The Total Child

Making Memorial Day Meaningful: Supporting Military-Connected Students

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

A guest post by Dr. Tom Demaria from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, who develops a number of topical articles on bereavement for the Coalition to Support Grieving Students

Memorial Day was established after the Civil War to honor those who had died while in military service. It is observed each year on the last Monday of May. While non-military families often see Memorial Day as the first celebration of summer, those connected to the military are likely to see it differently.

Military-connected students almost certainly attend your schools. There are nearly 2 million children of active service members—that is, with parents in active duty military, National Guard or Reserves. They live in communities across the nation. Over 80% attend public schools.

Things To Know 

 Here are some helpful things to consider if you are planning learning activities or other student events related to Memorial Day.

  •  Memorial Day is a solemn day for most military families. Many spend it visiting cemeteries to place flowers or flags on graves. They may attend special programs remembering those who have died in service.
  •  Children who have lost a loved one through a line-of-duty death often revisit powerful feelings of grief at this time of year.
  •  Memorial Day is not the same as Veteran’s Day. While Veteran’s Day honors all who have served in our military. Memorial Day focuses particularly on those who have died in the line of duty. This distinction is quite important to military-connected children and their families.
  •  The TAPS Good Grief Camp is a weekend experience offered over Memorial Day weekend to child survivors of service members who died in the line of duty.

 Things to Do

 To support military-connected children, especially those who are grieving a line-of-duty death, consider these steps. 

  •  Offer students opportunities to think about and discuss the serious and solemn qualities of Memorial Day.
  •  If active service members or veterans are invited to speak to students at this time of year, ask them to acknowledge and address the deeper meanings of Memorial Day.
  •  Support students’ efforts to attend events such as the Good Grief Camp.
  •  If you know military-connected students, especially if they are grieving, reach out as Memorial Day approaches. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask whether Memorial Day brings up any thoughts or feelings they’d like to talk about. Let them know you’re thinking of them.

 The Coalition to Support Grieving Students offers a range of free resources that can help educators learn more about supporting grieving students. They have just released a special module, Supporting Children and Family Survivors of Military Line-of-Duty Deaths. This will be helpful to any educator working with military-connected children. Our organization is a member of the Coalition.

 

Supporting Students After the Manchester Tragedy

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Monday night's bombing in Manchester, England has likely unsettled some of your students, especially because so many of the deceased and injured are school-age. As the school year comes to a close, many students are preparing for trips to amusement parks, vacations to new places and concert venues to see their favorite artists. Cowardly actions like those of  the suspected suicide bomber will make some students AND adults afraid to go about their normal lives. In light of this, AASA has pulled together some resources to help you talk with your students as they process their grief and fear. These tools can help you provide suggestions for coping with this event and similar events in a healthy way.

 With any questions, please contact Kayla Jackson, project director, AASA, at kjackson@aasa.org or 703-875-0725.

 

'13 Reasons Why' Discussion Resource Library for Educators and Parents

(Coordinated School Health, National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

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The new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, based on 2007 the young adult novel of the same name, revolves around a 17 year old girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide. She leaves behind audio recordings to 13 people- 12 students and one school counselor- who she perceives as playing a role in why she killed herself.

 Due to the realistic and graphic depictions of – among other topics-- bullying, rape and the protagonist’s suicide in the show, AASA compiled a resource library for parents and educators on how to talk to youth about the issues conveyed on the show.

 As the National Association of School Psychologists states , “ this is particularly important for adolescents who are isolated, struggling or vulnerable to suggestive images and storylines,” and it is vital to reinforce the message that “suicide is not the solution to problems and help is available.”

The following are the resources we have compiled as of Friday April 28, 2017. We will update the resource library on an ongoing basis on the following page: http://aasa.org/13ReasonsWhyResources.aspx 

Staff Contact

 Kayla Jackson, Project Director
703-875-0725
kjackson@aasa.org

 Resource Library

  •  National Association of School Psychologists. "'13 Reasons Why' Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators"
    •  This resource includes cautions related to the show, guidance for families and educators in recognizing the signs related to youth suicide, safe messaging when talking to students , and additional websites, fact sheets and books to reference on this topic.
     
