From this week’s news:
- Key Brain Connection Slow To Develop In Kids With ADHD
WBUR: The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, point to a reduced ability among children with ADHD to turn on and off the networks inside the brain that are involved in control and attention. The brain connections that normally help children focus simply aren’t as developed.
- How the built environment is contributing to childhood obesity
The Wall Street Journal: Researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota have found that by increasing the availability of public lands like nature trails and forests, local governments can take meaningful steps towards reducing childhood obesity.
- Poverty-obesity link more prevalent for women than men, study shows
Science Daily: Adolescent girls living in economically disadvantaged families are more likely than their male counterparts to become overweight or obese, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.
- Early Intervention Prevents Aggressive Children from Becoming Violent Adults
Science World Report: The study showed that aggressive children were less likely to turn into violent criminals or psychiatrically troubled adults, only if they received early intervention.
- Teen drug and alcohol use continues to fall, new federal data show
The Washington Post: Drug and alcohol use among America’s teens continues to trend downward, according to new numbers released today by the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Antibiotics Prescribed for Children Twice as Often as Needed
NPR: Children are taking medication that’s not going to help them and can hurt, because of side effects and the increased risk of antibiotic resistance, both for that person and for the larger community.
September has been dubbed “Attendance Awareness Month” by Attendance Works, whose recent report, “Absences Add Up: How School Attendance Influences Student Success” aims to show how chronic school absences impact achievement. According to the report, an estimated 5 million to 7.5 million US students miss nearly a month of school each year. Thee absences add up: the report shows that students who miss more school than their peers score lower on the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) tests, which are often called “the nation’s report card.”
While there’s no common definition of chronic absences–or absenteeism–researchers (including City Connects’ Evaluation Team) use missing 10% or more days per school year. We know that chronic absenteeism is an important predictor of academic risk and dropout. So what does City Connects do for students who are chronically absent, or at risk for chronic absences? The City Connects practice ensures that all students strengths and needs are reviewed across academic, social/emotional, health, and family domains. An out-of-school issue in any one of these categories could contribute to a student not being able to get to school.
City Connects School Site Coordinators link students to services and enrichment opportunities in the community that match their individual strengths and needs. If absences are a concern, Coordinators work with school staff and families/caregivers to identify the root causes of absenteeism and then tailor services to address these specific causes. This customized approach works:
As was first reported in the 2012 City Connects Progress Report, students who attended City Connects schools in elementary school are significantly less likely to be chronically absent than students who never attended City Connects schools. By grade 9, these students are 25% less likely to be chronically absent. Research shows that the freshman year of high school is an important year for students. A paper from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research reports that students who end grade 9 “on track” are four times more likely to graduate on time than those who fall off-track.
For more recommendations–from practice to policy–on how to address absenteeism and help students come to school every day ready to learn and thrive, check out the Attendance Works report. Especially important is their recommendation to improve strategies for intervening:
Help schools and community partners to intervene with chronically absent students through community-wide approaches to health and transportation challenges, as well as personalized outreach.
We work with community partners local to all of our sites and take a collective approach to ending absenteeism, which is just one lever that will help us narrow the achievement gap together.
For more information:
- On Twitter, follow @AttendanceWorks and use the hashtag #schooleveryday to join the conversation about attendance and absenteeism; follow @UChicagoCCSR for
- Read more about City Connects’ impact on school attendance and absenteeism here, or in The Impact of City Connects: Progress Report 2014 (p. 24-25)
- Related reading: “Keeping 9th Graders on Track Can Move Grad Rate, Research Finds,” EdWeek’s College Bound blog; “Adding the Absences and Coming Up Short,” EdCentral
From this week’s news:
- Students Go Back to School and to Healthier Foods Than at Home
The Wall Street Journal: When classes resume after summer vacation, so does nutritious eating, suggests a study published online in the journal Appetite. The study found that elementary and high-school students consumed up to 30% more unhealthy foods, such as takeout french fries and pizza, and sugary drinks on non-school days, compared with school days.
- Put the Physical in Education
NY Times Blog: When confronted with an overly active child, many exasperated teachers and parents respond the same way: “Sit still!” It might be more effective, though, to encourage the child to run. Recent research suggests that even small amounts of exercise enable children to improve their focus and academic performance. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics should make administrators question the wisdom of cutting PE classes. In short, the results showed that children with ADHD. were better students academically after exercise. So were the students without ADHD.
- More Homes Go Smoke-Free, But Exposure Remains A Health Threat
NPR: These days you’re pretty much guaranteed a smoke-free experience in stores, restaurants and on the job. But those laws usually don’t reach inside the home. Though more than three-quarters of homes are now smoke-free, millions of children and other relatives of smokers are still exposed to secondhand smoke, a study finds. The number of smoke-free homes rose from 43 percent in 1992-1993 to 83 percent in 2010-2011, according to a study of Census Bureau data published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
- Study: Follow-Up Critical After Developmental Screenings
Disability Scoop: In a study of clinic patients at a large children’s hospital in Colorado, researchers found that simply performing regular developmental screenings was often not enough to ensure kids got help. Even after implementing standardized screening procedures for doctors, just 20 percent of the children flagged as having possible delays were referred to community resources including early intervention. However, when the clinic began aggressively following up with phone calls in cases where children were found to have possible delays, referrals increased to 50 percent, the study found.
- Millions Struggle To Get Enough To Eat Despite Jobs Returning
NPR: The number of US families that struggled to get enough to eat last year was essentially unchanged from the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest report on “food security.” The agency says that about 17.5 million families — or 1 in 7 — were food insecure last year.
