Diagnosing Needs

What does research tell us about how to collect Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) information to best support students and families?

Forthcoming

Libby Pier | Education Analytics
Joe Witte | Policy Analysis for California Education at Stanford University

Bringing evidence-based decision making to school safety

Micere Keels | The University of Chicago

Breaking Down the Issue

  • We can expect an increase of students, particularly Black students, experiencing and displaying behavioral dysregulation at school, as well as students whose behavioral challenges signal a need for support rather than disciplinary sanctions and policing.
  • Over the past 30 years there has been a dramatic rise in the prevalence of police officers stationed in school buildings; the overwhelming majority of officers have minimal training on practices that meet the developmental needs of children and youth. Increased police presence in schools is associated with increased “detection” of security incidents, but there is no evidence that police in schools have increased student safety or improved school climates.
  • There are large racial and ethnic disproportionalities in exposure to police officers in schools and in the negative effects of increased police presence in schools.

Strategies to Consider

  • Research consistently places practices to improve mental health as well as social and emotional skills at the center of evidence-based school safety interventions.
  • Strong information-gathering and information-sharing protocols, coupled with a culture of caring, are necessary for proactively monitoring the school climate and identifying students who need targeted mental health supports.
  • Information-gathering and information-sharing protocols will improve school safety only if schools also have a plan for delivery of school-based mental health services, as well as robust referrals and followthrough for nonschool mental health services.
  • School climate interventions are an effective way of proactively providing social and emotional supports that have been shown to improve school safety.

Strategies to Avoid

  • Efforts to shift to the use of social and emotional strategies will likely be unsuccessful at advancing safety if schools are not allowed to preserve funding that had been allocated for police officers.
  • Strategies that emphasize the maintenance of police presence by focusing on increasing funding for specialized training have shown little usefulness in reducing the criminalization of student behaviors.

Trauma-informed practice and teacher-student relationships

What does research tell us about how to prepare teachers to promote trauma-responsive educational practices?

Forthcoming

Micere Keels, Sonya Dinizulu, & Shipra Parikh | The University of Chicago

Engaging parents and families to support the recovery of districts and schools

Nancy Hill | Harvard University
Latoya Gayle | Boston School Finder

Breaking Down the Issue

  • Schools are demanding more than ever from parents even as parents lack specific guidance and supports from schools to meet many of the demands.
  • The disruption of ongoing school routines is already having detrimental effects on families while limiting access to mental health and wellness services.
  • Legacies of discrimination and marginalization in schools and inequities in access to highquality education undermine trust in ways that shape the possibilities for family engagement.

Strategies to Consider

  • Communications with families are most effective when they are regular, well-timed, and include actionable support strategies.
  • Schools will be more successful involving parents in academics when the asks focus on helping students establish good work habits and time management rather than supplementing instruction or academic content.
  • Schools must ensure genuine representation across parental communities to promote authentic engagement.
  • Schools can reduce family anxiety by providing a sense of routine for students and families. Older students benefit from a role in shaping these routines.

Strategies to Avoid

  • Lowering academic standards and workload with the goal of helping families balance students’ broader socioemotional needs is unlikely to reduce parental anxiety.
  • Communication strategies that wait until the end of the quarter or semester are unlikely to shift parent or student behavior.

Leveraging Community Assets

What does research tell us about how to use community-based resources to address academic and social gaps resulting from the health crisis?

Forthcoming

Velma McBride Murry | Vanderbilt University
Reuben Jacobson | American University
Betheny Gross | Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington Bothell