  •  Child Mind Institute. "Why Talk to Kids About '13 Reasons Why.'" A blog post by Peter Faustino, PsyD, who is a school psychologist in the Bedford Central School District (NY) and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of School Psychologists.
  •  The Jed Foundation and SAVE. "13 Reasons Why: Talking Points for Viewing & Discussing the Netflix Series"
    •  Talking points , available in both English and Spanish, to assist parents, teachers and other educators in talking to youth about suicide as it relates to the situational drama that unfolds in '13 Reasons Why.' 
     

Do you want to offer school meals at no cost to all students?

(Alternative School Breakfast , National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest Post by Alison Maurice, MSW, child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research & Action Center.

FRAC will co-host a webinar with AASA and the National Rural Education Association on May 8th at 1pm EST on the Community Eligibility Provision. Learn more and Register.  
 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision is a powerful tool for high-need schools to provide breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. Community eligibility reduces administrative paperwork for schools and increases school meal participation and benefits the entire community —students, families, school nutrition staff and administrators.

Why should I consider community eligibility for my school district? 

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 Educators know that in order for children to learn, they must be well-nourished. Schools play an important role in ensuring students have access to healthy meals. That is why community eligibility continues to grow in popularity among high-need school districts. Community eligibility has been successful at increasing school breakfast and lunch participation, so more students experience the positive educational outcomes that are linked to participating in school meals. In the current school year, nearly 10 million children in over 20,000 schools and 3,500 school districts are being offered breakfast and lunch at no charge through the community eligibility program.

What are the benefits of community eligibility? 

 School districts participating in community eligibility benefit from: 

  •  less administrative work. School administrators no longer need to collect and verify school meal applications and can focus more resources on providing nutritious meals for students;
  •  increased participation in the school breakfast and lunch programs. In initial pilot states, community eligibility increased breakfast participation by 9.4 percent and increased lunch participation by 5.2 percent;
  •  improved financial viability of school nutrition programs. When community eligibility becomes available at a school, school meal participation increases, which can improve school nutrition finances; and
  •  the elimination of unpaid meal fees. This means schools no longer need to collect money from families or find available funds for the meals that go unpaid by students.

 Additionally, by offering meals at no charge to all students, community eligibility makes it easier for schools to leverage innovative school breakfast service models, such as breakfast in the classroom, “grab and go” breakfast, and second chance breakfast. Traditional school breakfast programs that operate before the school day begins must compete with hectic morning schedules and late bus arrivals. Rather, breakfast after the bell service models integrate breakfast into the school day, allowing more children to start the day ready to learn. 

How does community eligibility work? 

 Community eligibility allows high-need school districts and schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students, while eliminating the school meal application process. Any school district, group of schools in a district, or individual school with 40 percent or more “identified students” — children who are certified for free meals without submitting a school meal application — can choose to participate in community eligibility.

Identified Students Include:

  • children who live in households that receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps); Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and in some states, Medicaid benefits; and
  •  children who are homeless, migrant, enrolled in Head Start, or in foster care.

 How will my schools get reimbursed?

Once a school, group of schools, or school district establishes its identified student percentage (ISP), the ISP is multiplied by 1.6 to determine the percentage of meals reimbursed at the free reimbursement rate (capped at 100 percent). The remainder is reimbursed at the paid rate. This percentage is locked in for four years, unless the ISP goes up, in which case it would be adjusted to reflect the increase. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a “Community Eligibility Provision Estimator ” tool to help school districts determine if community eligibility makes financial sense. There is a lot of flexibility in how schools are grouped to determine the ISP, allowing districts to group schools to ensure financial viability.

 

Identified Student Percentage (ISP)

Meals Reimbursed at the Free Rate

Meals Reimbursed at the Paid Rate

40%

64%

36%

45%

72%

28%

50%

80%

20%

55%

88%

12%

60%

96%

4%

65%

100%

0%


 What can I do right now?

 Start planning for the 2017–2018 school year today. Find out which school districts and schools in your state have implemented community eligibility or were eligible during the 2016–2017 school year using FRAC’s Community Eligibility Database .

 Check out these resources to learn more about community eligibility:

 By adopting community eligibility, you can increase participation in school breakfast and lunch, ensuring your students the nutrition needed to succeed in school.

 Is there a deadline for my school district to apply for community eligibility?

On May 1, 2017, your state’s education agencies will publish a list of schools and school districts that qualify for community eligibility. Review the list to see which of your schools qualify for the 2017–2018 school year.

