Tag Archives: Schools

Duke University study: Income-based school assignment policy influences diversity, achievement

3 Dec

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/us/class/shadowy-lines-that-still-divide.html    describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class   http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/index.html

Science Daily reported in Income-based school assignment policy influences diversity, achievement:

When Wake County Public Schools switched from a school assignment policy based on race to one based on socioeconomic status, schools became slightly more segregated, according to new research from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

However, segregation increased much more rapidly in four other large North Carolina school districts that simply dropped race-based strategies and did not attempt to pursue diversity in other ways.

“While we found some decline in the degree of racial diversity associated with Wake County schools after adoption of the socioeconomic plan versus the prior race-based plan, there was significantly less diversity in the school districts that were not using either plan,” said William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School.

In addition, Wake County math and reading scores rose slightly and the achievement gap between black and white students narrowed after the switch. In the four other N.C. districts, scores fell among black students after race-based school assignment stopped.

The research was published online in the journal Urban Education on Nov. 27.

“The main message is, we may not want to give up on using diversity-based policies to achieve integration and address opportunity gaps and achievement gaps,” said lead author Monique McMillian. McMillian, an educational psychologist, is an associate professor at Morgan State University in Maryland and an affiliate of Duke University’s Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality….                                                                                                                             http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151130182251.htm

Citation:

Income-based school assignment policy influences diversity, achievement

Date:      November 30, 2015

Source:   Duke University

Summary:

When public schools in Wake County, North Carolina switched from a school assignment policy based on race to one based on socioeconomic status, schools became slightly more segregated but the achievement gap lessened, according to new research.

Journal Reference:

  1. M. M. McMillian, S. Fuller, Z. Hill, K. Duch, W. A. Darity. Can Class-Based Substitute for Race-Based Student Assignment Plans? Evidence From Wake County, North Carolina. Urban Education, 2015; DOI: 10.1177/0042085915613554

Here is the press release from Duke University:

Mixed Results for Income-based K-12 Assignment

Segregation still increased in Wake County plan, but not as much as in other counties

November 30, 2015 |

Durham, NC – When Wake County Public Schools switched from a school assignment policy based on race to one based on socioeconomic status, schools became slightly more segregated, according to new research from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

However, segregation increased much more rapidly in four other large North Carolina school districts that simply dropped race-based strategies and did not attempt to pursue diversity in other ways.

“While we found some decline in the degree of racial diversity associated with Wake County schools after adoption of the socioeconomic plan versus the prior race-based plan, there was significantly less diversity in the school districts that were not using either plan,” said William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School.

In addition, Wake County math and reading scores rose slightly and the achievement gap between black and white students narrowed after the switch. In the four other N.C. districts, scores fell among black students after race-based school assignment stopped.

The research was published online in the journal Urban Education on Nov. 27.

“The main message is, we may not want to give up on using diversity-based policies to achieve integration and address opportunity gaps and achievement gaps,” said lead author Monique McMillian. McMillian, an educational psychologist, is an associate professor at Morgan State University in Maryland and an affiliate of Duke University’s Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality.

North Carolina school districts stopped using race-based assignment plans in the late 1990s after a series of court cases struck down the practice in various settings around the country.

In 2000, Wake implemented a new assignment policy based on income and achievement, in which no school would consist of more than 40 percent students receiving free or reduced lunch, nor more than 25 percent of students performing below grade level. (In 2010, the Wake County school board voted to stop using an income-based policy. However, income remains a component — albeit a smaller component — of the current assignment policy.)

McMillian saw the change as an opportunity to investigate how the different policies affect school integration and student achievement.

She, Darity and their colleagues analyzed data from Wake and four other large N.C. school districts: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cumberland County, Guilford County and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Like Wake, these school districts had previously used race-based assignment policies, but unlike Wake, they switched to a combination of neighborhood schools and school choice.

The researchers analyzed data from 1992 to 2009, including demographic data about schools and students, and 10 years of end-of-grade test scores for third through eighth graders.

McMillian said the study was largely descriptive. It’s not possible, therefore, to say whether the new school assignment policy alone caused Wake’s test score gains or reduced the achievement gap between white and black students. Other factors may have contributed as well, such as changes in other district policies or implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, she said.

McMillian said the study provides “tentative evidence that income-based assignment policies improve achievement and increase diversity.”

