working memory is even more important than IQ in terms of determining educational outcome. It is possible to understand in this context why there are some very bright children who are not succeeding in the classroom. There is a correlation between working memory and Attention Deficit Disorder. The correlation is not perfect, but there is a fairly substantial overlap between those two types of problems. It is interesting to see that some researchers in the study of ADD, inattentive type suggest that working memory challenges are an essential element in the disorder…. http://www.familycompassgroup.com/articles/attentionLearningChallenges/110428_workingMemory.php

MedicineNet.com defines working memory in the article, Definition of Working memory:

Working memory is a system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension. Working memory is involved in the selection, initiation, and termination of information-processing functions such as encoding, storing, and retrieving data.
One test of working memory is memory span, the number of items, usually words or numbers, that a person can hold onto and recall. In a typical test of memory span, an examiner reads a list of random numbers aloud at about the rate of one number per second. At the end of a sequence, the person being tested is asked to recall the items in order. The average memory span for normal adults is 7 items. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7143

The University of Pennsylvania researchers studied working memory in a longitudinal study. See, Penn and CHOP Researchers Track Working Memory From Childhood Through Adolescence http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-and-chop-researchers-track-working-memory-childhood-through-adolescence

Science Daily reported in the article, Working memory differs by parents’ education; effects persist into adolescence:

Working memory — the ability to hold information in your mind, think about it, and use it to guide behavior — develops through childhood and adolescence, and is key for successful performance at school and work. Previous research with young children has documented socioeconomic disparities in performance on tasks of working memory. Now a new longitudinal study has found that differences in working memory that exist at age 10 persist through the end of adolescence. The study also found that parents’ education — one common measure of socioeconomic status — is related to children’s performance on tasks of working memory, and that neighborhood characteristics — another common measure of socioeconomic status — are not. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, West Chester University, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, appears in the journal Child Development…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430083137.htm#

Citation:

Working memory differs by parents’ education; effects persist into adolescence

Date: April 30, 2014

Source: Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
A new longitudinal study has found that differences in working memory — the ability to hold information in your mind, think about it, and use it to guide behavior — that exist at age 10 persist through the end of adolescence. The study also found that parents’ education — one common measure of socioeconomic status — is related to children’s performance on tasks of working memory. The researchers studied more than 300 10- through 13-year-olds over four years.
Journal Reference:
1. Daniel A. Hackman, Laura M. Betancourt, Robert Gallop, Daniel Romer, Nancy L. Brodsky, Hallam Hurt, Martha J. Farah. Mapping the Trajectory of Socioeconomic Disparity in Working Memory: Parental and Neighborhood Factors. Child Development, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12242

Here is the press release from the Society for Research in Child Development:

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
30-Apr-2014
Contact: Hannah Klein
hklein@srcd.org
202-289-0320
Society for Research in Child Development
Working memory differs by parents’ education; effects persist into adolescence
Working memory—the ability to hold information in your mind, think about it, and use it to guide behavior—develops through childhood and adolescence, and is key for successful performance at school and work. Previous research with young children has documented socioeconomic disparities in performance on tasks of working memory. Now a new longitudinal study has found that differences in working memory that exist at age 10 persist through the end of adolescence. The study also found that parents’ education—one common measure of socioeconomic status—is related to children’s performance on tasks of working memory, and that neighborhood characteristics—another common measure of socioeconomic status—are not.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, West Chester University, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, appears in the journal Child Development.
“Understanding the development of disparities in working memory has implications for education,” according to Daniel A. Hackman, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Pittsburgh who led the study when he was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. “Persistent disparities are a potential source of differences in academic achievement as students age and as the demands of both school work and the social environment increase.
“Our findings highlight the potential value of programs that promote developing working memory early as a way to prevent disparities in achievement,” Hackman continues. “The fact that parents’ education predicts working memory suggests that parenting practices and home environments may be important for this aspect of cognitive development and as a fruitful area for intervention and prevention.”
To look at the rate of change in working memory in relation to different measures of socioeconomic status, the researchers studied more than three hundred 10- through 13-year-olds from urban public and parochial schools over four years. The sample of children was racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. Each child completed a number of tasks of working memory across the four-year period. The researchers gathered information on how many years of education the parents of each child had completed, as well as on neighborhood characteristics, looking—for example—at the degree to which people in a child’s neighborhood lived below the poverty line, were unemployed, or received public assistance.
Neither parents’ education nor living in a disadvantaged neighborhood was found to be associated with the rate of growth in working memory across the four-year period. Lower parental education was found to be tied to differences in working memory that emerged by age 10 and continued through adolescence. However, neighborhood characteristics were not related to working memory performance.
The study suggests that disparities seen in adolescence and adulthood start earlier in childhood and that school doesn’t close the gap in working memory for children ages 10 and above. Generally, children whose parents had fewer years of education don’t catch up or fall further behind by the end of adolescence, when working memory performance reaches mature levels.
That said, the findings of this study do not suggest that working memory is not malleable. Interventions that strengthen working memory in children, such as training games, may help children with lower levels of working memory improve and reduce disparities.
###
The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Summarized from Child Development, Mapping the Trajectory of Socioeconomic Disparity in Working Memory: Parental and Neighborhood Factors by Hackman, DA (currently at University of Pittsburgh, formerly at University of Pennsylvania), Betancourt, LM (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), Gallop, R (West Chester University), Romer, D (University of Pennsylvania), Brodsky, NL (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), Hurt, H (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine), and Farah, MJ (University of Pennsylvania). Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Related:

Tips for parent and teacher conferences http://drwilda.com/2012/11/07/tips-for-parent-and-teacher-conferences/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs

http://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/parents-can-use-tax-deductions-to-pay-for-special-education-needs/

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents

http://drwilda.com/2012/10/07/intervening-in-the-lives-of-truant-children-by-jailing-parents/

Making time for family dinner http://drwilda.com/2012/09/10/making-time-for-family-dinner/

Embracing parents as education leaders http://drwilda.com/2012/11/28/embracing-parents-as-education-leaders/

Where information leads to Hope. Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © http://drwilda.com/

Parent involvement: Mobile apps increase parent involvement

6 Apr

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement. http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd
Parent involvement is crucial to the success of children.

Heather B. Hayes reported in the EdTech article, School Districts Use Mobile Apps to Engage Parents:

When Michael Thurmond, superintendent of the DeKalb County School District near Atlanta, challenged his staff to come up with new, innovative ways to bridge the gap between their highest- and lowest-performing schools, CIO Gary Brantley had a ready response: a mobile app for parents.
That might seem like a knee-jerk ¬reaction, given the current zest for all things mobile, but Brantley’s solution was strongly rooted in need and fact. The lowest performers among the district’s 137 schools also had the lowest levels of parent engagement, in large part ¬because a majority of parents didn’t have the time or ability to travel to school for parent-teacher conferences or other functions. However, an internal survey showed that those same parents had access to mobile technology, with more than 90 percent of all district parents owning either a mobile phone or tablet.
“The idea was, parents can’t always come to us, so let’s try to take this information to them,” Brantley says. “When a grade is entered into the system, their student is late to class or there’s an emergency notification, let’s push that out to their mobile devices immediately, so they know what’s ¬happening at all times.”
Parents also can email teachers, get real-time notifications of bus pickup and drop-off times, access calendars, and receive Twitter and Facebook news feeds and sports scores. The app, which launched in early January, is already seen as a success, having been downloaded more than 6,000 times in its first month and earning rave reviews from users…
The Added Benefits of Having a Mobile App
How do mobile apps pay off for schools?
• During the ice storms of 2014, parents who downloaded the DeKalb County (Ga.) School District’s mobile app were able to receive school ¬closing and delay alerts in real time — a fact that earned praise for district officials, even as other district leaders were criticized for their delayed and confusing communication efforts.
• Parents at Wichita (Kan.) Public Schools can now view a single calendar of all academic and athletic events at any schools they choose to follow — a capability that’s impossible to create on a regular website and that helps parents keep up with what’s happening at all times. http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2014/04/school-districts-use-mobile-apps-engage-parents

