Changes steer audit of Colorado accountability system away from looking for bias in state tests

A bill ordering a wide-ranging performance audit of Colorado’s school accountability system has passed the Senate after skeptics amended the bill to focus more on narrowing persistent gaps in test scores and less on determining if the tests are biased. The amendment was one of several changes the bill has undergone to rein in an audit some feared would be too slanted against the accountability system Colorado has used to monitor schools since 2009.

Senate Bill 249 becomes law to give Nevada students mental health days

A Senate bill signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak is paving the way to address student mental health head-on and try to save lives in the process. The pandemic has been a roller coaster for so many students and it was no different for these students from Bishop Gorman High School. A world where schools shifted to distance learning and not being able to see friends as often. The students say this has caused their peers to take mental health days as unexcused absences.

Despite predictions, fewer Colorado child care providers closed permanently during the pandemic — but the struggle continues

For some state and local early childhood advocates, the closure numbers represent a piece of good news after a difficult year — evidence that government relief efforts helped many providers stay afloat during their darkest financial days. At the same time, both advocates and providers are quick to note that the industry was fragile even before the pandemic hit and that some Colorado providers continue to teeter on the brink of survival.

Summer Learning Research

A new, national survey explores the unique role out-of-school time programs play in youth development compared with home and school, how parents assess quality in OST programs, and the impact of COVID-19 for summer 2021 — and beyond. And speaking of summer, a new report by the Afterschool Alliance and Edge Research shows participation in summer programs is higher than ever, but the demand is far from being met. For every child in a program, there’s another child waiting to get in.

Is public school enrollment set to make a comeback?

Districts that experienced dips in student enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic may be headed toward a rebound, anecdotal evidence and researchers suggest. While many raised alarms that parents were fleeing public schools for charter or private options, enrollment in the latter declined on a national level, said Olivia Rios, associate director of education consulting firm EAB’s K-12 Division.
Meanwhile, the number of students in virtual charters and homeschooling increased.

Shining the spotlight on assistant principals

They are second in command in a school, and yet assistant principals often are not given opportunities to strengthen leadership skills that are vital to their effectiveness in the role as well as in the principal post many will assume one day. That is one of the main takeaways of The Role of Assistant Principals: Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership, a major new research review that synthesizes the findings of 79 studies about APs published since 2000 and includes fresh analyses of national and state data.

Advancing integration and equity through magnet schools

The long-standing effort to desegregate schools in the United States has been fostered, in part, by the development of magnet schools, which were launched in the 1960s to offer appealing choices of educational programs that could attract an integrated population of families. Magnet schools are public elementary or secondary schools that seek to achieve voluntary desegregation through parental choice rather than through student assignments by offering specialized instruction and innovative academic offerings. They are often situated in urban centers, with the goal of drawing students from surrounding areas — like a magnet — to attend the school. Some magnet schools operate on a regional basis in order to address inter-district desegregation.