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Articles: At-Risk

Paul Tough offers practical steps that adults can take to improve students’ chances for a positive future in his book Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why (2016, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

In his previous book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, journalist Paul Tough looked at how non-cognitive personal qualities like perseverance, self-control and conscientiousness play a critical role in children’s success.

Alex Fertig is a psychologist for the Parsippany Troy Hills School District in New Jersey. He can be reached at afertig@pthsd.net. Ray W. Christner is a psychologist with Cognitive Health Solutions.

Our goal with this column is not to imply that school administrators should take on the role of mental health professionals, but instead it is to impart information on strategies, based on the principles of cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT. 

Deeper learning doesn’t have to be expensive, says Stephanie Wood-Garnett, vice president of policy to practice at the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national advocacy group for at-risk students.

“Deeper learning is not about buying things, but deeper learning done well could allow us to think more effectively or differently on how to enhance the time we have,” Wood-Garnett says.

Today’s deeper learning proponents urge schools to master rigorous academic content; think critically and solve problems; work collaboratively; communicate effectively; direct one’s own learning; and develop an academic mindset. 

Lou Pepe directed the film The Bad Kids, which looks at how the teachers and staff at Black Rock High School confront crippling generational poverty, and create small victories for the students who have often lost any sense of hope for their future.

Black Rock High School, remotely situated in California’s Mojave Desert, serves a population of students who are often struggling academically and living in households with poverty, drug use and neglect. 

When adding a mindfulness program, superintendents and principals may face parent backlash, possibly about religious concerns, especially when it includes yoga.

Fiona Jensen, whose nonprofit trains teachers in mindfulness instruction, says she has met with “pretty conservative Christian scholars” to make sure nothing in her curriculum can be misinterpreted as promoting Buddhism or any other religion.

“We’ve learned a tremendous amount about how careful one needs to be about how the curriculum is presented,” says Jensen. 

The Fairmount Kindergarten Center near Seattle hopes to use innovative design to maximize classroom learning time when it opens in September for the 2017-18 school year.

Changes in federal education policy that will come under the Trump administration are still unclear, but many states are nevertheless proceeding with plans to meet requirements of the Obama administration’s Every Student Succeeds Act.

With the U.S. Department of Education doling out billions of dollars to promote diversity and to support low-income schools in 2017, administrators across the country are also working to better serve students of all backgrounds, abilities and interests.

More and more districts are looking for ways to keep children of incarcerated parents from falling behind in class or winding up in the discipline pipeline.

Serving Students Who Are Homeless is one of the four books on education DA promotes in this month's Noteworthy Books feature.

DA promotes four books about serving homeless students, inspiring disengaged kids, improving communication skills and studying personalized learning in K12.

Jon Saphier says policy-makers could create regulations that positively affect the levers of influence on what teachers do, such as teacher education and teacher certification.

As founder of Research for Better Teaching— an organization dedicated to improving instruction and leadership— Jon Saphier says underperforming students need to believe that “smart is something you can get.”

Principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, New York, Nadia Lopez, uses innovative methods to help students become more successful and help K12 instructors teach more effectively.

Principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, New York, Nadia Lopez, uses innovative methods to help students become more successful and help K12 instructors teach more effectively. 

In the wake of a divisive presidential election, hundreds of students from about a dozen high schools in Oakland, California, cut class last November to voice their discontent with President-elect Donald Trump. 

A 2015 study shows that education that focuses on the causes and consequences of depression and how to cultivate healthy emotions can decrease the rise of suicide.

The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds is on the rise. While the statistics are dire, a solution seems to be taking shape. Prevention may be in the hands of the students themselves.

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