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Related:
Tips for parent and teacher conferences http://drwilda.com/2012/11/07/tips-for-parent-and-teacher-conferences/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs http://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/parents-can-use-tax-deductions-to-pay-for-special-education-needs/

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents http://drwilda.com/2012/10/07/intervening-in-the-lives-of-truant-children-by-jailing-parents/

Making time for family dinner http://drwilda.com/2012/09/10/making-time-for-family-dinner/

Embracing parents as education leaders http://drwilda.com/2012/11/28/embracing-parents-as-education-leaders/

Where information leads to Hope. Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © http://drwilda.com/

University of Cambridge study: Saliva test may detect depression in kids

23 Feb

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Anna M. Phillips wrote the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

>Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.
Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.
Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.
“This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”
In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nyregion/calming-schools-through-a-sociological-approach-to-troubled-students.html?h

pw

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

Catherine de Lange reported in the New Scientist Health article, Spit test could allow depression screening at school:

A few globs of spit and a questionnaire could be all that’s needed to identify some teenagers who have a high risk of developing depression. That is the upshot of a study finding that teenage boys with elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as depressive symptoms, can be 14 times more likely to become depressed later on.
It’s the first biological flag to accurately predict the risk of an individual going on to develop depression, says Barbara Sahakian at the University of Cambridge, one of the study’s authors.
The finding could lead to new pharmacological treatments for depression and could change the way schools deal with the condition. Teenagers could be screened for the biomarker and those at risk provided with targeted treatments.
Early predictor
Around the world, depression is one of the leading causes of disability. It takes hold early in life: half of all cases begin by age 14, three-quarters by 24.
“Given that we know more teenagers are getting depressed, we should be looking actively for people who are developing problems and treating them early and effectively,” Sahakian says.
Her team measured morning levels of cortisol over three days in 660 teenagers aged between 13 and 18. Elevated levels of this hormone have previously been implicated in depression. The team also recorded any pre-clinical depressive symptoms the teens reported over a year, such as tearfulness or lack of motivation. The study was later repeated in a group of about 1200 teens.
Teenage boys who reported high levels of depressive symptoms, and had high levels of cortisol, were more likely to have become clinically depressed over the next three years than any other combination. Those in this high risk group were 14 times more likely to go on to develop depression than the lowest-risk group, those who had neither high levels of cortisol nor depressive symptoms. Seventeen per cent of teens fell into this group but cortisol levels were not more useful than depression symptoms alone in pinpointing at-risk girls.
School intervention
Sahakian says screening pupils would be easy to do and beneficial, even if there were social stigma associated with identifying people who had a high risk of developing depression. “It’s better than leaving them alone in their bedrooms to get worse and worse,” she says. Screening could be carried out using saliva samples collected over a few days and students could fill out the questionnaire by themselves.
A study in the BMJ in 2012 found that having a professional therapist teach cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to an entire class was no more effective than having the teacher give their usual personal social and health education classes, in terms of the effect on pupils’ well-being. But the hope is that screening would allow for targeted treatment.
Talking therapies such as CBT may also not be the best thing for boys, says Sahakian, because boys tend to respond better to visual techniques.
Screening could be a better way to allocate limited resources, says Carmine Pariante of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Teenage years are a time of emotional turmoil, when pre-clinical symptoms of depression are likely to be common. “If you help all of the [people you see like this] you end up giving treatment and emotional support to those who might be alright,” he says. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25071-spit-test-could-allow-depression-screening-at-school.html#.UwcEwRzvqgk.email

Citation:

Elevated morning cortisol is a stratified population-level biomarker for major depression in boys only with high depressive symptoms
1. Matthew Owensa,b,
2. Joe Herbertc,
3. Peter B. Jonesa,b,
4. Barbara J. Sahakiand,
5. Paul O. Wilkinsona,
6. Valerie J. Dunna,b,
7. Timothy J. Croudacee, and
8. Ian M. Goodyera,b,1
Author Affiliations
1. Edited by Bruce S. McEwen, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, and approved January 10, 2014 (received for review October 4, 2013)
1. Abstract
2. Authors & Info
3. SI
4. Metrics
5. PDF
6. PDF + SI
Significance
Clinical depression is a severe and common illness, characterized primarily by persistent low mood and lack of pleasure in usually enjoyable activities, that results in significant impairment in everyday living. It also involves alterations in cognitive and hormonal functions. There is substantial variation between depressed individuals in terms of the causes and therapeutic response, making it difficult to identify those most likely to benefit from intervention and treatment. We derived subtypes of adolescents in the population based on different levels of the hormone cortisol and subclinical depressive symptoms. A group (17%) with both high levels of cortisol and depressive symptoms of both sexes had more depressed thinking. Boys in this group were at high risk for clinical depression.
Abstract
Major depressive disorder (MD) is a debilitating public mental health problem with severe societal and personal costs attached. Around one in six people will suffer from this complex disorder at some point in their lives, which has shown considerable etiological and clinical heterogeneity. Overall there remain no validated biomarkers in the youth population at large that can aid the detection of at-risk groups for depression in general and for boys and young men in particular. Using repeated measurements of two well-known correlates of MD (self-reported current depressive symptoms and early-morning cortisol), we undertook a population-based investigation to ascertain subtypes of adolescents that represent separate longitudinal phenotypes. Subsequently, we tested for differential risks for MD and other mental illnesses and cognitive differences between subtypes. Through the use of latent class analysis, we revealed a high-risk subtype (17% of the sample) demarcated by both high depressive symptoms and elevated cortisol levels. Membership of this class of individuals was associated with increased levels of impaired autobiographical memory recall in both sexes and the greatest likelihood of experiencing MD in boys only. These previously unidentified findings demonstrate at the population level a class of adolescents with a common physiological biomarker specifically for MD in boys and for a mnemonic vulnerability in both sexes. We suggest that the biobehavioral combination of high depressive symptoms and elevated morning cortisol is particularly hazardous for adolescent boys.
• adolescence
gender differences
Footnotes
• 1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ig104@cam.ac.uk.
• Author contributions: J.H., P.B.J., B.J.S., V.J.D., T.J.C., and I.M.G. designed research; V.J.D., J.H., P.B.J., T.J.C., M.O., and I.M.G. performed research; M.O., T.J.C., and I.M.G. analyzed data; and M.O., J.H., P.B.J., B.J.S., P.O.W., V.J.D., T.J.C., and I.M.G. wrote the paper.
• Conflict of interest statement: B.J.S. consults for Cambridge Cognition Ltd.
• This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
• This article contains supporting information online at http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1318786111/-/DCSupplemental.

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’ http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:

1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children

http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children

http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

5. WebMD’s Depression In Children

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?

http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children

http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

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Two studies: The value of honest praise

