Of Note: Unbundling Mental Health Options on Campus

    Overwhelmed: the real campus mental-health crisis and new models for well being by Sarah Brown
    The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 1, 2020

    The Chronicle of Higher Education's most recent report has much to offer independent school educators in secondary school environments. The report gives a succinct overview of the well-established research on the soaring rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidality among students, and it breaks new ground as it describes innovative models and campus-wide wellness programs being implemented in a wide array of undergraduate settings. The problem, the report argues, is that the traditional model of a single mental health center, offering primarily individual talk therapy to students, is ineffective; these clinics have been completely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of students, many of whom neither want nor need long term talk therapy and end up on long waiting lists to receive services. Counselors at the secondary level will be heartened by the many creative and comprehensive solutions colleges have employed. For example, some colleges have eliminated long waiting lists by creating systems for same day access for any student, which then includes an assessment leading to multiple options for services ranging from workshops on mindfulness, to peer counseling, to healthy sleep initiatives, to digital detox retreats. For secondary schools looking to improve a wellness program, rethink the roles of mental health professionals in their schools, or focus on the health of students they are sending off to college, this slim volume is packed with ideas and a sense of the possible.

    Submitted By Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM


    Remote Possibilities

    Teachers,We Cannot Go Back to the Way Things Were by Bettina L. Love
    EdWeek, April 29, 2020

    The Class Divide: Remote Learning at 2 Schools, Public and Private by Dana Goldstein
    New York Times, May 9, 2020

    Ten Equity Implications of the Coronavirus Outbreak in the United States NAACP 
    March 2020

    Crises have a way of laying bare the challenges that were always present, but often ignored, and in this way, the coronavirus crisis is no different. In "The Class Divide: Remote Learning at 2 Schools, Public and Private," Dana Goldstein draws needed attention to the education gap that has long existed, and continues to expand, in the United States. During this moment of remote learning, students are having vastly different educational experiences depending on the schools where they are enrolled – just as they always have. Goldstein compares a public school student in Philadelphia who did not see his teacher online until late April and a private school student in Chicago who was offered hours of online activities including live instruction, yoga, music, and cooking. Not only are some students receiving academic as well as enrichment opportunities this spring, but also some students are eating healthy, balanced meals while others are going hungry. Number 6 on the NAACP's list of "Ten Equity Implications of the Coronavirus Outbreak in the United States" concerns students and their well-being. Put plainly, students who rely on school for food and shelter will experience interruptions to their education and possibly their health as a result of school closure, while students who do not rely on school to feed or shelter them will be able to continue with their education and more successfully maintain their health. This is why, Bettina L. Love argues in "Teachers, We Cannot Go Back to the Way Things Were," the moment to much more intentionally address the education gap is now. In Love's words, "We now have the opportunity not to just reimagine schooling or try to reform injustice but to start over. Starting over is hard but not impossible; we now have a skeleton of a playbook. It starts with creativity, teacher-student relationships, and teacher autonomy." Crises have a way of showing us not only who we are, but what we really need to do.

    Submitted By Jessica Flaxman, 120 Educational Consultancy, Belmont, MA


    Connecting the Unknown to the Known

    How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning by Amielle Major, citing Zaretta Hammond
    KQED Mindshift, May 20, 2020

    As independent schools continue to reimagine education in the face of the novel coronavirus, they must consider their historical constructs and how to benefit those who have been traditionally disadvantaged. Zaretta Hammond, a major voice for such work, recently offered a webinar on "culturally responsive teaching for distance learning." It is summarized in this article by Amielle Major. The goals of culturally responsive teaching include "improving the learning capacity of students who have been marginalized educationally because of historical inequities" and "pushing back on dominant narratives about people of color." Culturally responsive instruction aims to place students at the center of their own learning, empowering and improving cognitive capacity. The summary speaks to our current moment by offering three strategies to implement during distance learning: deepen background knowledge, cultivate cognitive routines, and build word wealth. By drawing on marginalized students' own interests and experiences, and creating practices that consistently guide students to connect the unknown to the known, teachers can help these students make the shift from compliant learning to processing. Hammond insists that schools must continue to build brain power and agency in their students during distance learning, particularly for those students who have been historically marginalized.

    Submitted By Rachel Veto Chabot, Stratford Academy, Macon, GA


    Picking up the Ball

    Season 4, Episode 10 - Schooled for Democracy by John Biewen, Ben James, and Chenjerai Kumanyika
    Scene On Radio, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, May 13, 2020

    Imagine, one day, you decide to learn the game of basketball. How would you go about it? Would you read a 200-page manual, only later being allowed to touch a ball? The hosts of this Scene on Radio podcast episode argue that this backward approach is similar to what is happening in schools; students are taught about civics but hardly get to practice it themselves. Ben James, a freelance reporter from Massachusetts, is featured. He went on the hunt to find a school where students fully engaged in civics education, or as he put it, "where the word 'public' was less noun and more verb." The episode follows a group of eighth-grade students at a magnet school in Lowell, MA, their teacher, Mike Neagle (2019 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year), and their Action Civics curriculum. The students' work preparing for Civics Day is starkly contrasted with the testimony of the reporter's son, Silas, a student at a more traditional school. It's a tale that starts with a messy discussion and ends in triumph ultimately begging, "Why aren't more schools doing this?" The reasons are varied, as it turns out. Producer and Host John Biewen and collaborator Professor Chenjerai Kumanyika explore that and other questions at the end of the episode.