—–

CITATION: “Can Class-Based Substitute for Race-Based Student Assignment Plans?: Evidence from Wake County, N.C.” McMillian, M.M.; Fuller, S.C.; Hill, Z.; Duch, K.; and Darity, Jr., W.A. Urban Education. DOI: 10.1177/0042085915613554

More Information

Contact: Karen Kemp

Phone: (919) 613-7315

Email: kkemp@duke.edu

© 2015 Office of News & Communications
615 Chapel Drive, Box 90563, Durham, NC 27708-0563
(919) 684-2823; After-hours phone (for reporters on deadline): (919) 812-6603

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.   See, How do upper-class parents prepare their kids for success in the world? http://sandiegoeducationreport.org/talkingtokids.html

Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids. It is worth reviewing that post. https://drwilda.com/tag/class-segregation/ Lindsey Layton wrote in the Washington Post article, Schools dilemma for gentrifiers: Keep their kids urban, or move to suburbia?

When his oldest son reached school age, Michael Petrilli faced a dilemma known to many middle-class parents living in cities they helped gentrify: Should the family flee to the homogenous suburbs for excellent schools or stay urban for diverse but often struggling schools?

Petrilli, who lived in Takoma Park with his wife and two sons, was torn, but he knew more than most people about the choice before him. Petrilli is an education expert, a former official in the Education Department under George W. Bush and executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education think tank.
He set out to learn as much as he could about the risks and benefits of socioeconomically diverse schools, where at least 20 percent of students are eligible for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. And then he wrote about it….

Petrilli said he wanted his son to have friends from all backgrounds because he believes that cultural literacy will prepare him for success in a global society.

But he worried that his son might get lost in a classroom that has a high percentage of poor children, that teachers would be focused on the struggling children and have less time for their more privileged peers.
As Petrilli points out in the book, this dilemma doesn’t exist for most white, middle-class families. The vast majority — 87 percent — of white students attend majority white schools, Petrilli says, even though they make up just about 50 percent of the public school population.

And even in urban areas with significant African American and Latino populations, neighborhood schools still tend to be segregated by class, if not by race. In the Washington region, less than 3 percent of white public school students attend schools where poor children are the majority, according to Petrilli.

Gentrification poses new opportunities for policymakers to desegregate schools, Petrilli argues….

In the end, Petrilli moved from his Takoma Park neighborhood school — diverse Piney Branch Elementary, which is 33 percent low-income — to Wood Acres Elementary in Bethesda, where 1 percent of the children are low-income, 2 percent are black and 5 percent are Hispanic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/schools-dilemma-for-urban-gentrifiers-keep-their-kids-urban-or-move-to-suburbia/2012/10/14/02083b6c-131b-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.html

Often, schools are segregated by both race and class. Class identification is very important in education because of class and peer support for education achievement and the value placed on education by social class groups. Moi does not condemn Mr. Petrilli for doing what is best for his family because when the rubber meets the road that is what parents are supposed to do. His family’s situation is just an example of the intersection of race and class in education.

The lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This society cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century.

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Massachusetts study: School nurses provide economic benefit

2 Jun

The National Association of School Nurses provides the following information about school nurses:

How many school nurses are there in the United States?
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), there are 73,697 registered nurses working as school nurses (HRSA, 2010).

Click to access rnsurveyinitial2008.pdf

How are school nurses funded?
Local school district budget, state budget, EPSDT, Title I, Medicaid (accessed by only 42% of schools), and community sponsors. http://www.nasn.org/AboutNASN/FrequentlyAskedQuestions

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported in School Nurse Shortage May Imperil Some Children, RWJF Scholars Warn:

Demand for school nurses is growing.
Medical advances are allowing more premature babies and others with severe health conditions to survive into adulthood, but these children often require complex, continuous care at home and at school. There is a rising incidence of diseases with life-threatening implications such as diabetes, seizures, asthma, bleeding disorders, and severe allergies, according to a 2010 report on the future of nursing by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). And there is an increase in mental health disorders, such as substance abuse problems, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and aggression. “What we saw 20 years ago in acute care hospitals is what we’re seeing now in the schools,” Newell said.
Growing poverty rates are also taking a toll, Newell added. She sees students with rotting teeth who can’t afford dental care; students who share asthma inhalers and insulin strips with relatives because their families cannot afford enough supplies for each individual member; and students who go to school sick because their parents can’t afford to take unpaid time away from work to care for them.
Under these circumstances, an inadequate supply of school nurses can be deadly. In September, Laporshia Massey, 12, died after suffering a severe asthma attack at a Philadelphia school on a day when no nurse was present. Massey’s father has said that an on-site school nurse could have saved his daughter’s life. “We’re worried that more tragedies like this will occur” if students don’t have access to a school nurse, Maughan said.
A Vital Role
School nurses serve nearly 50 million students nationwide in nearly 100,000 public schools, according to the IOM report. They are a subset of the nation’s public health nursing workforce; learn more about this workforce in a 2013 RWJF report…. http://www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2013/12/School-Nurse-Shortage-May-Imperil-Some-Children.html

