The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Summer Boost: Challenges and Opportunities in Summer Programs for Rising Kindergarten Students  There is a growing belief that access to academic opportunities during the summer can help close the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers. But while significant research is emerging on summer programs for school-age children, information on the preschool period is limited. The Expanding Children’s Early Learning (ExCEL) Network is examining the potential benefits of a summer enrichment program to promote school readiness skills for children about to enter kindergarten. The ExCEL Summer Project initiated a learning network of practitioners, policymakers, and researchers with the aim of connecting theories about the promise of summer programs preceding kindergarten, existing research about features of effective summer programs for school-age children, and the day-to-day realities of implementing these programs for rising kindergarten students. This brief introduces the ExCEL Summer Project and summarizes lessons learned about three implementation issues – recruitment, attendance, and family involvement – that affect all summer programs but may pose unique challenges and opportunities for programs for rising kindergartners.  (MDRC)

“Teach Us All” Documentary Explores Education Inequality  In this video, CBS News speaks with Sonia Lowman, director of the new documentary “Teach Us All,” about this film, which examines access to equitable education in the United States.

37 States Are Using Their ESSA Plans to Crack Down on Chronic Student Absences  Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia are using some measure of absenteeism in their plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, according to a new report from FutureEd, a thinktank at Georgetown. How will they do it? (The 74)

Wraparound Services: the Next Phase of Education Reform Wraparound services are a critical but often overlooked component of school reform. Surprisingly, a slice of data released in a survey earlier this month shows strong support for this underappreciated approach to education reform. (Real Clear Education)

We Must Acknowledge the Connection Between Race, Trauma and Mental Health  According to research, subgroups in need of the most mental health support are more likely to be suspended or expelled. For this reason, teachers and administrators have to take steps to change the school culture and support the whole child. How can administrators and educators help address the needs of underresourced students? (The Hechinger Report)

If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better in School  The majority of students in public school are students of color, while most teachers identify as white. And this so-called teacher-diversity gap likely contributes to racial disparities in academic performance. (NPR)

Assessments 101: A policymaker’s guide to K-12 assessments, serves as an important primer for state leaders interested in gaining a deeper understanding of assessment purposes, classifications and terminology. This quick reference guide is worth bookmarking and sharing with your colleagues.

MI Schools Use Fun, Food to Increase Attendance on ‘Count Day’  Average daily attendance is another method used in some states for allocating funding to local schools, but researchers note that it negatively affects schools with high chronic absenteeism rates and can negatively affect those with higher populations of low-income and minority students. Other methods, according to this review by the Education Commission of the States, include counting periods that can last as long as 40 days to average daily membership, which focuses on students who are enrolled for an entire year but didn’t necessarily have good attendance. (Education Dive)

Count Us In: Latinos and the 2020 Census. In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, this Ed Note blog post comes from guest author Mario Beovides, director of Impact of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, and discusses the census and how it affects Latinos.