5 Jan

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. What people can do is learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Craig Playstead has assembled a top ten list of mistakes made by parents and they should be used as a starting point in thinking about your parenting style and your family’s dynamic.
1) Spoiling kids
2) Inadequate discipline
3) Failing to get involved at school
4) Praising mediocrity
5) Not giving kids enough responsibility
6) Not being a good spouse
7) Setting unreal expectations
8) Not teaching kids to fend for themselves
9) Pushing trends on kids
10) Not following through http://living.msn.com/family-parenting/10-big-mistakes-parents-make
Playstead also has some comments about stage parents.
Let kids be kids. Parents shouldn’t push their trends or adult outlook on life on their kids. Just because it was your life’s dream to marry a rich guy doesn’t mean we need to see your 4-year-old daughter in a “Future Trophy Wife” t-shirt. The same goes for the double ear piercing—that’s what you want, not them. Teaching kids about your passions is great, but let them grow up to be who they are. And yes, this goes for you pathetic stage parents as well. It’s hard enough for kids to figure out who they are in the world without you trying to turn them into what you couldn’t be.
Chris Weller examined two studies dealing the “participation trophy” culture.
Weller opined in the Newsweek article, Two Words That Could Hurt Your Kids: Nice Job:
The most controversial topics in professional sports may be doping and concussions, but in youth sports, no two words are more inflammatory than “participation trophy,” those “awards” given to kids just for showing up, regardless of how well they played…
But a new trio of studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Ohio State University suggest that this strategy can backfire. They also suggest that parents often dole out inflated praise to the children most likely to be hurt by it. “If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well,” Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the studies and a doctoral candidate at Utrecht University’s department of psychology, said in a statement. “They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges.”
Brummelman and his fellow researchers devised three experiments. The first found that children with low self-esteem typically receive twice as much inflated praise as children with high self-esteem. Inflated praise is the difference between “Job well done!” and “You did an incredibly good job!” That adverb, that small boost, can turn a minor success into an expectation that ends up crushing a kid who doesn’t believe in himself.
The second study enlisted the help of parents. The children completed 12 timed math exercises, which their parents then scored. Brummelman and his colleagues watched for any instance in which the parents administered inflated praise – a “You’re so incredible!” or a “Fantastic!” – or opted for a simple, “Good job” or “Nice work.” Correlating the kids’ scores with earlier assessments of self-esteem, the team found that children with lower self-esteem received more inflated praise.
Don’t start slagging supportive parents, though. Co-researcher Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State, says their logic is impeccable: Kids who feel bad about their abilities tend to have very negative responses to poor performance, so the observant parent intervenes with a few supportive words. Problem solved, right?
The team’s third study took the praise administered in the second study and extended it to future performance. Children were asked to recreate van Gogh’s Wild Roses (to the best of their ability) and were told the final drawing would be critiqued by a professional painter. The critic either gave the children inflated praise, noninflated praise, or no praise at all. Then they did a second drawing. This time they had a choice: Would they rather copy an easy drawing or take on a more difficult piece?
To the chagrin of participation-trophy-pushing parents in the group, the children with lower self-esteems chose the undemanding piece. They took the safe route. The high self-esteem kids were actually more likely to seek out the challenge after receiving inflated praise….
“It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful,” Bushman said. “But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves.”

http://www.newsweek.com/two-words-could-hurt-your-kids-nice-job-225389#.UshBxlkCHTc.twitter

Paul Tough has written a very thoughtful New York Times piece about the importance of failure in developing character, not characters.
In What If the Secret to Success Is Failure? Tough writes:
Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.
Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.
For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”
The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that….” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
Whatever the dream you feel you didn’t realize, remember that was your dream, it may not be your child’s dream.
Helping Your Child Develop Self-Esteem
The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/?s=healthy+self+esteem A discussion of values is often difficult, but the question the stage parent, over the top little league father, or out of control soccer mom should ask of themselves is what do you really and truly value? What is more important, your child’s happiness and self-esteem or your fulfilling an unfinished part of your life through your child? Joe Jackson, the winner of the most heinous stage parent award saw his dreams fulfilled with the price of the destruction of his children’s lives. Most people with a healthy dose of self-esteem and sanity would say this is too high a price.
Letting Go
Sarah Mahoney wrote a good article about four ways to let go of your kids http://www.familycircle.com/teen/parenting/communicating/letting-go-of-your-kids/?page=2 and she describes her four steps, which she calls Independence Day. Newsweek also has an article on the fine art of letting go http://www.newsweek.com/parenting-how-let-your-kids-go-110095 Remember it is your child’s life and they should be allowed to realize their dreams, not yours.
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Parent homework: School home visits

3 Jan

Moi wrote in Missouri program: Parent home visits:

One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/
Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are.

Jay Matthews reported in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools:

A modest program in Missouri — similar to one in the District — has found a way to help parents improve their children’s education. But nobody is paying much attention.
Instead, something called the parent trigger, the hottest parent program going, has gotten laws passed in four states even though it has had zero effect on achievement. The Missouri program, the Teacher Home Visit Program or HOME WORKS!, trains and organizes teachers to visit parents in their homes. It is quiet, steady, small and non-political. The parent trigger, begun in California by a well-meaning group called Parent Revolution, is also authorized in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana and is deep into electoral politics. Both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns have embraced it…. Few parents have the free time or experience to take charge of a school and figure out which of the many competing ideas for change are best. They are at the mercy of school promoters and local school bureaucrats and unions. It is hard for them to agree among themselves what they want. Their good intentions get them nowhere.
The first two attempts to use the trigger in California have been stymied by lawsuits and political quarrels. Anyone who understands the dynamics of public schools in a democracy knows the trigger is never going to get parents what they want
Home visits are different. They don’t require that parents figure out how to fix an entire school. Their only responsibility is to help teachers improve the learning of their own children, something they are uniquely qualified to
The nonprofit Concentric Educational Solutions Inc. START PROGRAM has been knocking on parent doors in the District for two years and has has started to do the same in Delaware and Detroit. The group says it has reduced truancy by as much as 78 percent. Teachers naturally wonder whether they have time for after-school visits, but the group’s executive director, David L. Heiber, says what they learn from parents can save many hours in class. With full staff participation, the most visits they might have to do in a year is 15, producing better attendance and more attention.
The Missouri HOME WORKS! program operates in 15 schools in the St. Louis area. Teachers, paid for their extra time, are trained at the end of the school year and beginning of the summer. The first round of summer visits allows teachers and parents to get to know each other and share what they know about students’ interests and needs. A family dinner for all wraps up the summer.
The second round of training sessions and visits comes in the first semester before the end of daylight saving time. The teachers explain to the parents where their child is academically and provide tools to increase their capacity to help their child. There is another family dinner, and sometimes there is a third round of visits in the spring.
A study by the St. Louis public school system last year of 616 home visits found that the third- to sixth-grade students involved had an increase in average math grades and that the grades of students not involved declined. A study of 586 home visits in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District showed students involved had better attendance.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.

In Parents As Partners in Early Education, the Council reports:

Researchers generally agree that parents and family are the primary influence on a child’s development. Parents, grandparents, foster parents and others who take on parenting roles strongly affect language development, emotional growth, social skills and personality. High quality early childhood programs engage parents as partners in early education, encouraging them to volunteer in programs, read to their children at home, or be involved in curriculum design. Good programs maintain strong communication with parents, learning more about the child from the family and working together with the family to meet each child’s needs. Some ECE programs include occasional home visits as a way of maintaining a relationship between the program and parents. These approaches are the more typical, standard way of involving parents in early childhood programs.

http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd

http://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

Home visits allow teachers to meet parents in a more comfortable setting and to intervene early.

Alan Scher Zagier of AP reported in the article, Teachers find home visits help in the classroom:

In days gone by, a knock on the door by a teacher or school official used to mean a child was in trouble. Not anymore, at least for parents and students at Clay Elementary School.
The urban public school is one of more than 30 in the St. Louis area that sends teachers on home visits several times a year. Unlike home visit programs that focus on truants and troublemakers, or efforts aimed exclusively at early childhood, the newer wave seeks to narrow the teacher-parent divide while providing glimpses at the factors that shape student learning before and after the school bells ring.
The nonprofit HOME WORKS! program is modeled after one in Sacramento, Calif., that over the past decade has since spread to more than 300 schools in 13 states, with active programs in Washington, Denver, Seattle and St. Paul, Minn. Program leaders say participation leads to better attendance, higher test scores, greater parental involvement and fewer suspensions and expulsions, citing preliminary research of the newer program by the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a series of external reviews in Sacramento over the past decade. Participation is voluntary, and teachers are paid for their time.
“We’ve figured out a way for people to sit down outside the regular school and have the most important conversation that needs to happen,” said Carrie Rose, executive director of the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project in the California capital.
The K-12 program began in 1999 as a faith-based community effort but quickly found support not only in the Sacramento school district but also with local teachers unions. The National Education Association has also endorsed teacher home visits, citing a “critical mass of research evidence” connecting high student achievement with involved parents.
No longer do parents only hear from teachers when there’s a problem, or during brief school conferences that leave little time to go beyond the surface….http://news.yahoo.com/teachers-home-visits-help-classroom-060213790.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Here is information about HOME WORKS!