From this week’s news:
- Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?
NPRed: Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and it may be inhibiting their ability to recognize emotions, according to new research out of the University of California, Los Angeles. The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that sixth-graders who went five days without exposure to technology were significantly better at reading human emotions than kids who had regular access to phones, televisions and computers.
- Nutrition, Competitive Foods Rules Among Top Concerns for School Food Directors
EdWeek Rules for Engagement blog: School nutrition workers identified compliance with federal rules regarding nutrition and competitive foods, cost, and participation among the “most pressing issues” for meal programs in a survey released by the School Nutrition Association this week.
- Physical Fitness Associated With Less Depression in Middle School Girls
EdWeek Schooled in Sports blog: Physically fit middle school girls are significantly less likely to be depressed, according to a study presented earlier this month at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference in Washington.
- Parents’ Fights May Strain Bonds With Their Kids
HealthDay News: Arguments between parents may damage their relationships with their children, a new study indicates. On days when parents reported conflict and tension in their marriage, their dealings with their children were also strained, according to the study recently published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
- E-cigarettes may be tempting non-smoking youths to smoke: CDC study
Reuters: Electronic cigarettes may be more tempting to non-smoking youths than conventional cigarettes, and once young people have tried e-cigarettes they are more inclined to give regular cigarettes a try, U.S. researchers said on Monday. A report, released by a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lends evidence to the argument that electronic cigarettes encourage youth smoking.
- Pediatricians Say School Should Start Later For Teens’ Health
NPR Shots blog: Many parents have pushed for a later start to the school day for teenagers, with limited success. But parents just got a boost from the nation’s pediatricians, who say that making middle and high schoolers start classes before 8:30 a.m. threatens children’s’ health, safety and academic performance.
From this week’s news:
- An Epidemiological Study of Children Exposure to Violence in the Fragile Families Study
RWJF: A large body of research shows that children raised in low-income families are exposed to more violence than children raised in high-income families, including neighborhood violence, domestic violence and parental violence, also referred to as ‘harsh parenting.’ Violence, in turn, is known to be associated with children’s mental health and human capital development. This report summarizes what we have learned from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study about the prevalence, predictors and consequences of children’s exposure to 1) neighborhood violence, 2) intimate partner violence, and 3) harsh parenting.
- More Parents Reported Cases of Disabilities in Children In Past Decade
EdWeek On Special Ed Blog: An increasing number of parents—particularly higher-income parents—reported between 2001 and 2011 that their child had a disability, a new study finds. The biggest increase came from households with incomes that were more than 400 percent above the federal poverty level, according to the study in the journal Pediatrics.
- SNAP Benefits Now Used to Purchase Local Food Directly from Farmers in More than 5,000 Locations
USDA: New U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows that participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can now purchase fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers through more than 5,000 farmers markets, roadside markets and pick-your-own operations across America. The number of locations where SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food directly from farmers has increased five times since 2008.
- High Schools Letting Students Sleep In to Improve Grades and Health
EdWeek Time and Learning blog: You snooze, you lose, may be the wrong mantra for high school students. With the new school year upon us, more districts are responding to a growing body of research by giving teens more time to sleep at home so they won’t sleep in class.
- How To End Bullying: Participants Talk Action at National Summit
EdWeek Rules for Engagement blog: In the four years since the first Bullying Prevention Summit, there’s been an increased awareness in the country about the serious consequences related to bullying. At the fourth annual antibullying summit hosted at the U.S. Department of Education headquarters, participants discussed how to move from awareness to action. The daylong event was livestreamed, with multiple panel discussions, breakout sessions, and youth-led focus groups. Panelists included researchers, experts, and officials from several federal agencies.
- Study reveals high food allergy risks among inner-city kids
MedNews Today: According to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, MD, children who live in inner-city areas are more susceptible to food allergies. Results of the study are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
From this week’s news:
At lunch, home-packed may not mean healthy
Boston Globe: The nutritional shortcomings of school lunches have been a matter of national debate for decades — but the focus has been on what schools serve, not on what moms and dads pack in the lunch bags. Now Tufts University researchers have looked inside all those bags — and discovered that none of the lunches met all five National School Lunch Program standards, which emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low- or nonfat dairy, and only 27 percent of the lunches met at least three of the goals.
Obesity, Bullying, Drug Abuse Top Child Health Concerns in National Survey
EdWeek Rules for Engagement blog: Obesity, bullying, and drug abuse were ranked the top three child national health concerns in a nationwide survey released this week. When asked about their own communities, though, adult respondents gave slightly different answers. They ranked obesity, smoking, and tobacco use, and drug abuse as their top three concerns, according to the survey, which was conducted on behalf of the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
School Meal Programs Extend Their Reach
EdWeek: School nutrition programs are among the most widely supported food assistance programs, in part because of the wealth of research linking hunger with academic success. Nearly 31 million children participated in the National School Lunch Program in 2013-14,according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of those, 14.2 million received free meals and 2.9 million received them at a reduced price. More than 13 million children ate school breakfasts, 84.8 percent of them for free or at a reduced price.
Cultivation of Curiosity in Children Linked to Later Aptitude in Science
EdWeek Rules for Engagement blog: All children have some level of innate curiosity that drives them to explore the way things work. But parents can cultivate that curiosity by exposing their children to new ideas and encouraging them to ask questions. And doing so could lead to effects that unfold for years, Adele E. Gottfried, a professor of educational psychology at California State University Northridge, said at the American Psychological Association Convention.