Academic Success for Students in Foster Care Begins with Strong Partnerships Between Child Welfare and Education Systems | Big Indy News
Connect with us

Uncategorized

Academic Success for Students in Foster Care Begins with Strong Partnerships Between Child Welfare and Education Systems

Published

on

By: Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Ruth Ryder, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), U.S. Department of Education

The 2021-2022 school year has come to a close. As students begin their summer break, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) come together to highlight the significant work that American educators and child welfare professionals have done to support students in foster care; to provide information about resources available for schools to support students in foster care; and to provide information about federal collaboration and efforts in this space.

First, we want to thank the American educator—and child welfare agency workforce who support students in foster care every day. We are thankful for the tireless work of professionals—including teachers, social workers, and counselors—who strive to ensure that a student’s engagement with the child welfare system does not have an adverse impact on that student’s academic experiences and opportunities to succeed. We are especially grateful that educators and child welfare staff have collaborated so effectively in neighborhood schools, as well as at the district and state levels. Partnership and shared goals are crucial to ensuring that students in foster care have unfettered access to the supports they need. Both child welfare professionals and educators have a responsibility to encourage all students in foster care to reach their academic goals by providing access to resources that help support the social and emotional well-being of children in foster care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a life altering event for students, families, educators, school support staff and the child welfare workforce. More than 140,000 children’s lives were permanently changed by the loss of a mother, father, or grandparent caregiver, and children of racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 65% of those who lost a primary caregiver due to the pandemic.1 Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, students in foster care faced unique barriers to succeeding in school and graduating from high school. Moreover, the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect2 on low-income and traditionally underserved student populations, especially students in foster care and children of color. Therefore, we want to acknowledge the role that educators and child welfare professionals have long played in supporting the mental health of students of all ages and families before and during the pandemic. We further emphasize how important it is to ensure that the professionals who support students and families also have access to the services needed to foster their own emotional wellness. We will continue to share and uplift best practices and resources3 aimed at supporting the wellness and mental health needs of students, their families, and the child welfare and education professionals who support them.

Though the pandemic added stress to the lives of students in foster care and the adults who support them, it also resulted in an influx of resources being available to help these students. State educational agencies and school districts can use Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds, including the ESSER funds allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to provide an array of supports to students in foster care to help them navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Details are available here. In addition, the Full-Service Community Schools[4] program improves the coordination, integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for children and families through parent leadership, family literacy, mentoring, youth development programs, and activities that can improve access to and use of social service programs, programs that promote family financial stability, and mental health services. Further, President Biden’s proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Education for Fiscal Year 2023 includes $30 million designated for a new program designed to improve the educational outcomes for students in foster care. ED believes this program will enable educational agencies to establish partnerships with child welfare agencies to better address the unique needs of students in foster care. Finally, additional funding for the Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood, provided through Division X of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, also remains available through expenditure through September 30, 2022. Information on this funding is available here.5

In conclusion, ED and HHS are committed to extending our collaboration in tangible ways at the federal level. Our agencies intend to co-host a webinar this fall – co-designed with young adults who experienced foster care – to share best practices on how state and community partners are designing academic programming for students in foster care. Through this webinar, we hope to promote understanding of the experiences of students in foster care; underscore the importance of interagency collaboration at the federal, state, and local levels to support this student population; and demonstrate effective partnerships between child welfare and educational agencies. 

To learn more about our agencies’ shared commitment to ensure that students in foster care are able to meet their full academic potential, please visit our webpages at https://oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-formula-grants/school-support-and-accountability/students-foster-care/ (ED) and https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/service-array/education-services/educational-stability/ (HHS).   


1 S Hillis, et al. Covid-19-Associated Orphanhood and Caregiver Death in the United States. Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2021-053760.

2 Education in a Pandemic: The Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 on America’s Students https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/20210608-impacts-of-covid19.pdf.

3 Children’s Bureau (2022) Tip Sheet on Responding to Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Needs. Division X. Technical Assistance.

4 Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Full Service Community Schools Programs.  https://oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/school-choice-improvement-programs/full-service-community-schools-program-fscs/.

5 ACYF-CB-PI-21-04. Guidance and instruction related to the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act, Division X of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Public Law (P.L.) 116-260, enacted December 27, 2020.



Read the full article here

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Uncategorized

Four Students Are Injured in Shooting Near Philadelphia High School

Published

on

Four teenage students were injured in a shooting near a high school in West Philadelphia on Wednesday, just after classes were dismissed for Thanksgiving break, the authorities said.

The students, two 15-year-old girls and two 16-year-old boys, were taken to hospitals and were in stable condition, John Stanford, first deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The shooting happened just after 11:30 a.m. outside a beauty salon and about a block from Overbrook High School. Deputy Commissioner Stanford said a group of students had been standing outside the salon when someone inside a passing silver S.U.V. fired at them.

The police did not name the victims. One 15-year-old girl suffered gunshot wounds to her left shoulder and left thigh, and the other 15-year-old girl suffered a gunshot wound to her left shoulder, the police said in a statement. A 16-year-old boy was shot in the left hand and had a graze wound on his face, and the other 16-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to his right leg.