    Submitted By Darian Reid, The Roxbury Latin School, Boston, MA


    New, Distanced, Deeper, More Lasting

    What Teachers Need to Make Remote Schooling Work by Kristina Rizga
    The Atlantic, April 13, 2020

    The Atlantic began its occasional series "On Teaching" to bring readers the voices, wisdom, and essential truths of some of the nation's most experienced teachers now, before the Baby Boomers retire and leave the profession to younger educators. The 14th article in the series is focused on teaching in the time of COVID-19. Like the others before it, this article has the clarity of life lived in real classrooms and expresses wisdom from teachers across the country about what is most important. These 12 teachers want to address disparities in access, growing academic gaps, and difficulties of real connection at a distance. They raise matters of urgent need and posit solutions that are specific, logical, and in some cases, available right now to schools, independent or public, who commit to shift, implement, and support teachers more effectively. First up, the teachers identified that the ability to bend the rules gives educators the trust and measure of autonomy they need to use what they know about how their students and families are coping. From that base, they can shape a responsive curriculum and prioritize student needs over requirements that predated the pandemic. Bending the rules comes with responsibility to build capacity that, in these times, calls for increased peer-to-peer professional development, building structures to share technological knowledge or collaborate on curriculum in new, distanced, and perhaps deeper, more lasting ways.

    Submitted By Elizabeth Morley, Kobe Shinwa University, Japan


    Positive, Human Fulfillment

    Beyond Marginality: Understanding the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Difference in Educational Leadership Research by Elizabeth Murakami and Hollie J. Mackey
    Information Age Publishing, September 12, 2018

    While educational leadership programs seek to provide emerging school leaders with the tools necessary to navigate a rapidly evolving educational environment, this volume challenges proscribed models and provides new frameworks for engaging with research and practice. The book offers a wide-ranging look at how scholars and practitioners can transform limiting frameworks to reshape the knowledge and practice of educational leadership to address fundamental inequities in schools. Broken up into two sections – conceptual frameworks and the practical application of theory – the book provides contributions from 23 educational researchers and its two editors who identify and dismantle deficit-thinking approaches and replace them with asset-based models of understanding. Section one contains six chapters that build frameworks for conceptualizing race, gender, ethnicity, and difference in educational research and leadership. Section two, made up of seven chapters, aims to put theory into practice with writings focused on such topics as parental involvement; culturally conscious leadership; inclusivity in practice; and using racial and social justice templates for guiding research in school leadership. This collection provides much needed analytical frameworks for engaging with educational research that focuses on positive, human fulfillment, and changing the field of educational leadership for the next generation.

    Submitted By Patrick Gomez, The Buckley School, Pasadena, CA


    Beyond the Bounds of Their Own Minds

    And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner
    Crown Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, May 5, 2020

    It is no secret that the middle school years are challenging, if not the most challenging, for students and their parents. In her new book, Judith Warner explores what it is exactly that makes these years so "scary" and yet so full of potential. Using historical context, Warner suggests that parents often channel their own scars from middle school when supporting their own children through these years and that this fallacy can make the middle school experience even worse for their children. Additionally, Warner cites brain science research that affirms why every development in middle school "has the potential to be both wonderful and terrible – sometimes at the same time." Ultimately, this new book offers support to parents and educators alike as they approach the academic and social-emotional challenges of middle school. Warner reminds the reader that students crave positive feedback, especially from their peers, and reiterates the need for compassionate leadership. To help middle school students make sense of the behaviors around them, "spark… empathy," and focus on opportunities for joy. Finally, Warner charges adults to embody compassion, saying, "teaching it, modeling it, and getting your middle-schoolers to expand their thinking and feeling beyond the bounds of their own minds are by far the best gifts you can give them."

    Submitted By Louisa Polos Condon, School of the Holy Child, Rye, NY


    Another Wonder?

    The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni
    Lake Union Publishing, April 24, 2018

    Born with ocular albinism, which causes the appearance of red eyes, Sam Hill's life is one of pain and triumph as the young boy navigates the challenges of school while being labeled "different." Robert Dugoni was inspired to write this novel after reading a news article in Australia about a student who was denied admission to the local parochial school because of this condition. Dugoni was able to pull references from his own experience at home, where he was witness to the incredible familial support given to his younger brother with Down Syndrome as the family navigated the US educational system. His story of the life of Sam Hill addresses all too common issues of bullying, racism, and classism, among other relevant topics. Also, through the challenging times it depicts, the story highlights the importance of community, strong friendships, familial support, and how life experiences can make a significant impact on one's character as an adult. Similar to how Wonder taught many young readers about compassion and openness, Dugoni's novel has the potential to connect with many through its relatable, personal narrative around difficult topics, personal striving, and community engagement.

    Submitted By Molly Swain, Milton Academy, Milton, MA

KlingensteinCenter Teachers College Columbia University

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