HOME WORKS! Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles, & Core Values
Vision
Every child makes the grade.
Mission
HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program partners families and teachers for children’s success.
Guiding Principles
We believe that:
• All children can learn.
• Learning creates opportunities.
• Families must play a key role in a child’s life path.
• Open, honest communication is essential.
• Individual differences must be respected.
Core Values
Collaboration, Diversity, Innovation, Integrity, Respect, Service, Transparency
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
• Does HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit program use volunteers?
HOME WORKS! is all about building personal relationships between parents and their children’s educators. Because of the nature of the program, it does not use volunteers.
• How is HOME WORKS! funded? Where does the money come from?
HOME WORKS! is funded by donations from corporations, family foundations, and individuals. We have not received ANY funding from government sources or from The United Way – yet!

http://teacherhomevisit.org/

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Related:

BBC report: Parents to be paid to attend parenting academy in England http://drwilda.com/2013/11/16/bbc-report-parents-to-be-paid-to-attend-parenting-academy-in-england/

Tips for parent and teacher conferences

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/07/tips-for-parent-and-teacher-conferences/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance http://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs http://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/parents-can-use-tax-deductions-to-pay-for-special-education-needs/

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents http://drwilda.com/2012/10/07/intervening-in-the-lives-of-truant-children-by-jailing-parents/

Making time for family dinner

http://drwilda.com/2012/09/10/making-time-for-family-dinner/

Embracing parents as education leaders

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/28/embracing-parents-as-education-leaders/

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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The poverty effect: Schools must deal with student personal hygiene issues

23 Nov

As children head back to school, parents want to make sure that their children have not only the proper school supplies like paper and pencils, but proper hygiene habits as well. There are a couple of reasons why proper hygiene is important. The first reason is proper hygiene makes your child more pleasant to be around for the teacher and other children. The current economic climate is making families and charities make some tough choices when it comes to deciding what to purchase. According to National Kids Count:

Data Provided by:
• National KIDS COUNT

Location Data Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
United States Number 13,241,000 14,657,000 15,749,000 16,387,000 16,397,000

Percent 18% 20% 22% 23% 23%
INDICATOR CONTEXT
EXPAND
DEFINITIONS & SOURCES
COLLAPSE
Definitions: The share of children under age 18 who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In calendar year 2012, a family of two adults and two children fell in the “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $23,283. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children). The data are based on income received in the 12 months prior to the survey.
Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, 2001 Supplementary Survey, 2002 through 2012 American Community Survey.
The data for this measure come from the 2000 and 2001 Supplementary Survey and the 2002 through 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). The 2000 through 2004 ACS surveyed approximately 700,000 households monthly during each calendar year. In general but particularly for these years, use caution when interpreting estimates for less populous states or indicators representing small sub-populations, where the sample size is relatively small. Beginning in January 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the ACS sample to 3 million households (full implementation), and in January 2006 the ACS included group quarters. The ACS, fully implemented, is designed to provide annually updated social, economic, and housing data for states and communities. (Such local-area data have traditionally been collected once every ten years in the long form of the decennial census.)
Footnotes:Updated September 2013.
S – Estimates suppressed when the confidence interval around the percentage is greater than or equal to 10 percentage points. N.A. – Data not available.
Data are provided for the 50 most populous cities according to the most recent Census counts. Cities for which data is collected may change over time.
A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at Children in poverty.

http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/43-children-in-poverty?loc=1&loct=1#detailed/1/any/false/868,867,133,38,35/any/321,322

Kids in poverty create social issues in schools which must be dealt with in a compassionate way.

Charlene Sakota wrote in the article, Pre-K teacher sends note complaining about students’ ‘unpleasant smells’:

Some parents of students at the B.U.I.L.D. Academy in Buffalo, New York had complaints of their own after receiving a handwritten complaint letter from their children’s pre-kindergarten teacher. The note sent home with some students read in part, “Several children in Pre-K ages 3-4 are coming to school (sometimes daily) with soiled, stained, or dirty clothes. Some give off unpleasant smells and some appear unclean and unkept.” The teacher went on asking that parents address the matter as, “It is a health and safety concern. It also makes it difficult for me to be close to them or even want to touch them. Enough said.”
It’s a message that has many outraged saying that the teacher needs to exercise more compassion as an educator in the Buffalo community, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2007-2011 had 29.9% of its population living below the poverty level. Others said that the situation warranted a phone call to the parents or a school social worker. As reported by WIVB News 4, the teacher’s note was sent without the principal’s permission and the school’s nurse is equipped with clean clothes for any student to wear should they need them.
Kimberly Wells found the note in her granddaughter’s backpack. “The first thing she asked me is, ‘Do my teacher think I stink?’ I told her, ‘No, you don’t,’” the grandmother said. Understandably, Kimberly was upset with how the situation was handled telling WKBW Eyewitness News, “She’s teaching the kids how to segregate other kids. You’re showing how to outnumber another child. That’s not right. That’s not what we’re in school for. That could have been, hell, she could have called the parent on the phone. She could have had a meeting at the school face-to-face.” Kimberly also told WIVB that she attempted to address the teacher about the issue, “I did try to talk to the teacher about this and she didn’t want to hear nothing I had to say….”
The letter was brought up in a recent school board meeting however no decisions were made to reprimand the pre-K teacher. Mary Ruth Kaspiak of the school board said, “We must do things to help our students. We can’t do things to discourage them and we don’t want to send out mixed messages.”
Kimberly doesn’t want to see her granddaughter’s teacher fired, but wants her to know that letters like the one she sent are inappropriate. Enough said.http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/oddnews/pre-k-teacher-sends-note-complaining-about-students’-‘unpleasant-smells’-201931723.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Perhaps, the most important reason is proper hygiene helps to develop healthy self-esteem in your child. This doesn’t mean that your child must be a Vogue fashionista at five, but that your child should be clean and presentable with no body odors. WebMD.Com has an excellent article by R. Morgan Griffin, Teen Hygiene Tips:

“Parents too often assume that 10- or 11-year-olds will somehow naturally learn what they need to know about hygiene,” says Wibbelsman. “But that’s not true. Someone has to teach them.”
Kids with poor hygiene face consequences. Some are medical: they may be more prone to developing rashes and infections. But equally important, they may quickly become known at school for being dirty. That sort of bad rep can be hard to shake and damaging to self-esteem.
Showering. “Most elementary school kids don’t shower every day, and they don’t need to,” says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD,a pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls and The Wonder Years. But she says that once puberty hits, daily showering becomes essential. Recommend that they use a mild soap and concentrate on the face, hands, feet, underarms, groin and bottom. Washing under the fingernails is key, too.
Washing hair. Discuss the pros and cons of daily hair washing. Some teens may prefer to skip days to prevent their hair from drying out. Others may want to wash their hair daily — especially if they have oily hair, which can both look greasy and aggravate acne.
Using deodorant or antiperspirant. Your kid has always had plenty of working sweat glands. But when puberty hits, the glands become more active and the chemical composition of the sweat changes, causing it to smell stronger. When you or your kid begin to notice it, using deodorant or an antiperspirant should become part of their daily teen hygiene.
Changing clothes. Before puberty, your kid might have gotten away with wearing the same shirt — or even the same underwear and same socks — day after day without anyone noticing. After puberty, that won’t fly. Get your teen to understand that along with showering, wearing clean clothes each day is an important part of teen hygiene. Point out that cotton clothes may absorb sweat better than other materials.
Preventing acne. Altmann says that at around age 10, it makes sense for your teen to start washing his or her face twice a day. “Plenty of kids don’t have any acne problems at that age, but getting in the habit early is smart,” Altmann says. Make sure your teen understands not to wash too vigorously, even if her skin is oily. Trying to scrub off the oil will just leave the skin cracked and irritated.
Shaving and hair removal. When you notice hair on your son’s upper lip or on your daughter’s legs, you can offer a brief course on razor use. Whether or not he or she wants to shave yet, at least you’ve provided the information. Girls may also be interested in hair removal products. You can go over the options. Your daughter may also need some reassurance; stray facial hairs that loom large when she’s an inch away from the mirror may not be visible to anyone else.
Maintaining good oral health. Teens can get pretty lax about their oral hygiene. But brushing and flossing are crucial, especially if they’re drinking coffee and sugary, acidic sodas and sports drinks. It’s not only about tooth decay. Bad oral hygiene leads to bad breath — and that’s something that no teen wants, Altmann tells WebMD.
Understanding the body. If you’re talking about good teen hygiene, that also means talking about puberty. Girls need to know about breast development and menstruation. Boys need to know about erections and wet dreams. Don’t tiptoe around these subjects. If they don’t get the info from you, they’ll get some distorted version of it from their peers. You may find that giving your kids a good book on the subject — or pointing them to reputable health web sites — may help the conversation. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teen-hygiene