The police said that no arrests had been made and no weapon had been recovered. Deputy Commissioner Stanford said it was too early in the investigation to know if the students had been targeted.

“Just another incident of gun violence in our city,” he said at the news conference.

Gun violence in Philadelphia has been particularly bad this year. More than 1,400 people in the city had been shot as of August, a higher toll than in the much larger cities of New York and Los Angeles. Officials are struggling to respond to the number of guns on the street. For every illegal gun seized by the police in Philadelphia between 1999 and 2019, about three guns were bought or sold legally, according to a city report released this year.

“We’re going to have to have some real serious help to get our arms around our city problem with these guns,” Tony B. Watlington, the Philadelphia schools superintendent, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

In September, a 14-year-old student, Nicolas Elizalde, was killed and four others were injured in a shooting near Roxborough High School. The five teenagers were leaving the field after a football scrimmage when the shooting occurred. Roxborough High School is about five miles north of Overbrook.

Four people between the ages of 15 and 21 have been arrested in connection with the Roxborough High School shooting.

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Sizing Up the First ‘Normal’ School Year

Published

on

The busy holiday season is here, and before we know it, many of us will be gathering for parties, visiting relatives and ringing in the New Year with friends. (Now is a good time to stock up on at-home rapid tests and high-quality masks and to consider getting an updated booster, if you haven’t already.)

Schools are also winding down the first half of what, by many accounts, was the first truly back-to-normal school year since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

As we approach winter break, we thought we’d take a look at how the school year is unfolding during this stage of the pandemic. I spoke with my colleague Sarah Mervosh, who covers education.

What has the school year looked like so far?

Masks are not required in an estimated 99 percent of districts, according to Burbio, a school tracking site. I think by and large there’s a recognition in schools that the coronavirus is here to stay, and we’re learning to live with it.

Last year, we heard a lot about behavioral issues and mental health issues. Students were still adjusting from the traumas and the disruptions of the pandemic and adjusting to being back in the classroom. But this year, I’m hearing less about that and more about the urgency around helping students recover academically.

How are students doing academically?

During the pandemic, kids learned less. We got a sense of how seriously they were affected this fall with the results of a key national test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which tests fourth and eighth graders in math and reading. The results were pretty devastating.

Eighth grade math scores fell in 49 out of 50 states. Only about a quarter of eighth graders were proficient, down from about a third in 2019. Fourth graders fared a little better: There were declines in 41 states in math, with just 36 percent of fourth graders proficient in the subject, down from 41 percent in 2019. Reading ability declined a bit less across the board, but scores still fell in more than half the states. In both fourth and eighth grade, only about one in three kids were proficient.

The stakes are high for kids because establishing literacy in early elementary school is important for their future success in high school and beyond. Similarly, it’s important for eighth graders to be set up for success as high school freshmen, a crucial transition year. And districts and schools are on a tight timetable to use pandemic relief money to help kids catch up.

How so?

There were three rounds of pandemic relief funding, and the last one, at $123 billion, was the federal government’s single largest investment in American schools. That’s about $2,400 per student. At least 20 percent of the money has to be spent on academic recovery and needs to be allocated by 2024. This is a big year for actually spending the money and getting the interventions that kids need.

What approaches are working?

There has been a lot of focus on tutoring. When done in small groups of three to four students with a trained tutor multiple times a week during the school day, it can be quite effective. It can be even more effective than lowering class sizes, for example, or summer school.

Some experts have advocated extending the school day or year, and lots of places are doing summer school. No one strategy is going to be the thing that is potent enough to help kids recover.

What about the argument that every child experienced the pandemic, so if they’re all a little behind, it might make less of a difference?

This is a very important question. I can see why it’s appealing to say, “Well, everyone was affected, so why does it really matter? This whole cohort of children is sort of in a similar place.” But that’s not actually true.

We know that in fourth grade math, for example, Black, Hispanic and Native American students lost more ground than white and Asian students. This deepened divides in outcomes, because white and Asian students were already scoring at a higher level for many reasons, which include structural societal advantages. And we are also seeing a troubling drop-off among the country’s lowest-performing students, particularly among younger students and in reading. So it is the very students who were struggling most coming into the pandemic who were most affected, and will now need the most help.

What does the future look like?

The pandemic and everything that came with it disrupted kids’ lives in huge ways. So that means that this recovery is going to need to be long-term. I’ve talked to people who are concerned that one day, when this is all sort of in the rearview mirror, we’re going to forget that the pandemic happened and we’re going to blame some kids for being behind. Or we’re going to say, “Well, these kids recovered from the pandemic easily. Why didn’t those kids?” It’s important to remember that some kids have a higher mountain to climb. They have a longer path to recovery, and this is not going to be something that is fixed overnight.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.


We recently asked students how being back in the classroom felt this year. Thanks to all of you who wrote in.