See, Are school nurses disappearing? http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/04/school.nurse.shortage.parenting/

Denisa Superville and Evie Blad reported in the Education Week article, Philadelphia Tragedy Highlights Role of School Nurses:

The value of full-time, registered school nurses is not limited to the medical assistance they provide; there is also an economic benefit to society, according to a study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers studied 78 Massachusetts districts that participated in the state’s Essential School Health Services Program during the 2009-10 school year to demonstrate the benefits of having a full-time registered nurse on staff. The program cost $79 million, but researchers estimated that it saved $20 million in medical-care costs; $28.1 million in parents’ productivity loss; and $129.1 million in teachers’ productivity loss, generating a net benefit of $98 million.
Despite their medical and economic value, nurses are often among the first to go when districts face budget constraints because not every state requires a nurse to be in every school building, according to experts in the field. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a ratio of one full-time, registered school nurse to every 750 students. The National Association of School Nurses suggests a lower ratio for schools with high numbers of students with special health needs, chronic illnesses, or developmental disabilities.
But in a 2013 survey of nearly 7,000 school nurses by the National Association of School Nurses, only 48 percent of respondents said they worked in environments that met or exceeded the federal recommendation—an improvement over 2011, when 43 percent met or exceeded that standard.
In the 2013 survey, 21.7 percent of the responding nurses reported that they covered several buildings and thus trained unlicensed co-workers to perform daily routines. And 16.2 percent of respondents said school nurse jobs in their areas had been threatened by cuts. Nearly 6 percent of nurses surveyed said other nurses in their district had been cut… http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/06/04/33philly_ep.h33.html?tkn=NYVF%2Fx9i5XFMOi7aMUx8sW20naBH5P%2FvtW78&intc=es

Citation:

Cost-Benefit Study of School Nursing Services
ONLINE FIRST
Li Yan Wang, MBA, MA1; Mary Vernon-Smiley, MD, MPH1; Mary Ann Gapinski, MSN, RN, NCSN2; Marie Desisto, RN, MSN3; Erin Maughan, PhD, MS, RN, APHN-BC4; Anne Sheetz, MPH, RN, NEA-BC2
[+] Author Affiliations
JAMA Pediatr. Published online May 19, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5441
ABSTRACT
ABSTRACT | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES
Importance In recent years, across the United States, many school districts have cut on-site delivery of health services by eliminating or reducing services provided by qualified school nurses. Providing cost-benefit information will help policy makers and decision makers better understand the value of school nursing services.
Objective To conduct a case study of the Massachusetts Essential School Health Services (ESHS) program to demonstrate the cost-benefit of school health services delivered by full-time registered nurses.
Design, Setting, and Participants Standard cost-benefit analysis methods were used to estimate the costs and benefits of the ESHS program compared with a scenario involving no school nursing service. Data from the ESHS program report and other published studies were used. A total of 477 163 students in 933 Massachusetts ESHS schools in 78 school districts received school health services during the 2009-2010 school year.
Interventions School health services provided by full-time registered nurses.
Main Outcomes and Measures Costs of nurse staffing and medical supplies incurred by 78 ESHS districts during the 2009-2010 school year were measured as program costs. Program benefits were measured as savings in medical procedure costs, teachers’ productivity loss costs associated with addressing student health issues, and parents’ productivity loss costs associated with student early dismissal and medication administration. Net benefits and benefit-cost ratio were calculated. All costs and benefits were in 2009 US dollars.
Results During the 2009-2010 school year, at a cost of $79.0 million, the ESHS program prevented an estimated $20.0 million in medical care costs, $28.1 million in parents’ productivity loss, and $129.1 million in teachers’ productivity loss. As a result, the program generated a net benefit of $98.2 million to society. For every dollar invested in the program, society would gain $2.20. Eighty-nine percent of simulation trials resulted in a net benefit.
Conclusions and Relevance The results of this study demonstrated that school nursing services provided in the Massachusetts ESHS schools were a cost-beneficial investment of public money, warranting careful consideration by policy makers and decision makers when resource allocation decisions are made about school nursing positions.

