September 2, 2020
Featured News
According to a new report, more students are experiencing anxiety and depression, which is forcing schools to prioritize mental health over academics. Around the country, school leaders are trying to anticipate how mental health issues will impact students and how those issues will potentially increase as the school year progresses. Schools are offering grief counseling to teachers and training them to recognize signs of distress among students, while also encouraging them to attend to their own emotional wellbeing. There is evidence that children’s capacity to regulate their emotions affects their ability to learn, which elevates the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL). The report points out that in addition to the pandemic, the racial tension students are experiencing has only compounded the stress many students are feeling. 

Unfortunately, given the state of the economy, the resources needed to address the myriad of mental health needs among students are, in many cases, not available. For example, in Tennessee, a commitment to mental health services for schools was cut from the state budget this summer when a revenue shortfall required cuts. Overall, efforts to help kids are expensive, and when budgets are tight, one of the first things cut is school counseling services. Nationally, school counselors serve on average more than 430 students each. It is not clear whether or not schools will have the resources they need to help students when they need it most. 


Resources and Connections

UnboundEd has developed a toolkit designed to disrupt inequity. Disrupting Inequity: Having Brave Conversations About Bias contains PowerPoint presentations, materials, notes, resources, and activities designed to help educators move through each part of the conversation.  The toolkit includes three components--Introducing Bias, The Historical Perspective About Race in America, and How Does Bias Manifest in Our School? 

Learning Policy Institute (LPI) has developed a set of research-based recommendations that focus on how policymakers and educators can support equitable, effective teaching, and learning in-person and online. LPI has curated resources in Restarting and Reinventing School: Learning in the Time of COVID and Beyond.

The Buck Institute for Education has developed recommendations for using Project-Based Learning (PBL) with trauma-informed teaching. Given the global pandemic and rising racial tensions, it is essential to address students’ “holistic needs.” PBL can be used to reflect culturally responsive pedagogy and can work in tandem with socio-emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-informed practice. These recommendations can be implemented with online or in-person instruction.



In The News

There is Nothing Fragile About Racism (opinion)
Education Week

Writer Bettina Love writes about the lack of fragility in racism. She draws on the work of Robin DiAngelo, whose book, White Fragility, draws a stark contrast to racism. She goes on to discuss the K-12 context wherein many students never have a teacher of color and how white students are never “challenged to disrupt their learned racism.”

How Many Coronavirus Cases Are Happening in Schools? This Tracker Keeps Count
The National Education Association (NEA) has developed a tracker to keep track of the cases of COVID-19 in public K-12 schools. So users will know where the data come from, links to the source of the data are included in the tracker. The tracker was initially designed by a teacher in Kansas who could not find reliable data about positive cases and virus spread in schools. 

COVID in the Classroom? Some Schools Are Keeping it Quiet
The New York Times
As schools reopen, some districts report COVID-positive cases daily. Some even going so far as to use online dashboards to share test reports and quarantine counts. But other school districts are not disclosing any information. Citing privacy concerns and, in some instances, state laws that prohibit the disclosure of the information, much to the dismay of parents and public health officials, information about infection rates are not being shared.

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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