Because of the economy, many family budgets are stretched. In this author’s opinion, money should be spent on good fitting shoes and families can save on the clothing budget by buying children’s clothing at places like Value Village, Goodwill, Target and J.C. Penney. The E.Podiatry. Com site discusses the importance of correct fitting children’s shoes in the article,

Children’s Footwear
Importance of the shoe to the child:
Poorly fitting children’s shoes can cause a number of problems in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toenails, foot corns, calluses and bunions. Given the high level of pain and discomfort that these problems can cause, it is obviously logical to attempt to prevent these problems by ensuring that the child’s shoe is fitted appropriately. Foot problems in children are usually preventable.
Fitting footwear for the child:
The most important factor in shoes for a child is that they fit. Preferably, this means that shoes are fitted by someone who has had some special training in the fitting of children’s footwear.
Advice for the fitting of a child’s footwear:
Children should have their feet measured about every 3 months (thus ensuring the need for new shoes as required).
Generally, for a shoe to be correctly fitted, there should be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of
the longest toe.
When looking at the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it should be relatively straight (not curved in too much) – the foot is
straight, so the shoe should be straight.
The fastening mechanism (laces, velcro, buckles) should hold the heel firmly in the back of the shoe (the foot should
not be able to slide forward in the shoe).
The heel counter (back part of the shoe) should be strong and stable.
The shoe should be flexible across the ball of the foot, as this is where the foot bends. The shoe should not bend
where the foot does not bend (ie in the arch area).
Leather and canvas are a better material – they are more durable and can breathe. Synthetic materials do not breathe
as well, unless they are of the ‘open weave’ type. Avoid plastics.
Check that the shoes have rounded toe boxes to give the toes more room to move.
An absorbent insole is helpful, as the foot can sweat a lot – children are very active!
A number of retail stores specialize in footwear for the child – use them! Fitting footwear properly in adults is also just
as important. http://www.epodiatry.com/children-footwear.htm

Money should be spent on quality footwear, parents can economize elsewhere.

The Budget Fashionista has some excellent tips about How to Shop A Thrift Store:

1. Go to Where the Rich People Live. Head to a wealthy area, as you can often find awesome
items donated by people who, for whatever reason, can’t be seen in an item twice. Their
excess is your treasure.
2. Wear tight fitting clothing. Many thrift stores do not have fitting rooms, so unless you want everyone looking at your goodies, wear tight fitting clothing like leggings and tank tops, so you can try on items quickly and somewhat modestly.
3. Start small. Purchase accessories and basic clothing items like jeans. Once you become a seasoned thrifter, then you can go into coats, blazers, etc.
4. Do a smell test. It an item is musty and has strange odor in the shop, it will probably be very difficult to get the smell out. Note: it’s nearly impossible to get musty smells out of synthetic fabrics like rayon, and acrylic.
5. Make Friends with the Sales Associate. Ask sales staff when they put their new stuff out and/or the best day to shop. The early bird really does get the worm (or.. prada) when it comes to shopping a thrift store.
6. Clean Your Purchases. Clean the item when you get home. Donated items aren’t always cleaned before they are donated. I know this has sparked alot of controversy, but I disinfect my thrift store purchases before wearing them. http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com/archive/thrift-store/

See, also 23 Must Know Tips for Thrift Store Shopping http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1412896

Sometimes it is left to the classroom teacher to discuss hygiene issues with a student. Dr. Ken Shore’s article Poor Hygiene describes some strategies teachers can use when dealing with hygiene issues.

Talk privately with a student with poor hygiene. Help the student understand that poor hygiene can cause illnesses, and that it can cause other children to avoid her. Talk with her about the basics of good hygiene; then zero in on her particular areas of need. You may need to give the student very specific instructions for good hygiene, and to teach behaviors we take for granted in most children. If you are uncomfortable talking with the student about those issues, you might ask the school nurse to meet with her.
Monitor the student’s hygiene. Provide the student with a checklist of hygiene activities she should do on a daily basis, such as taking a shower or bath, washing her hair, brushing her teeth, combing her hair, putting on clean clothes, and so on. Have the student write those behaviors in a notebook, and tell her that those tasks are part of her homework assignment. For the first couple of weeks, meet privately with the student for a few minutes every morning to review how well she did her “homework,” and praise her for any additional evidence of good hygiene.
Have some hygiene items handy in the classroom. You may find that a student with poor hygiene does not have some basic hygiene items at home. For occasions like those, keep a variety of basic items — such as brushes, combs, tissue, soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste — in your desk. Let the student know that she can take what she needs as long as she makes good use of them. Check to make sure the student knows how to use the items.
Work out a private signal to cue a student who is picking her nose. Few behaviors turn off peers more quickly than a student who picks her nose. If you have a child who is a frequent nose picker, meet with her privately and let her know that other children find this behavior unpleasant and may avoid her as a result. Tell the student that she needs to use a tissue instead and provide her with a pack of tissues to keep in her desk. Work out with the student a subtle, non-verbal signal to alert her when she begins to pick her nose. http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1412896

See:

1. Printable Material on Hygiene for Children http://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Printable_Material_on_Hygiene_for_Children

2. Personal Hygiene, Taking Care of Your Body http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=289&id=2146

3. Hygiene Basics http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/hygiene_basics.html

4. The Thrift Shopper.Com http://www.thethriftshopper.com/

Good hygiene is an essential part of a child being ready to learn.

Moi came across Tips for Success in Room 12 Actually, these tips are good inside and outside of Room 12.
Tips For Success in Room 12:

Come to school with all your work completed, or be ready to ask
questions about what you did not understand. Be ready to learn!
Come into the classroom with a “can do” spirit, not a “can’t do” attitude.
Knowledge is power and attitude is everything.
Be an active learner, be an active listener.
Try your best.
Don’t give up!
Be a student of excellence.
Come to school ready to be the best you can be.
Learn from your mistakes.
Be nice to everyone and treat others the way you want to be treated.
Don’t put other people (or yourself) down!
Think about this: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Helping middle school students succeed in high school: ‘Countdown to High School’

21 Nov

Education.com posted the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s article, Teens and Middle School:

The transition to middle school is a major life event for parents and youth.
Students worry about:
• Getting to class on time;
• Finding lockers, classes, and bathrooms;
• Keeping up with the work; and
• Getting through the crowded halls.
Students may also be struggling with concerns about:
• Aggressive or violent behavior from other students;
• Less connection with their parents;
• Less free time;
• Attractiveness and peer status;
• Physical development differences between males and females;
• Increasing peer pressure;
• Development changes associated with puberty;
• Increased parental expectations; and
• More responsibility.
All of this is normal and the best thing you can do for yourself is to talk about your feelings, fears, and thoughts with your friends, family, parents, or other caring adults. You are not alone – other youth your age are dealing with these same concerns….http://www.education.com/reference/article/teens-middle-school/

Some school districts are trying to ease the transition from elementary school to middle school to high school.