“It’s really stressful. I’m growing more nervous, anxious and stressed constantly. I sleep less, constantly worrying about everything and nothing. I feel like I have no relaxation time, that I can’t breathe. Covid times has made me incredibly anxious, and I don’t know how to calm down. My mind is too active.” — Yuxuan, Paris

“The school year started off really strong, but around mid-September the overall atmosphere of my campus changed drastically. Everyone began to suddenly slump into a deep depressive state and fall behind in their work. Professors were affected, too. Many of them would come to class drained and not even remotely enthusiastic about what they were teaching. I would hear students talk about failing back-to-back tests and just not caring.” — Nicholas L., Rohnert Park, Calif.

“The school year hasn’t been completely terrible, but it hasn’t been perfect. I feel like lots of students lost the ability to socially mature, resulting in a kind of split between their maturity level and actual grade level. I was in the seventh grade when everything stopped so I missed a chunk of middle school. Returning to school has been hard especially because I lost so much motivation and I never had the desire to really get it back. My biggest concern is that I won’t be prepared to enter adulthood because there was a gap in adolescent socializing.” — Zen James, Miami

“Overall, I would say that I am thrilled to be back in school and am having a fun and enriching experience. Seeing the full faces of my teachers and peers — and being forced to roll out of bed instead of opening a Zoom meeting on my phone — has definitely helped concepts in the classroom stick. For me, the larger concern is the decay of my healthy habits. Covid (and the online school) enabled me to sit in my room for hours on end, practically developing an entertainment dependency. I often scroll through my phone or watch videos for hours, and there are many times I glance at the clock in awe at how much time has flown right by me.” — Jake Glasser, Mercer Island, Wash.

“My school year so far has been difficult. I’ve noticed that I’ve distanced myself from my peers. I’m usually a hard-driven student with a strict schedule that I push myself to follow. Ever since the pandemic began and my school was pushed online, my will to stick to that schedule diminished. I’ve never felt burnout this way before Covid.” — Presha Kandel, Conroe, Texas


R.S.V.

Monkeypox


Thanks for reading. We’ll be off Friday for Thanksgiving. Stay safe this holiday, and we’ll be back Monday. — Jonathan

Email your thoughts to virusbriefing@nytimes.com.

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Gratitude for Arts and Science Educators

Published

on

This month, as we’re thinking about gratitude, I’m reflecting on the tremendous impact that educators have had on my life. I would not be where I am today without the many teachers, counselors, librarians, and mentors that have lifted me up, and, now as an educator and mentor myself, I hope to pass that encouragement on to the next generation of students.

From the teachers that pushed me to do my best in class to the guidance counselors that helped me apply to universities, I am grateful that so many people in my life helped me become a first-generation college student, and now a successful artist and scientist. Despite attending a Title 1 school in Memphis, Tennessee with defunded arts programs and a 95% math proficiency fail rate, my educators were dedicated to ensuring my peers and I had every opportunity in STEM and the Arts that they could manage. In my senior year, I received a full scholarship to attend American University in Washington, DC as a Computer Science major.

I quickly realized that I was set up for failure. As a first-generation college student, 900 miles away from my family for the first time, I was already trying to get my bearings, but the real struggles came in my introductory STEM courses. I was an eager and accomplished learner through grade school, and I was in the university’s honors program on a scholarship, so why did it feel like everyone was miles ahead of me every time I stepped foot in a STEM class? Thankfully, I had many professors and advisors that took me under their wings and helped me ‘catch up’ in math and science while also fostering my interests in arts and design as a corollary to my STEM work. Because of their willingness to mentor me, I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and left DC for graduate school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where I earned an M.S. in Lighting in 2021 and am currently a Ph.D. student.

Through all of my experiences, I’ve found that both the arts and sciences are incredibly important components of a well-rounded education. I also understand that these programs are historically underserved, especially for low-income and disadvantaged students. The Arts[HA1]  teach students creativity and confidence, and STEM teaches students problem-solving skills and technological literacy. When these two subjects are left out of a child’s education, they miss out on key life skills and opportunities to explore potential passions and careers. I am so thankful for the educators in my life that enriched my educational journey with opportunities in STEM and the A[HA2] rts, and I hope to provide those opportunities back to more children.

As the reigning Miss United States, I am given the opportunity to nationally advocate for a cause of my choice. I have chosen to advocate for the importance of STEM and Arts education through my nonprofit Art Technically. Every child deserves a chance to grow as an artist and scientist regardless of their background. I have grown so much as an artist and scientist thanks to the dedicated educators that helped guide me. As a mentor to students in both STEM and the Arts, I am helping them grow as well-rounded individuals prepared to do great things for the world, just as my teachers did for me. That opportunity is what I am most grateful for.

Lily K. Donaldson is the reigning Miss United States and a Ph.D. student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute studying Built Ecologies within the Institute for Energy, the Built Environment, and Smart Systems (EBESS). Originally from Memphis, she’s passionate about advancing educational equity within traditionally underserved communities in the South and beyond, especially related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Arts education. She’s the founder of Art Technically, a nonprofit dedicated to providing STEM and Arts educational opportunities to students at Title 1 and rural K-12 schools.




Read the full article
here

Continue Reading

Trending