According to Truth About Nursing.org school nurses are a first defense against disease and injury. See, Why School Nurses Are Good for Children and Schools https://www.aft.org/pdfs/healthcare/value_schoolnurses.pdf

In Why do we need school nurses? Truth About Nursing summarizes the importance of school nurses:

School nurses save lives, increase student attendance and decrease early dismissals. Here’s what school nurses do. They:
• are the first line of defense against epidemics and disease outbreaks, monitoring the health of the overall population and connecting with public health officials;

• are the first responders to critical incidents on school property;

• provide direct health services for students;

• identify threats to health in the school community (peanut butter, dogs, traffic, broken equipment and facilities, bullies, lack of clean water or hand soap) and work to elimate those problems as a cause of ill health;

• provide leadership for the provision of health services, health policies and programs;

• provide a critical safety net for the most fragile students;

• provide screening and referral for health conditions such as vision, hearing;

• promote a healthy school environment;

• enable children with chronic health conditions to attend school;

• promote student health and learning;

• serve as a liaison between school personnel, family, community, and health care providers.
Important information from the National Association of School Nurses: http://www.nasn.org/
“The Role of the School Nurse” http://www.nasn.org/Portals/0/positions/2011psrole.pdf
Student-to-School Nurse Ratio Improvement Bills http://www.nasn.org/PolicyAdvocacy/StudenttoSchoolNurseRatioImprovementAct

Also see:
“Unlocking the Potential of School Nursing: Keeping Children Healthy, In School, and Ready to Learn,” by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. http://www.rwjf.org/en/research-publications/find-rwjf-research/2009/01/charting-nursings-future-archives/unlocking-the-potential-of-school-nursing.html http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/action/school_nurses.html#ixzz33YEv89BA

The study indicates that in the long run school nurses save money and increase the quality of life for children, their parents, and their communities. There is a nursing shortage and financially challenged school districts are in no position to compete for the scarce supply of nurses.

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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.
________________________________________
View the print-friendly version: PDF

Request a printed copy: Order Now
________________________________________
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.

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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
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Dr. Wilda ©
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Ya think? Met Life Teacher survey reports principals are very dissatisfied

21 Feb

Moi wrote in Are rules which limit choice hampering principal effectiveness?

As more emphasis is placed on holding schools accountable, more scrutiny is directed toward school leadership, particularly school principals. It is generally agreed that strong leadership at the school building level is essential for an effective school, the question is whether shool principals have the authority to accomplish their task? David Miller Sadker, PhD,  Karen R. Zittleman, PhD in Teachers, Schools, and Society list the characteristics of a strong school:

Factor 1: Strong Leadership

Factor 2: A Clear School Mission

Factor 3: A Safe and Orderly Climate

Factor 4: Monitoring Student Progress

A variety of commentators say that strong leadership is key to an effective school.

Gary Hopkins of Education World surveyed 43 principals and reported upon his findings in the article, Principals Identify Top Ten Leadership Traits:

The result of that survey is this list of the top ten traits of school leaders, presented in order of importance.

1. Has a stated vision for the school and a plan to achieve that vision.

2. Clearly states goals and expectations for students, staff, and parents.

3. Is visible — gets out of the office; is seen all over the school.

4. Is trustworthy and straight with students and staff.

5. Helps develop leadership skills in others.

6. Develops strong teachers; cultivates good teaching practice.

7. Shows that he or she is not in charge alone; involves others.

8. Has a sense of humor.

9. Is a role model for students and staff.

10. Offers meaningful kindnesses and kudos to staff and students. http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin190.shtml

Again, there is an emphasis on leadership. https://drwilda.com/2012/04/08/are-rules-which-limit-choice-hampering-principal-effectiveness/

Liana Heiten reports in the Education Week article, Survey Finds Rising Job Frustration Among Principals:

The 29th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher,Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader based on telephone interviews with 1,000 K-12 public school teachers and 500 principals, tells a story of enduring budget problems in schools and declining morale among both teachers and school leaders. (The MetLife Foundation provides funding to Education Week Teacher to support its capacity to engage teachers interactively in professional community.)

According to the survey, conducted for MetLife Inc. by Harris Interactive, the majority of principals say school leadership responsibilities have changed significantly over the last five years. Nearly half of principals surveyed indicated that they “feel under great stress several days a week.” And job satisfaction among principals has decreased notably, from 68 percent indicating they were “very satisfied” in 2008 to 59 percent saying so in this year’s survey.

While weighted to key demographic variables to reflect a national sample, the survey does not have an estimated sampling error.

When asked about the main obstacles they face, 83 percent of school leaders rate “addressing individual student needs” as “challenging” or “very challenging.” Seventy-eight percent rate managing the budget and resources as challenging or very challenging—an unsurprising figure given that more than half of principals also report their school’s budget decreased in the last year, and 35 percent say it remained flat.

I’ve always said the worst time to be a principal is during a tight budget time, and this survey holds that up,” Mel Riddile, associate director of high school services for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said during a MetLife-hosted webinar for reporters on Feb. 20.

Principals were also likely to point to parent engagement and implementing the Common Core State Standards as significant challenges. Evaluating teacher effectiveness ranked lower on the list, with 53 percent of principals indicating it is a challenge.