Suzi Parker of Takepart wrote in the article, High School Success May Depend on Lessons Middle Schools Don’t Teach:

Leaving middle school for high school can be a scary time for teenagers. Scarier than they even know.
Not only do ninth graders suddenly have more responsibility, more homework, and more life stress, without much guidance on how to cope, but high school is when the dropout risk looms largest.
Countdown to High School, a Boston program, is trying to aleviate some of this stress for teenagers and help keep them in school.
The program began a few years ago when Neema Avashia, a civics teacher at Boston’s McCormack Middle School, along with a few other educators, realized that kids, even high-performing kids, were desperately struggling in their first year of high school….
The program, based on national and local research, began as a pilot program for middle and high school teachers with funding in six schools. In two years, the program grew to 34 schools. Then last year, the funding ended, and the group had to rethink their model. Now, Countdown to High School is a three-hour stand-alone graduate course that 50 teachers in Boston have participated in so far.
For students, the program begins at the end of 8th grade when trained teachers present a series of lessons that address issues 9th graders grapple with.
In Boston, like in many U.S. cities, students don’t have to attend a school near their home but rather can choose where they want to go. In many instances, students have to participate in a lottery process. Other schools make students pass exams. Some pilot schools require students write essays and obtain letters of recommendation. It’s a complicated process without much guidance, Avashia says. So her program helps kids through it.
Once they know where they’re going, students are asked find the quickest public transportation route to their school. They are made familiar with the websites where this information is found. They also talk about scheduling and decide on a wake-up time.
GPA is another issue the curriculum covers. One student in a video short about Countdown to High School sums it up by saying, “Don’t be so caught up in friends. Don’t hangout in the hallways. Students do that, I mean that’s the first thing they do. Stay on top of your schoolwork from the beginning. A lot of people decide to slack freshman year and say, ‘Oh I have two or three more years up until I become a senior and that’s when I can start building.’ But think about GPA. Your GPA has to be good from the beginning, not just the middle of the year.” In Countdown to High School, students are taught how to correctly calculate a GPA and are told how truancy can negatively affect it.
The program also asks kids to be real with themselves if they begin to miss classes. They are encouraged to ask themselves about why they are cutting—is it that they’re not waking up early enough or that their friends are pressuring them or that they just don’t feel comfortable in that class, or in school in general? Countdown gives them tools to make relationships with teachers and deal with any of these scenarios.
After middle school graduation the students are greeted by similar lessons as they begin 9th grade. This ensures that students are thinking in advance about how to deal with the new challenges as they begin their high school careers.
But it’s not all left up to educators. Avashia says many times parents also don’t know where to turn to help and teachers may not know the answers. That’s why the course also requires teachers to write a school plan memo that includes how families will be meaningfully engaged in the choice and transition process.
Transition programs for students or teachers are rare in the United States. Washington has one called “Project Graduation” that includes a “Gear Up” component to identify 7th- and 8th-grade students needing help and a four- to six-week summer program to help them. Hawaii has a plan to help 9th-grade students receive the instructional and support services they need to complete high school, including tutoring and academic summer camps….http://news.yahoo.com/high-school-success-may-depend-lessons-middle-schools-195823440.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory
Here is information about Countdown to High School:
Welcome to the Countdown to High School Wiki!
The Countdown to High School (CD2HS) initiative is a program designed to support 8th and 9th grade students in Boston Public Schools (BPS) as they make the transition to high school. This website is filled with curriculum and materials you can use to help 8th and 9th grade students with this transition. The CD2HS initiative is run by BPS teachers and administrators who are continually revising and updating materials. Please review all materials prior to using them to ensure they are adapted to your school’s needs.
We always welcome feedback: cd2hsboston@gmail.com
What is Countdown to High School?
CD2HS is run by teachers and administrators in BPS. We propose a series of interventions to facilitate the transition to high school, thereby reducing student failure and increasing the likelihood that students will go on to complete the college application process four years later. We firmly believe that students are entitled to clear, consistent support structures as they make one of the most important decisions and transitions of their educational careers.
We intend to provide support to students on both ends of the transition–8th graders who are in the process of deciding what high school to go to, and 9th grade students who are entering new schools, and trying to navigate the transition.
Why is there a need for such a program?
A recent Boston Public Schools-commissioned report showed that only 53% of high school students at Boston’s non-exam schools make it through high school in four years; about three out of four of the students who don’t graduate in four years ultimately drop out. Importantly, this study pointed to the 8th and 9th grade years as critical ones in predicting whether students graduate.
Having over 30 high schools to choose from, all with different themes, different services, different class sizes, different application processes, and different academic outcomes can prove to be an overwhelming decision for middle school students and their families, particularly given the lack of readily available information about the schools
Even after students have chosen a high school, there continue to be challenges inherent in the transition such as: transportation, attendance, change in academic expectations, lack of structured afterschool time, decreased communication as students get older, and appropriate school match.
Here is a list of topics addressed at the site:
1. home
2. 8th Grade Lessons
3. 8th Grade Resources
4. 9th Grade Lessons
5. 9th Grade Resources
6. Calendar
7. Family Resources
8. Graduate Course 2012-2013
9. Meeting Handouts
10. Surveys
11. Transition Coordinator Information

http://cd2hs.wikispaces.com/

RAND’s policy brief, Problems and Promise of the American Middle School details the issues students face in middle school:

Today in the United States, nearly nine million students attend public “middle schools” — schools that serve as an intermediary phase between elementary school and high school, typically consisting of grades 6-8. The middle school years represent a critical time for young teens. Middle schools have been blamed for the increase in student behavior problems and cited as the cause of teens’ alienation, disengagement from school, and low achievement.
What are America’s middle schools really like? RAND Education researchers undertook a comprehensive assessment of the American middle school, made particularly timely and important by the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which emphasizes test-based accountability and sanctions for failing schools. The researchers describe their findings in Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School. The RAND Corporation report includes some practical advice about how to deal with the challenges middle schools face and proposes a research agenda that might yield additional information for improving the schools.
The State of the American Middle School
In the 1980s, reformers endorsed a new middle school “concept” intended to change the traditional junior high school to create an educational experience more appropriate for young adolescents. The goal was to make the old junior high more developmentally responsive by changing the grade configuration from grades 7-8 or 7-9 to grades 6-8 and introducing new organizational and instructional practices (e.g., interdisciplinary team teaching).
Today, many schools are organized around the 6-8 configuration, and the well-being of middle school students generates tremendous interest from committed educators, innovative reformers, and private foundations. However, in spite of these well-intentioned improvement efforts, middle schools do not yet fully serve the needs of young teens, and several challenges remain. RAND’s main findings and recommendations are summarized below.
Separating the Middle Grades Is Associated with Transition Problems
The history of reform indicates that a separate middle school has become the norm more because of societal and demographic pressures than because of scientific evidence supporting the need for a separate school for young teens. In fact, there is evidence suggesting that separate schools and the transitions they require can cause problems that negatively affect students’ developmental and academic progress. RAND recommends that, over the coming years, states and school districts consider alternatives to the 6-8 structure to reduce multiple transitions for students and allow schools to better align their goals across grades K-12.
Progress on Academic Outcomes Is Uneven
Data show slow but steady increases in achievement scores since the 1970s. However, about 70 percent of American 8th-grade public-school students fail to reach proficient levels of performance in reading, mathematics, and science on national achievement tests. This is particularly true for Latinos and African Americans, who continue to lag behind their white counterparts, even when their parents have had college educations. We recommend adoption of various forms of supplemental services that have been proven effective for the lowest-performing students, including summer school programs before 6th grade and additional reading and math courses after 6th grade.
Conditions for Learning Are Sub optimal
Conditions for learning are factors that can enhance or diminish a student’s ability to learn. Particularly relevant to young teens are motivational and social-emotional indicators of well-being that are related to academic performance. Disengagement and social alienation not only are related to low achievement but also predict dropping out. National school safety statistics suggest that physical conflict is especially problematic in middle schools, and student concerns about safety predict emotional distress that can compromise academic performance. Such findings underscore the need to examine a variety of student outcomes in addition to academic indicators. Schools need to adopt comprehensive prevention models (e.g., school wide anti bullying programs) that focus on changing the social norms that foster antisocial behavior.
The Vision of the Middle School Has Not Been Fully Implemented
The continuing lackluster performance of middle schools might also be explained, in part, by inadequate implementation of the middle school concept in most districts and schools.[1] Core practices such as interdisciplinary team teaching and advisory programs tend to be weakly implemented with little attention to the underlying goals. A sufficient level of fidelity to many of the reform practices is not possible without substantial additional attention, resources, and long-term support.
Middle School Teachers and Principals Lack Appropriate Training and Support
Many middle school teachers do not have a major, minor, or certification in the subjects they teach or training in the development of young adolescents. Evidence-based models of professional development for teachers should be adopted to improve the subject-area expertise and the pedagogical skills of teachers.
Principals face similar training issues, in addition to another challenge: Disciplinary issues increase a principal’s workload and can decrease the time and effort the individual has to spend on other leadership functions. Different management approaches need to be considered that permit principals to delegate their managerial duties and foster a school climate that is conducive to teaching and learning.
Parental Support Wanes
Research shows that parental involvement declines as students progress through school and that middle schools do less than elementary schools do to engage parents. Middle schools should provide information about school practices and offer concrete suggestions for activities that parents and teens can do together at home.
New Reform Models Show Promise
Our review of whole-school reforms and professional development practices identified some promising models that address both academic achievement and the development needs of young teens. If fully implemented, these models might propel our schools forward toward the high levels of achievement that are the goal of NCLB.
Looking Ahead
Today’s emphasis on higher standards (such as those NCLB articulates) and on increased accountability through academic testing poses at least two challenges for middle schools. First, as legislation focused solely on academic achievement outcomes holds greater sway, the developmental needs of children might take second place, even though the two are highly interrelated. Second, it is unclear whether adequate federal and state supports are available for schools and students to meet the new standards. Regardless of the nature and scope of the next middle-grade reform efforts, state and federal support is needed at this time, and the efforts of various agencies, organizations, and foundations should be well coordinated. Continuity of effort is likely to provide the right conditions for student growth, institutional improvement, and educational progress. While NCLB creates a feeling of urgency, that urgency should be translated into steady, reasoned attempts to improve the schooling of all our young teens.
________________________________________
[1] R. D. Felner, A. W. Jackson, D. Kasak, P. Mulhall, S. Brand, and N. Flowers, “The Impact of School Reform for the Middle Years: Longitudinal Study of a Network Engaged in Turning Points-Based Comprehensive School Transformation,” Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 78, No. 7, 1997, pp. 528-550, and R. Williamson and J. H. Johnston, “Challenging Orthodoxy: An Emerging Agenda for Middle Level Reform,” Middle School Journal, March 1999, pp. 10-17.
________________________________________
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________________________________________
This product is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.
This research brief describes work done for RAND Education documented in Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School by Jaana Juvonen, Vi-Nhuan Le, Tessa Kaganoff, Catherine Augustine, and Louay Constant, MG-139-EDU (available online), 2004, 152 pages, ISBN: 0-8330-3390-5. It is also available from RAND Distribution Services (phone: 310-451-7002; toll free in the U.S.: 877-584-8642).
Copyright © 2004 RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB8025/index1.html

See, How to Prepare Your Tween for the Middle School Transition http://www.parentmap.com/article/how-to-prepare-your-tween-for-the-middle-school-transition

PBS Kids has some great information for parents at It’s My Life. http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/school/middleschool/
Some kids need more support than others, but most will require some support in making the transition to middle school.

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BBC report: Parents to be paid to attend parenting academy in England

16 Nov

Moi wrote in Parent involvement: Bronx’s Mercy College parent center:
Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/
Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement. http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd

http://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

http://drwilda.com/2013/09/22/parent-involvement-bronxs-mercy-college-parent-center/

Educators, parents, and politicians all over the globe are trying to foster parent involvement

Judith Burns of the BBC reported in the BBC article, Cash for parents to learn how to support schoolwork:

Parents in two urban areas in England are to be offered money to attend a parenting academy to learn how to support their children’s schoolwork.
Some parents will be paid around £600 to attend all 18 sessions in the trial.
The scheme, for disadvantaged families, will test whether cash can encourage parents to help their children learn.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the heads’ union ASCL, said parental engagement was a good thing but feared the payments could be seen as a bribe.
“We need to look at different ways of helping parents engage in their children’s learning but I have reservations about simply paying them,” said Mr Lightman.
But he added that the cash could be a genuinely positive thing if it were used, for example, to enable parents to take time off work to attend the courses.
Numeracy, literacy and science
The trial, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), will run in 14 primary schools in Middlesbrough and Camden and will cost a total of almost £1m.
The idea is to equip parents with the skills to support their children’s learning in numeracy, literacy and science….
Some 1,500 parents and carers will be randomly divided into three groups.
One group will get free childcare and meals when they attend. A second group will not only get these benefits but will be paid for every session they attend. A third control group will not attend the sessions.
The attitudes and abilities of all the children with parents in the three groups will be assessed at the beginning and end of the project.
The idea is based on a US project, in which parents of pre-school children in an area of Chicago were paid up to $7,000 a year to attend two sessions a week aimed at boosting their basic maths and literacy as well as their knowledge of how to support teachers and help with homework….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24943762

Here is information about the Chicago Heights Miracle Project:

Chicago Heights Miracle Project
________________________________________
Rewarding Student Performance
Almost half of inner-city Americans fail to graduate from high school and most don’t make it to the 10th grade. In 2008, The Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation teamed up with University of Chicago economists John List and Steven Levitt (author of Freakonomics), and the Chicago Heights School District to test a unique incentive program, dubbed the Chicago Heights Miracle Project.
The aim of the project was to use cutting edge methods of investigation in behavioral economics to evaluate the impact of various incentives on student achievement.
Students were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups, or to a control group. Each month in which a student met academic, behavioral, and attendance standards that student became eligible for an incentive.
• Eligible students in the first group earned $50 each month.
• Parents of eligible students in the second group received $50 each month.
• Eligible students in the third group were entered into a lottery for a chance to win $500.
• Eligible students in the fourth group were also entered into a lottery, but their parents received the prize money.
The most significant impact was seen on students who were falling just short of their established goals. For these students, the incentive program had lasting effects: they not only began to meet standards but continued to outperform the control group into 10th grade. The researchers agreed that incentives can play an important role in getting children—especially borderline children—through school. Knowledge gained from the Chicago Heights Miracle Project led to the development of the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center.
Watch the movie trailer of Freakonomics which mentions Chicago Heights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfC-ZHJ4A5U
Read an article about Dr. List’s experiments in the Chicago Maroon, the University of Chicago newspaper. http://chicagomaroon.com/2009/5/15/professor-strives-to-test-economic-theories-in-real-life-experiments/
View the researchers’ presentation about the project.

http://www.griffin-foundation.org/areas/chicago-miracle-heights-project.html

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Related:

Tips for parent and teacher conferences http://drwilda.com/2012/11/07/tips-for-parent-and-teacher-conferences/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance http://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs http://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/parents-can-use-tax-deductions-to-pay-for-special-education-needs/

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents http://drwilda.com/2012/10/07/intervening-in-the-lives-of-truant-children-by-jailing-parents/

Making time for family dinner http://drwilda.com/2012/09/10/making-time-for-family-dinner/

Embracing parents as education leaders

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/28/embracing-parents-as-education-leaders/

Where information leads to Hope. Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Wisconsin study: Children who are mistreated have permanent scars on their brain

13 Nov

Moi wrote in University of Oregon study: Abusive parenting may have biological link: Moi wrote in University of Pittsburgh study: Harsh verbal discipline is not effective;
The question is how to find a balance between “Tiger Mom” and phony self-esteem.
In No one is perfect: People sometimes fail, moi said:
The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self- esteem. A discussion of values is often difficult, but the question the stage parent, over the top little league father, or out of control soccer mom should ask of themselves is what do you really and truly value? What is more important, your child’s happiness and self-esteem or your fulfilling an unfinished part of your life through your child? Joe Jackson, the winner of the most heinous stage parent award saw his dreams fulfilled with the price of the destruction of his children’s lives. Most people with a healthy dose of self-esteem and sanity would say this is too high a price.
http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/no-one-is-perfect-people-sometimes-fail/ http://drwilda.com/tag/is-tough-parenting-really-the-answer/

