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

STEAM approach increases elementary students’ scores in science

The purpose of blending the arts with STEM is not just to make sure the arts are not left behind as schools focus on improving test scores in core subject areas. The arts give students creative ways to tackle tough concepts, help them ask better questions, and use multiple methods to solve problems, according to a blog post from Concordia University-Portland. (Education Dive)

Putting the SEL Into PBL 

Project-based learning (PBL) and social-emotional learning (SEL) are a perfect match; here’s why. (eSchool News)

School superintendents sue state for $7.2 billion 

Lawmakers plan to get to adequate funding for schools over time, but a group of superintendents is suing the Governor and the State of Illinois seeking more than $7 billion for schools now.

Resilience training helps kids with trauma 

The idea of teaching social and emotional skills in school is more than 20 years old but not as widespread in the United States as elsewhere. One Maryland school is taking time out for group therapy for troubled kids. (NPR)

USED holding webinars on student-centered funding pilot 

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced a new pilot to afford local educational agencies (LEAs) flexibility to create equitable, student-centered funding systems. The Department first accepted applications in March and will accept a second round of applications by July 15, 2018. To support LEAs interested in applying this summer, the Department is hosting a series of two webinars, each of which will be repeated.

Local engagement under ESSA handbook 

AASA was pleased to collaborate and contribute with a handful of education organizations to the latest handbook from Opportunity Institute and Council of Chief State School Officers to support local leaders working more collaboratively to include students, families, educators, and partners into the ESSA policy-making and implementation process. The handbook is titled Meaningful Local Engagement Under ESSA Issue 2: A Handbook for Local Leaders on Engagement in School Improvement and is designed for state education leaders, school and district leaders and advocates to inform efforts to engage peers and stakeholders in all aspects of planning and implementation of ESSA. This handbook is a follow up to Meaningful Local Engagement Under ESSA: Issue 1.

Navigating the new curriculum landscape: How states are using and sharing open educational resources 

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and New America jointly released a paper today, highlighting how states are supporting Open Educational Resources (OER) in the classroom and lessons other states can apply to improve these resources in the future. The report provides a deeper look into specific work underway in states related to OER, how states are supporting OER implementation, and what lessons can be learned. The report also spotlights examples of new approaches for promoting and sustaining open, relevant, and high-quality instructional materials. It concludes with five key takeaways for state leaders to consider as they improve the quality and affordability of the materials teachers are using every day.

School supports for teachers’ implementation of state standards: Findings from the American School Leader panel

This RAND Corporation study examines two key school supports that could help teachers address state standards in their instruction: curriculum requirements and school leader knowledge of standards. The report finds that the most commonly-required and recommended instructional materials for English language arts and mathematics are not always aligned closely with the major emphases of state standards, majorities of school leaders could not identify reading approaches that are aligned with most state standards, and school leaders had particular difficulty with identifying standards-aligned mathematics topics at higher grade levels in their schools.

The Conditions of Education 2018

The Condition of Education is a congressionally mandated annual report summarizing important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The 2018 Condition of Education report presents 47 indicators on topics ranging from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. Also included in the report are three spotlight indicators that provide more in-depth analyses of the following topics: early childhood care arrangements, alternative teacher certification, and student loan debt among graduate school completers. (National Center for Education Statistics)

The summer after kindergarten: Children’s experiences by socioeconomic characteristics

During the summer after kindergarten in 2011, a higher percentage of children from poor households (83%) than from non-poor households (70%) did not have a regular care arrangement with someone other than their parents. The use of computers for educational purposes over the summer differed by parents’ educational attainment and household poverty status. For instance, a higher percentage of children whose parents had a high school diploma or below (32%) than who had some postsecondary education (18%) or a bachelor’s degree or above (15%) never used a computer for educational purposes. Overall, about 76% of children played outside every day during the summer after kindergarten. No measurable differences were found by household poverty status or parent education in how often children played outside every day. More than half of all children visited a beach, lake, river, or state or national park; zoo or aquarium; or amusement park during the summer after kindergarten. However, differences existed by household poverty status and parent education. For example, a lower percentage of children from poor households (54%) than from near-poor (66%) and non-poor (69%) households visited a zoo or aquarium.

Have states maintained high expectations for student performance? 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed into law in 2015, explicitly prohibits the federal government from creating incentives to set national standards. The law represented a major departure from recent federal initiatives, such as Race to the Top, which beginning in 2009 encouraged the adoption of uniform content standards such as the Common Core. On average, state proficiency standards have remained as high as they were in 2015, and they are much higher today than they were in 2009 when the Common Core movement began. That year, the percentage of students found to be proficient in math and reading on state exams was 37 percentage points higher than on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), an exam that is widely recognized as maintaining a high bar for academic proficiency. By 2015, that gap had narrowed to just 10 percentage points. Now, recently released data for 2017 reveal a difference of only 9 percentage points. In 2017, Florida had the most rigorous state proficiency standards in the country, as measured by the percentage of 4th and 8th-grade students assessed as proficient on the state exam compared to the percentage assessed as proficient on NAEP. However, the authors found no correlation between a lift in state standards and a rise in student performance, which is the central objective of higher proficiency bars. (Education Next)

Study: Among some homeless youth, race less of a factor in contact with police 

While school leaders might be focusing on how discipline policies affect racial subgroups, these studies show that they might need to look even deeper to identify the students most at-risk. (Education Dive)

Preparing for life after high school: The characteristics and experiences of youth in special education

This evaluation brief summarizes key findings describing youth with an individualized education program (IEP) and their activities in school in relation to other students without an IEP. Although their engagement and use of school supports have increased over the past decade (2003-2012), high school youth with an IEP are more socioeconomically disadvantaged and less likely to have experiences and expectations associated with success after high school than were other students in 2012. Among the disability groups in 2012, youth with an intellectual disability, autism, deaf-blindness, multiple disabilities, and orthopedic impairments were found to be most at-risk for not transitioning successfully beyond high school. (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance)

The Wallace Blog

The Wallace Blog launched to help you keep up to date on their work and what they’re learning. At Wallace, they aim to deliver dual benefits: Benefits to grantee partners with whom they work directly in the form of improved capacity and services; and, broader benefits to the fields in which they work through developing credible, relevant knowledge.