Lack of Control

The survey finds that many principals view key challenges facing their schools as being outside of their control. For example, only 22 percent of principals say they have “a great deal of control in making decisions about finances.”

Steven Tozer, coordinator of the urban education leadership program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in an interview that, given that “as much as 80 percent of a [district] budget is dedicated to personnel, there are precious little dollars known as discretionary. I’m actually surprised that figure is as high as it is.”

According the MetLife Survey, only 43 percent of principals say they have control when it comes to removing teachers, while 42 percent say they have control over curriculum and instruction. More than three-fourths of principals, however, do acknowledge having control over teacher hiring and schedules.

Even as they report a lack of control over key factors, principals report feeling a great sense of responsibility for day-to-day goings on in their buildings: Nine in 10 principals indicate that “the principal should be held accountable for everything that happens to the children in his or her school.”http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/21/22leaders.h32.html?tkn=OZOF%2FQlsgyUvU1qnrghHPbe7nzGWFJL%2FotmQ&cmp=clp-edweek

Citation:

MetLife Survey of the American Teacher Overview

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, conducted annually since 1984 by Harris Interactive, shares the voices of teachers and others close to the classroom with educators, policy makers and the public. The Survey findings also inform MetLife Foundation’s support for education.

New Survey

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership examines the views of teachers and principals on the responsibilities and challenges facing school leaders, including the changing roles of principals and teachers, budget and resources, professional satisfaction, and implementation of the Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness (2012).

Previous Surveys

The entire MetLife Survey of the American Teacher series is now available online at the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) website: http://eric.ed.gov. ERIC document (ED)      https://www.metlife.com/metlife-foundation/what-we-do/student-achievement/survey-american-teacher.html?WT.mc_id=vu1101

Here are the major findings of the 2013 survey:

Major Findings

Principals take responsibility for leadership of their schools.

Nine in 10 (89%) principals say that ultimately a principal should be held accountable for everything that happens to the children in a school; 74% of teachers agree in 2012, compared with 60% in 1989.

The job of principal is becoming more complex and stressful.

Three-quarters (75%) of principals feel the job has become too complex.

Seven in 10 (69%) principals say the job responsibilities are not very similar to five years ago.

Job satisfaction among principals has decreased nine percentage points in less than five years, to 59% very satisfied from 68% very satisfied in 2008.

Half (48%) of principals feel under great stress several days a week.

Only about four in 10 principals say they have a great deal of control over curriculum and instruction (42%), and making decisions about removing teachers (43%).

Teachers take leadership in schools and think principals are doing a good job.

Half (51%) of teachers have a leadership role in their school, such as department chair, instructional resource, teacher mentor, or leadership team member.

Half (51%) of teachers are at least somewhat interested in teaching in the classroom part-time combined with other roles or responsibilities in their school or district, including 23% who are extremely or very interested in this option.

Eighty-five percent of teachers rate the job their principal is doing as excellent or pretty good.

Nearly all principals (98%) rate the teachers in their school as doing an excellent or pretty good job.

Most teachers (69%) say they are not at all interested in becoming a principal.

The biggest challenges leaders face are beyond the capacity of schools alone to address.

More than half of principals (53%) and teachers (56%) report that their school’s budget has decreased in the past 12 months.

Half (50%) of teachers and 40% of principals say managing the school budget and resources to meet school needs is very challenging; overall, 86% of teachers and 78% of principals say this is challenging or very challenging for school leaders.

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership

More than seven in 10 educators identify addressing the individual needs of diverse learners (83% of principals; 78% of teachers) and engaging parents and the community in improving education for students (72% of principals; 73% of teachers) as challenging or very challenging for school leaders.

Principals and teachers have similar views on academic challenges, but diverge somewhat on their priorities for leadership.

A majority of educators say implementing the Common Core State Standards (67% of principals; 59% of teachers), creating and maintaining an academically rigorous environment (64% of principals; 62% of teachers), and evaluating teacher effectiveness (53% of principals; 56% of teachers) are challenging or very challenging.

Principals are most likely to say it is very important for principals to be able to use data about student performance to improve instruction (85%) and to lead development of strong teaching capacity across the school (84%) to be an effective school leader.

Teachers are most likely to say it is very important for a principal to have been a classroom teacher (79%) and give less importance to leading the development of strong teaching capacity across the school (69%) and using data about student performance to improve instruction (53%). 

Teacher satisfaction continues to decline.

Teacher satisfaction has declined 23 percentage points since 2008, from 62% to 39% very satisfied, including five percentage points since last year, to the lowest level in 25 years.