The deadline to apply to use community eligibility in the 2017–2018 school year is June 30, 2017.

 For more information on community eligibility, reach out to Alison Maurice , child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research & Action Center .

Celebrating National School Breakfast Week 2017

(Alternative School Breakfast , National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Since 2011, AASA has engaged 22 school districts in the Alternative School Breakfast Initiative, supported by the Walmart Foundation. This program increases the number of children who eat school breakfast, by taking breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom and hallways through Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘n’ Go, and Second Chance options.

These participating districts held activities over National School Breakfast Week, from March 6-10, to raise awareness of their school breakfast programs. Here are some shining examples:

School Administrators and Parents Engage in Meriden Public Schools

 MeridenAdminsNSBW2017

Meriden Public Schools hosted two elementary student and parent " School Breakfast Superhero" themed breakfast events, organized by their FoodCorp service member Lexi Brenner, during National School Breakfast Week to educate parents and students on the benefits of school breakfast and increase breakfast participation.

School and District Administrators, including Superintendent Dr. Mark D. Benigni , showed their support of school breakfast and were in attendance.

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Superintendent Dr. Mark D. Benigni, Meriden Public Schools, at a taste test activity.

The district’s three Registered Dietitians answered general health and nutrition questions and interacted with students and families. SNAP outreach efforts to increase CEP eligibility for more Meriden schools was also conducted. Students participated in the School Breakfast Week Challenge, tracking the amount of times they eat school breakfast with materials provided by the School Nutrition Association. Fun breakfast prizes were provided to each student daily when they ate breakfast during the week, in addition to breakfast "Lucky Tray" giveaways!

 Promotional Contests Popular Among Students in Two Large, Urban Districts 

San Diego Unified School District 

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San Diego had 12 of their  elementary schools participating in National School Breakfast Week promotion. Every student who ate breakfast every day of that week was entered into a drawing for a pair of movie tickets.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Spring Independent School District

Spring ISD continued their “Decorate Your Plate” promotion of National School Breakfast Week, which has become a hit in the district! Students decorate paper plates with their favorite breakfast foods and submit them for a chance to win a bike and helmet. The principals at each school select a winner. Below are a few of the student plates.

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Guest Blog Post: DACA Students And Resources For Superintendents & Schools

(National Awareness, Equity, Student Support Services) Permanent link

This guest blog post comes from Jonah Edelman, co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children.

Today 750,000 of our nation’s most promising young adults are living under the threat of deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, currently protects these law-abiding young people, brought to the country as children. But the future of DACA is now in doubt, and, without it, DREAMers could be subject to immediate deportation. These DREAMers are students, graduates, and unknown numbers—at least hundreds and more likely thousands—are teachers.

AASA and more than 2,000 education leaders from across the country have signed on to a letter calling on Congress to take immediate action to extend legal protections to these young adults. Students need these protections to realize their potential and educators need them to continue teaching in our classrooms.

District leaders are speaking out now because they can’t afford to lose teachers like Alexis Torres, who teaches history in the Spring Branch, Texas school district. Torres is exactly the kind of teacher schools work desperately to recruit—bilingual and culturally aware in a school where nearly half of students lack fluency in English. At 23, he’s lived in the United States since he was 5. But absent a protection from deportation, he could be removed at any time.

 Fellow Texan Mayte Lara Ibarra managed to rise to become her high school’s valedictorian with a 4.5 GPA. She’s now enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, but the fear of deportation remains a constant. “My whole life I’ve lived with the conversation of, ‘OK what’s going to happen if like your dad or I get deported,’” she told a local TV station.

 Young people like Ms. Ibarra and Mr. Torres have played by the rules, working hard to better themselves, support their families, and make their communities stronger.

Superintendent Tom Boasberg’s district in Denver was one of the first to hire teachers under DACA. “We hired them because they are excellent teachers who make our kids and our schools better,” Boasberg said. “To deport talented teachers and students in whom we have invested so much, who have so much to give back to our community, and who are so much a part of our community would be a catastrophic loss."

 The stories and success of DREAMers define what it means to live the American dream and removing them would hurt, not benefit, our schools and our nation.

That’s why a growing number education leaders are joining our call for a lasting solution, including the superintendents of some of the largest school districts; the president of a national teachers union; leaders of top public charter school networks and crucial nonprofits; and principals and teacher leaders.

