A daily round-up of education news and views for the Sunshine State
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 Principal News
 A daily round-up of education news and views for the Sunshine State To add a recipient please click here
Wednesday, 20th October 2021





How to Teach with Primary Sources in Social Studies
How (and why) do you use primary sources in social studies instruction? Emily M. Schell, Ed.D., Executive Director of the California Global Education Project at the University of San Diego, details the importance of using primary sources to support agency, inquiry, and culturally sustaining pedagogy in social studies.
Read more.





Biden admin details plan to address students' mental health

The Biden administration has released a plan to address rising mental health concerns among students in schools across the country. The announcement came as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association put out a statement warning of a "mental health state of emergency" for children and adolescents. Between March and October 2020, mental health emergency visits increased 24% for children aged 5-11, and 31% for kids aged 12-17. There was also a more than 50% spike in visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17 in early 2021, compared to the same period in 2019. The U.S. Department of Education's new proposals, titled Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health, sets out seven critical areas of difficulty educators and care providers may experience when it comes to addressing the mental health of young people and includes a corresponding seven-point list of recommendations aimed at helping schools and providers improve the emotional well-being of students and children. It points to school districts and programs across the country, in states including New Jersey, California, Oregon and Vermont, that have already implemented successful techniques for improving students' mental health. Examples include a peer-based initiative for college students in California, youth advisory councils funded by the state legislature in Oregon and a program to support students of military families started by the Military Child Education Coalition.

CNN  U.S. Department of Education  Education Week 


Biden signs order to improve education for Black students

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order establishing two commissions within the Department of Education to improve education for Black students. One of the panels has been assigned to raise awareness around challenges for Black students and increase Black children's access to high-quality early childhood programs, among other projects, while the other will make recommendations to the president about educational equity and economic opportunity for the Black community. School districts with high concentrations of Black students are much more likely to be underfunded than districts where a majority of students are white, and face much wider funding gaps, with an average deficit of more than $5,000 per student, the White House said. It added that 26% of Black Americans aged 25 and above have attained a bachelor's degree, while the national average is 36%.





Palm Beach Board to vote on Mike Burke's contract

The Palm Beach County School Board will today vote to approve an official contract for Mike Burke, making him the permanent superintendent of the tenth-largest school district in America. Earlier this month, school board members expressed their unanimous support to keep Mr. Burke in the district's top spot and not conduct an outside search for superintendent. He has been with the District since 1998 and most recently served as its chief financial officer, responsible for maintaining the district's massive $4bn budget. Mr. Burke's annual salary through June 30, 2022 would be $300,000 with the opportunity to receive pay raises after that depending on his performance.



Martin County staff could receive bumper bonuses soon

Martin County School Board members finalized plans Tuesday for millions in pandemic relief funds to be sent to the Florida Department of Education for approval. Given the all clear, more than $1.7m could go to educators left out of the first round of bonuses back on May 26, exclusively for teachers and principals, given by the governor. "It's the right thing to do," said Karen Resciniti, president at Martin County Education Association. "You don't exclude people in the year when it was the worst year we've ever had." The full request for ESSER II funds totals more than $7m.



Osceola County consulting on ideas to help tackle school bus driver shortage

Osceola County, along with school districts across Florida and the wider nation, were struggling to hire school bus drivers even before classes started in August, prompting leaders to come up with new ideas to get students to and from school. About 23,000 Osceola County students take the bus daily and the district is desperately seeking at least 40 new qualified drivers. Officials are now considering a partnership with Lynx to help transport high school students to and from school. “The bus driver shortage has been just a tremendous challenge for our school district and most school districts across the country,” laments Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace. “We are still in preliminary discussions, so we’re certainly not ready to launch this project and there will definitely need to be communication for parents and, like I said, training for the students on how to ride the bus safely.”

Fox 35 Orlando 




Working families struggling to find child care

As Congress continues to debate a spending package that would expand child care and provide universal pre-K, parents across the U.S. are struggling to find ways to pay for the child care they now need. According to a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 34% of families with young children are facing serious problems finding child care when adults need to work, while 44% of households with children under age 18 have been facing serious financial problems. That figure jumps to 63% for Black families and 59% for Latino households. Some 36% of adults in households with children said they experienced serious problems meeting both their work and family responsibilities in the past few months.





Schools have 'once-in-a-generation' chance to improve infrastructure

Joseph Allen, DSc, MPH, associate professor and director of the healthy buildings program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Céline R. Gounder, MD, ScM, an internist, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital, suggest that Congress should have included specific guidance and standards for school districts to follow when upgrading buildings and facilities. They also cite a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers that found 53% of public schools need to update or replace building systems; 41% report problems with their HVAC; and 13,000 schools haven’t even assessed their facilities in the past 10 years.

The Hill 




Report offers pathways to building culturally-affirming schools

Recruiting a diverse staff and building a “family-like” school culture are among the key action steps more than 100 Black educators recommend school leaders follow in a recent report released by Teach Plus and the Center for Black Educator Development. The paper presented the findings of focus groups conducted during the spring and summer of 2020, compiling the perspectives of 105 Black teachers from across 12 states. It recommends  that leaders provide opportunities for teachers of color to participate in mentorship programs and focus groups to debrief their experiences, especially in schools with majority-white faculty, where Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or Asian educators may be one of just a few colleagues who share their racial identity. The study comes at the same time as new analysis from Michigan State University, which found that Michigan's Black teacher workforce declined 48% between 2005 and 2015, far outpacing overall declines in the size of the state’s educator corps. Many students moved to suburban districts with largely white teaching workforces, but those districts didn’t pick up the slack by hiring more Black teachers, the study says. During the same period, the number of African Americans entering traditional teacher training programs also fell. Michigan’s urban school districts haven been hobbled by a lack of funding, said Pamela Pugh, an elected member of the Michigan Board of Education. Indeed, the study notes that increased student-teacher ratios in city districts — likely a result of underfunding — also helped shrink the state’s Black educator corps.

Chalkbeat  The 74 

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