Half (51%) of teachers report feeling under great stress several days a week, an increase of 15 percentage points over 36% of teachers reporting that level in 1985.

Less satisfied teachers are more likely than very satisfied teachers to be in schools where budgets declined in the last 12 months (61% vs. 47%) and to identify maintaining an adequate supply of effective teachers (58% vs. 43%) and creating and maintaining an academically rigorous learning environment (66% vs. 56%) as challenging or very challenging for school leaders.

Less satisfied teachers are more likely to be located in schools that had declines in professional development (21% vs. 14%) and in time for collaboration with other teachers (29% vs. 16%) in the last 12 months.

Nearly all teachers (97%) give high ratings to other teachers in their schools. 

Challenges cited by educators are greater in high-needs schools.

More principals find it challenging to maintain an adequate supply of effective teachers in urban schools (60% vs. 43% in suburban schools and 44% in rural schools) and in schools with two-thirds or more low-income students (58% vs. 37% in schools with one-third or fewer).

Principals in schools with at least two-thirds low-income students are more likely than those with one-third or fewer to say that engaging parents and the community in improving the education of students (86% vs. 46%) is very challenging or challenging.

Principals who feel great stress several days a week are more likely to work in schools where no more than some students are performing at or above grade level in English language arts or math (57% vs. 43% of those in schools where most students perform at or above grade level).

In schools with at least two-thirds low-income students, 37% of principals and 27% of teachers say that most of their students are performing at or above grade level. In contrast, in schools with one third or fewer low-income students, 91% of principals and 83% of teachers say that most of their students are achieving at this level.

Teachers and principals in schools with more than two-thirds low-income students are less likely than those in schools with one-third or fewer low-income students to give their teachers an excellent rating (48% vs. 73% for teachers; and 51% vs. 75% for principals). 

Educators are confident about implementing the Common Core, less so about its potential for increasing student success.

Nine in 10 principals (93%) and teachers (92%) say they are knowledgeable about the Common Core.

Nine in 10 principals (90%) and teachers (93%) believe that teachers in their schools already have the academic skills and abilities to implement the Common Core in their classrooms.

Teachers and principals are more likely to be very confident that teachers have the ability to implement the Common Core (53% of teachers; 38% of principals) than they are very confident that the Common Core will improve the achievement of students (17% of teachers; 22% of principals) or better prepare students for college and the workforce (20% of teachers; 24% of principals).

A majority of teachers (62%) and a smaller proportion of principals (46%) say teachers in their schools are already using the Common Core a great deal in their teaching this year. https://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/foundation/MetLife-Teacher-Survey-2012.pdf

Strong leadership is essential for struggling schools. Strong leadership requires not only accountability, but authority.

Related:

New research: School principal effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/new-research-school-principal-effectiveness/

Are rules which limit choice hampering principal effectiveness?                                                        https://drwilda.com/2012/04/08/are-rules-which-limit-choice-hampering-principal-effectiveness/

Study: There is lack of information about principal evaluation https://drwilda.com/2013/02/06/study-there-is-lack-of-information-about-principal-evaluation/

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‘Homegrown’ principal training

5 Dec

Moi wrote in Are rules which limit choice hampering principal effectiveness?

As more emphasis is placed on holding schools accountable, more scrutiny is directed toward school leadership, particularly school principals. It is generally agreed that strong leadership at the school building level is essential for an effective school, the question is whether shool principals have the authority to accomplish their task? David Miller Sadker, PhD,  Karen R. Zittleman, PhD in Teachers, Schools, and Society list the characteristics of a strong school:

Factor 1: Strong Leadership

Factor 2: A Clear School Mission

Factor 3: A Safe and Orderly Climate

Factor 4: Monitoring Student Progress

A variety of commentators say that strong leadership is key to an effective school. https://drwilda.com/2012/04/08/are-rules-which-limit-choice-hampering-principal-effectiveness/

Many school districts are focusing on “homegrown” principal training.

Jaclyn Zubrzycki reports in the Education Week article, More Principals Learn the Job in Real Schools:

A growing number of principal-preparation initiatives are forsaking university classrooms in favor of much more familiar training grounds: the schools and districts where those aspiring leaders will end up working.

Through coaching and mentorship initiatives, residencies and internships, and other new programs, both districts and university education schools are turning their focus to building practical readiness, in context, and offering continued learning and support for principals already on the job.

Traditional principal-training programs “haven’t been as connected to the realities of the profession as they need to be,” said Dick Flanary, the deputy executive director of programs and services for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, based in Alexandria, Va. “Universities talk about preparation, and school districts talk about readiness.”