AASA is leading the way as part of this extraordinary alliance of the nation’s leading educators coming together to protect these DREAMers.  

Today, we are asking you to join us by signing the petition at sign.protectdreamers.org.

By taking action together, we can create conditions in which our students and teachers thrive, rather than relegate them to living in fear.

 For more information about the petition for DREAMer protections and the full list of signatories, please visit protectdreamers.org.

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  1. Clearly communicate that our schools are welcoming to everyone. Work with your school board to pass a resolution affirming schools as welcoming places of learning for all students, distancing the schools from enforcement actions that separate families. Some districts have even declared that they are ICE-free zones/sanctuary schools and have taken the public position that they will not permit entry to law enforcement absent a judicial order.
  2.  Identify a point person who can serve as the immigration resource advocate in the district and keep good documentation of any encounters. Encourage the same for each campus.
  3.  Determine a process for approving documents to ensure all materials distributed to teachers, support staff, students, families and the community are up-to-date and authored by reputable sources.
  4.  Inform students and their families of their rights by distributing “know your rights” materials (or other approved materials) in appropriate languages to stakeholders so they are informed about what to do if a raid occurs or an individual is detained.
  5.  Maintain a list of approved resources, such as the names of social workers, pro bono attorneys and local immigration advocates and organizations, that can be shared with your students and their families.
  6.  Partner with a pro bono attorney, legal aid organization or immigrant rights organization to schedule a “know your rights” workshop on campuses to inform students and families about their rights.
  7.  Identify or create a local immigration raid rapid response team. These teams usually consist of attorneys, media personnel and community leaders who may be able to provide support. If there is a local response team, assign a point person for communication on the district staff.
  8.  Create a process for what to do if a parent, sibling or student has been detained. This should include providing a safe place for students to wait if their parent/guardian is unable to take them home. Double-check emergency contact info and ensure that you have multiple phone numbers on hand for relatives/guardians in case a student's emergency contact is detained, be prepared to issue a statement condemning raids and calling for the immediate release of students, and consider alternate pickup and drop-off arrangements in case an ICE checkpoint is established near your school.
  9.  Coordinate with other agencies in the community as needed, particularly child protective services if the chance of foster care is increased during this time.
  10.  Provide counseling for students who have had a family member detained by ICE.
  11.  Train and educate guidance counselors and key staff to help mentor or guide students who are impacted by immigration, including undocumented students applying to college.
 

 The following links provide additional national resources from immigration experts:  


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Join AASA Children's Programs Department at the 2017 AASA National Conference on Education

(Alternative School Breakfast , Children’s Health Insurance , Innovative Professional Development, National Awareness, Equity, Student Support Services, Community Schools , ESSA) Permanent link

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  Join AASA Children's Programs Department  in New Orleans at the 2017 National Conference on Education (NCE), this March!  

  Below is a schedule of concurrent sessions, Thought Leader sessions and  the Dr. Effie H. Jones Memorial Luncheon. 

 Click on the links below to see flyers with details on each of our sessions.

Register today at nce.aasa.org .

During the conference follow us on social media at @AASATotalChild and  using #NCE17 and read recaps of our sessions  in Conference Daily Online.

Schedule of Events

 Thursday March 2, 2017

9:00 am-10:00 am: Thought Leader: Redesigning Professional Development Systems Leadership, Feedback and Impact (Room 207)
9:00 am -10:00 am: Igniting and Insuring a STEAM K-16 Pipeline  (Room 211) 
12:15pm -1:00 pm: Knowledge Exchange Theater: Online Support for In-School Impact: #InsureAllChildren-- a demonstration of the AASA/ Children's Defense Fund school-based, child health insurance outreach and enrollment toolkit.(Exhibit Hall)

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1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Dealing with Loss and Grief in School   (Room 211)
2:45 pm -3:45 pm: Feeding Hungry Minds: Funding Your School Breakfast Program (Room 211)
4:00 pm-5:00 pm: Thought Leader: Community Schools: Cultivating Opportunity, Equity and Agency (Room 207)

 Friday March 3, 2017
10:45 am -11:45 am:  Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Provide Integrated Student Supports (Room 211)
11:45 am -1:45 pm: The Dr. Effie H. Jones Memorial Luncheon with featured speaker, Monique W. Morris, author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (Room 208)
2:45 pm-3:45 pm: Build a Culture of Equity in Your District (Room 211)

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We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!