Science Daily reported in the article, Abusive Parenting May Have a Biological Basis:

Parents who physically abuse their children appear to have a physiological response that subsequently triggers more harsh parenting when they attempt parenting in warm, positive ways, according to new research….
Studies of child maltreatment have consistently found that parents who physically abuse their children tend to parent in more hostile, critical and controlling ways. Skowron’s team appears to have found evidence of a physiological basis for patterns of aversive parenting — the use of hostile actions such as grabbing an arm or hand or using negative verbal cues in guiding a child’s behavior — in a sample of families involved with Child Protective Services.
For the experiment, mothers and children were monitored to record changes in heart rate while playing together in the lab. Parenting behavior was scored to capture positive parenting and strict, hostile control using a standard coding system.
What emerged, Skowron said, were clear distinctions between abusive, neglectful and non-maltreating mothers in their physiological responses during parenting. When abusive mothers were more warm and nurturing, they began to experience more difficulty regulating their heart rate and staying calm. This physiological-based stress response then led the abusive mothers to become more hostile and controlling toward their child a short time later in the interaction.
The same was not the case for mothers who had been previously identified as being physically neglectful or for mothers with no history of neglectful or abusive parenting.
Participants in the National Institutes of Health-funded study were 141 mothers — 94 percent Caucasian with a high school degree or less and incomes at or below $30,000 — and their children, ranged in age from 3 to 5 years old. The research focuses on tracking the effects of physiology on parenting in real time.
“Abusive mothers who try to warmly support their child when the child faced a moderate challenge displayed a physiological response that suggested they’re stressed, on alert and preparing to defend against a threat of some kind,” said Skowron, a researcher at the Child and Family Center/Prevention Science Institute at the UO. “This kind of physiological response then led to a shift in an abusive mother becoming more hostile, strict, and controlling ways with her young child, regardless of how her child was behaving.”
The findings, she added, suggest that when physically abusive mothers experience being a nurturing parent they find it to be hard work. “It appears to quickly wear them out, perhaps because it challenges them in ways that lower-risk mothers don’t experience,” she said. “An abusive mother appears caught: When she does a good job with her child, it costs her physiologically, and it negatively affects her because it leads to more aversive parenting….”http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/13100.

http://drwilda.com/2013/10/16/university-of-oregon-study-abusive-parenting-may-have-biological-link/

A University of Wisconsin study examined the effect abusive parents have on their children.

Jon Hamilton of NPR reported in the story, Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain:

Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later on.
Brain scans of teenagers revealed weaker connections between the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus in both boys and girls who had been maltreated as children, a team from the University of Wisconsin reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Girls who had been maltreated also had relatively weak connections between the prefrontal cortex the amygdala.
Those weaker connections “actually mediated or led to the development of anxiety and depressive symptoms by late adolescence,” says Ryan Herringa, a psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin and one of the study’s authors.
Maltreatment can be physical or emotional, and it ranges from mild to severe. So the researchers asked a group of 64 fairly typical 18-year-olds to answer a questionnaire designed to assess childhood trauma. The teens are part of a larger study that has been tracking children’s social and emotional development in more than 500 families since 1994.
The participants were asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements like, “When I was growing up I didn’t have enough to eat,” or “My parents were too drunk or high to take care of the family,” or “Somebody in my family hit me so hard that it left me with bruises or marks.”
There were also statements about emotional and sexual abuse. The responses indicated that some had been maltreated in childhood while others hadn’t.
All of the participants had their brains scanned using a special type of MRI to measure the strength of connections among three areas of the brain involved in processing fear…http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/04/242945454/childhood-maltreatment-can-leave-scars-in-the-brain?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

Citation:

Childhood maltreatment is associated with altered fear circuitry and increased internalizing symptoms by late adolescence
1. Ryan J. Herringaa,1,2,
2. Rasmus M. Birna,b,1,
3. Paula L. Ruttlea,
4. Cory A. Burghyc,
5. Diane E. Stodolac,
6. Richard J. Davidsona,c,d, and
7. Marilyn J. Essexa,2
Author Affiliations
1. Edited by Huda Akil, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and approved October 7, 2013 (received for review June 6, 2013)
Significance
Childhood maltreatment is a major risk factor for internalizing disorders including depression and anxiety, which cause significant disability. Altered connectivity of the brain’s fear circuitry represents an important candidate mechanism linking maltreatment and these disorders, but this relationship has not been directly explored. Using resting-state functional brain connectivity in adolescents, we show that maltreatment predicts lower prefrontal–hippocampal connectivity in females and males but lower prefrontal–amygdala connectivity only in females. Altered connectivity, in turn, mediated the development of internalizing symptoms. These results highlight the importance of fronto–hippocampal connectivity for both sexes in internalizing symptoms following maltreatment. The additional impact on fronto–amygdala connectivity in females may help explain their higher risk for anxiety and depression.
Abstract
Maltreatment during childhood is a major risk factor for anxiety and depression, which are major public health problems. However, the underlying brain mechanism linking maltreatment and internalizing disorders remains poorly understood. Maltreatment may alter the activation of fear circuitry, but little is known about its impact on the connectivity of this circuitry in adolescence and whether such brain changes actually lead to internalizing symptoms. We examined the associations between experiences of maltreatment during childhood, resting-state functional brain connectivity (rs-FC) of the amygdala and hippocampus, and internalizing symptoms in 64 adolescents participating in a longitudinal community study. Childhood experiences of maltreatment were associated with lower hippocampus–subgenual cingulate rs-FC in both adolescent females and males and lower amygdala–subgenual cingulate rs-FC in females only. Furthermore, rs-FC mediated the association of maltreatment during childhood with adolescent internalizing symptoms. Thus, maltreatment in childhood, even at the lower severity levels found in a community sample, may alter the regulatory capacity of the brain’s fear circuit, leading to increased internalizing symptoms by late adolescence. These findings highlight the importance of fronto–hippocampal connectivity for both sexes in internalizing symptoms following maltreatment in childhood. Furthermore, the impact of maltreatment during childhood on both fronto–amygdala and –hippocampal connectivity in females may help explain their higher risk for internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression.
• child maltreatment

• sex differences

• ventromedial prefrontal cortex
Footnotes
• 1R.J.H. and R.M.B. contributed equally to this work.
• 2To whom correspondence may be addressed. E-mail: herringa@wisc.edu or mjessex@wisc.edu.
• Author contributions: R.J.H., R.J.D., and M.J.E. designed research; R.J.H., R.M.B., C.A.B., and M.J.E. performed research; R.J.H., R.M.B., P.L.R., C.A.B., D.E.S., and M.J.E. analyzed data; and R.J.H., R.M.B., P.L.R., C.A.B., R.J.D., and M.J.E. wrote the paper.
• The authors declare no conflict of interest.
• This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
• This article contains supporting information online at http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1310766110/-/DCSupplemental.

Helping parents and caretakers to respond appropriately to children is crucial to stopping the cycle of abuse.

Moi wrote in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.

In Parents As Partners in Early Education, the Council reports:

Researchers generally agree that parents and family are the primary influence on a child’s development. Parents, grandparents, foster parents and others who take on parenting
roles strongly affect language development, emotional growth, social skills and personality. High quality
early childhood programs engage parents as partners in early education, encouraging them to volunteer in programs, read to their children at home, or be involved in curriculum design. Good programs maintain strong communication with parents, learning more about the child from the family and working together with the family to meet each child’s needs. Some ECE programs include occasional home visits as a way of maintaining a relationship between the program and parents. These approaches are the more typical, standard way of involving parents in early childhood programs.

http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

http://drwilda.com/

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