Leadership-training programs in Philadelphia; Chicago; Prince George’s County, Md.; Gwinnett County, Ga.; Denver; New York City; and elsewhere all aim to give aspiring principals—and in some cases, even struggling midcareer principals—context-specific advice and support from experienced educators. And, in a similar vein, districts in Sarasota County, Fla., in New York state’s middle Hudson Valley region, and elsewhere have created homegrown leadership academies and career tracks to supplement university-based principal-certification programs with hands-on experience, mentoring programs, and training in district-specific information and initiatives.

Filling the Gap

“Homegrown programs often set out to fill a gap” in the training provided by traditional principal-certification programs, said Cheryl L. King, the director of leadership for learning innovation at the Education Development Center, a Waltham, Mass.-based nonprofit organization that evaluates and designs education programs and provides self-assessments for university and district leadership programs.

Related Stories

Related Opinion

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/05/13principal.h32.html?tkn=QUSFcu3mSdxc4Y%2B1DXjggZiaioHL%2BKiuu27u&cmp=clp-edweek

See, Principals Matter: School Leaders Can Drive Student Learning http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Karin%20Chenoweth/principals-matter-school-_b_1252598.html?ref=email_share

Moi wrote in New research: School principal effectiveness:

In lay person speak, what they are saying is that a strong principal is a strong leader for his or her particular school. A strong principal is particularly important in schools which face challenges. Now, we get into the manner in which strong principals interact with their staff – is it an art or is it a science? What makes a good principal can be discussed and probably depends upon the perspective of those giving an opinion, but Gary Hopkins of Education World summarizes the thoughts of some educators:

Top Ten Traits of School Leaders

Last month, 43 of the Education World Principal Files principals participated in a survey. The result of that survey is this list of the top ten traits of school leaders, presented in order of importance.

1. Has a stated vision for the school and a plan to achieve that vision.

2. Clearly states goals and expectations for students, staff, and parents.

3. Is visible — gets out of the office; is seen all over the school.

4. Is trustworthy and straight with students and staff.

5. Helps develop leadership skills in others.

6. Develops strong teachers; cultivates good teaching practice.

7. Shows that he or she is not in charge alone; involves others.

8. Has a sense of humor.

9. Is a role model for students and staff.

10. Offers meaningful kindnesses and kudos to staff and students.

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin190.shtml

These traits can be summarized that a strong principal is a leader with a vision for his or her school and who has the drive and the people skills to take his or her teachers and students to that vision. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/07/new-research-school-principal-effectiveness/

Resources:

The Performance Indicators for Effective Principal Leadership in Improving Student Achievement                                                                                     http://mdk12.org/process/leading/p_indicators.html

Effective Schools: Managing the Recruitment, Development, and Retention of High-quality Teachers                                                         http://www.caldercenter.org/upload/Effective-Schools_CALDER-Working-Paper-37-3.pdf

What makes a great principal?                                             http://www.greatschools.org/improvement/quality-teaching/189-what-makes-a-great-principal-an-audio-slide-show.gs

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 ©                                                                                     https://drwilda.com/

 

 

Are rules which limit choice hampering principal effectiveness?

8 Apr

As more emphasis is placed on holding schools accountable, more scrutiny is directed toward school leadership, particularly school principals. It is generally agreed that strong leadership at the school building level is essential for an effective school, the question is whether shool principals have the authority to accomplish their task? David Miller Sadker, PhD,  Karen R. Zittleman, PhD in Teachers, Schools, and Society list the characteristics of a strong school:

Factor 1: Strong Leadership

Factor 2: A Clear School Mission

Factor 3: A Safe and Orderly Climate

Factor 4: Monitoring Student Progress

A variety of commentators say that strong leadership is key to an effective school.

Gary Hopkins of Education World surveyed 43 principals and reported upon his findings in the article, Principals Identify Top Ten Leadership Traits:

The result of that survey is this list of the top ten traits of school leaders, presented in order of importance.

1. Has a stated vision for the school and a plan to achieve that vision.

2. Clearly states goals and expectations for students, staff, and parents.

3. Is visible — gets out of the office; is seen all over the school.

4. Is trustworthy and straight with students and staff.

5. Helps develop leadership skills in others.

6. Develops strong teachers; cultivates good teaching practice.

7. Shows that he or she is not in charge alone; involves others.

8. Has a sense of humor.

9. Is a role model for students and staff.

10. Offers meaningful kindnesses and kudos to staff and students.

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin190.shtml

Again, there is an emphasis on leadership.

Charmaine Loever describes What Makes A Principal Effective?

A good principal creates a vision of high standards which is later imparted to all stakeholders. It is one that calls for excellence, is strong, clear, and is articulated in such a way that employees are convinced to “buy in” to it….

 Having a strong character is one of the qualities of an effective principal. Such a leader demonstrates self-control, will power, persistence, confidence, is well organized, and consistent. …

An outstanding principal doesn’t get easily agitated in the face of turmoil, but remains calm and is level headed. Principals who remain calm in unpleasant situations also demonstrate strength of character. They possess sound judgment which causes them to frequently make good decisions. As a result, they earn the trust and the respect of the people around them….

The effective principal shows empathy.
These school understand what it is like to be in the classroom and therefore are not quick to
pass judgment. They support their teachers and defend them in any way possible. Teachers enjoy working with, and appreciate principals who can identify with their situation….

An exceptional principal celebrates the achievements of all staff members and shuns discrimination.
These principals know that celebrating the accomplishments of all employees will motivate them to do their best.It is unfortunate that some practice favoritism, as this is one of the negative components that they need to strive to eradicate from the school environment. …

An effective principal includes all stakeholders in the decision making process. These administrators are cognizant of the fact that it takes teamwork to build an effective school….

Being a good role model is one of the essential characteristics of an exceptional school administrator. Principals need to conduct themselves in ways that teachers, students, parents, and other community members would want to emulate….

Chester E. Finn Jr. agrees that strong leadership is essential for effective schools, but he questions whether principals have the freedom to lead. Finn, is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank. He is also senior editor of Education Next.

Finn writes in the Atlantic article, Why School Principals Need More Authority:

A venerable maxim of successful organizational management declares that an executive’s authority should be commensurate with his or her responsibility. In plain English, if you are held to account for producing certain results, you need to be in charge of the essential means of production.

In American public education today, however, that equation is sorely unbalanced. A school principal in 2012 is accountable for student achievement, for discipline, for curriculum and instruction, and for leading (and supervising) the staff team, not to mention attracting students, satisfying parents, and collaborating with innumerable other agencies and organizations.

Yet that same principal controls only a tiny part of his school’s budget, has scant say over who teaches there, practically no authority when it comes to calendar or schedule, and minimal leverage over the curriculum itself. Instead of deploying all available school assets in ways that would do the most good for the most kids, the principal is required to follow dozens or hundreds of rules, program requirements, spending procedures, discipline codes, contract clauses, and regulations emanating from at least three levels of government–none of which strives to coordinate with any of the others.

In short, we give our school heads the responsibility of CEO’s but the authority of middle-level bureaucrats…

To top it off, today’s school principals get paid barely more than the senior teachers in their schools, though they typically work year-round versus the classic 180-day, 9-month teacher contract.

No wonder principals are retiring in droves. No wonder many of our ablest young educators –such as those emerging from the Teach for America program — shun the principal’s office, at least in district-operated schools. (Many gravitate to the charter-school sector, where principals have far greater authority.) No wonder entrepreneurs, risk-takers, and change agents seldom last long as principals, or that many of those who do endure are people content in middle-manager roles….

The underlying causes are threefold.

First, a dysfunctional and archaic governance structure for public education that pays homage to “local control” yet turns into bureaucratic management of dozens or hundreds of schools from burgeoning “central offices,” rather than vesting any real control at the level closest to teachers, students, and parents. Setting policy for that system, typically, is an elected school board that itself has grown dysfunctional, particularly in urban America, as adult interest groups manipulate who serves on it. Atop all this sit state and federal agencies — multiple agencies at each level — as well as (in many states) county or regional administrative units.

Second, we’ve layered so many responsibilities on our schools that the teaching and learning of basic skills and essential knowledge has all but vanished under efforts to rectify injustice, foster diversity, provide multiple services to kids with varying needs, prevent drug abuse, adolescent pregnancy and obesity, forge character, keep children off the streets, ensure physical fitness, and observe a near-infinity of special events, holidays, and interest-group enthusiasm.

Third, every time something goes wrong anywhere, a blizzard of new rules and procedures descends upon the school’s obligations, lest that mishap recur anywhere else. Whether it’s bullying or a playground accident, an unwanted intruder or a disgruntled parent, a kid who doesn’t get into a particular course or a library book that offends someone, the checklists, regulations, and prohibitions multiply.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/04/why-school-principals-need-more-authority/255183/#.T4B6AiJ3JJZ.email

Finn does not have one solution as to how the rules which inhibit principals accomplishing the task of leading their schools and making them more effective can be loosened. It will be a state by state struggle and not to mention some of the mandates at the federal level. Still, people must have the tools to effectively do their jobs.

Strong leadership is essential for struggling schools. Strong leadership requires not only accountability, but authority.

Related:

New research: School principal effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/new-research-school-principal-effectiveness/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©