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Whole Children and Strong Communities

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Whole Children and Strong Communities

January 6, 2017

Bill Raden, Capital & Main

In a sign that California is quickly emerging as the nation’s progressive conscience-in-exile, a new Los Angeles education-reform group has launched an ambitious initiative that it claims could close historic student achievement gaps in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Members of Reclaim Our Schools LA (ROS-LA), a coalition of educators, labor unions and social justice organizations, told a December media event attended by about one hundred parents, students and supporters in the library of South L.A.’s Dorsey High School, that the key to substantive school reform is to transform LAUSD into a “community school district.” Community schools, which have roots in the progressive movement of the early 20th century but have been undergoing a recent revival, look beyond academics to the entrenched, poverty-related social, emotional and health barriers that keep kids in high-needs districts from succeeding in school. The approach redresses those needs by partnering with families, local government and community-based organizations to provide “wraparound services” — health clinics, mental health counselors, after-school programs or parent support services — on school grounds.


Kathy Moore and Patty Giggans, EdSource

Young people experiencing dating abuse often live in a world of isolation, self-doubt and fear that affects every aspect of their lives, including school. Jessica, a survivor of teen dating abuse, has a story that is all too common. When Jessica was a sophomore at Fairfield High School, she began dating a fellow student. She believed that the intensity of his feelings for her caused his initial jealousy. But that soon transformed into a pattern of overbearing control. He declared that no one else existed besides the two of them. He forbade her from talking to girlfriends and young men. He dictated that she not wear makeup or skirts. Beginning to feel her independence diminishing, Jessica became depressed and agonized over how to end a relationship with someone who said he would commit suicide if she broke up with him. Not surprisingly, her classroom participation declined. In a class she and her boyfriend shared, she fell silent and stopped participating in a group project when he stared at her with threatening disapproval at the prospect of her interacting with other boys in the group. She felt humiliated and defeated. One in four youth in the United States struggles through some form of dating abuse. Nearly half of students who have experienced dating abuse report that at least part of the abuse occurred at school. It’s not unusual for a student’s academic performance to suffer as a result, as it did in Jessica’s case.


Esmeralda Bermudez, Los Angeles Times

Nathan Hobbs couldn’t believe his eyes. He rubbed them with his fists, he blinked, then he looked once more. There it was, just a few days after Thanksgiving, perched on the branch of a coral tree outside Ms. Gil’s classroom. Some sort of owl with long legs, white brows and bright, yellow eyes. Nathan, 9, had no idea how the bird found its way to the courtyard of his school, Esperanza Elementary, near MacArthur Park in the middle of the city. “This is a big deal,” he thought. Nathan told a teacher, who then told Brad Rumble, the school’s principal and a man who takes bird matters very seriously. Rumble pulled a few students out of class to observe the visitor, identified as a burrowing owl. In a neighborhood of asphalt, street vendors and crowded apartment buildings, this was their closest encounter yet with nature.


Nurith Aizenman, NPR

Talking publicly about women's menstruation has long been a taboo. But in 2016 the world made big strides getting over the squeamishness. There was the Chinese swimmer at the Rio Olympics who had no qualms explaining that she was on her period after she finished a race grimacing in pain. Some medical students in India launched a "haiku" contest on menstruation. New York joined the growing number of states that have ended taxation of tampons and sanitary pads. The new openness has also sparked a widening conversation about how menstruation might affect girls in poor countries — their health, their confidence, even their education. Marni Sommer, a professor at Columbia University, was among the first social science researchers to look into this topic — and, for a while, one of the only ones. "When I started doing this in 2004 it was a pretty lonely world," she says. But not anymore. The work that she and other pioneers have done suggested that girls are having difficulty managing their periods — and it could be harming their education. And that has helped spur a groundswell of interest from girls' advocates, policymakers and researchers.


December 16, 2016

Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

At first, the playground at Officer Willie Wilkins Park looks pretty standard. There’s a slide to skid down, ramps to climb up, bridges to cross, and nooks to investigate. But there’s also something relatively unusual: words, and lots of them. Mixed in among the bright primary colors of the structure are white panels plastered with whimsical illustrations and phrases like “let’s talk about the sunshine” and “let’s talk about food.” They’re not a random addition; the panels are a deliberate attempt to foster early language and brain development in babies and toddlers. The park sits in the eastern part of the city, in a neighborhood with high poverty rates and low educational attainment. Studies suggest that a 30-million “word gap” exists between low- and upper-income children: Poor children hear, understand, and use fewer words, which can have long-term negative consequences. Babies who hear fewer words are less likely to do well in school and kids who drop out of school are less likely to be healthy adults.


Bruce D. Perry, Education Week

The most remarkable feature of humankind is the flexibility of our brains. This neuroplasticity—or the brain's ability to adjust its activities in response to new situations—is what has allowed our species to make dramatic changes from generation to generation. Humans have evolved from small hunter-gatherer clans to urban, digitally connected, international communities. The most malleable part of our brain is the neocortex, which can absorb and store more bits of information than the brains of any other species. This capacity for cognitive thinking allowed us to create language, democracy, and thousands of other inventions. In fact, our most remarkable invention is public education: a structured system to provide the social and cognitive stimulation children need to take advantage of their brain's malleability and develop knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and history. By providing structured cognitive and social experiences, the U.S. public education system has expressed the potential of millions of children, which has, in turn, led to invention, creativity, and productivity that has transformed the world.The key to the success of any educational experience is the capacity to "get to the cortex." Yet, each year, nearly one-third of all children attending U.S. public schools will have significantly impaired cortical functioning due to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, poverty, and other adversities. Understanding the effects of trauma on a child's brain and how these effects alter the ability to learn is essential to improving our public education system.


Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post; Alfie Kohn, author of Schooling Beyond Measure

When students are rated with letter or number grades, research shows they’re apt to think in a shallower fashion — and to lose interest in what they’re learning — as compared with students who aren’t graded at all. Alternative methods for reporting student progress are not only less destructive but also potentially more informative. Given the absence of pros to balance the cons, then, you have to wonder why grades persist. The only explanation that seems even halfway persuasive is the fear that kids won’t get into college if they aren’t tagged with a GPA. But of course that doesn’t explain why grades would be used in middle school (or, heaven help us, elementary school), where students’ performance is of no interest to colleges.[1] Moreover, some (public and private) high schools do not give any grades at all, and their graduates are regularly accepted by both large state universities and small, selective colleges.


December 9, 2016

Greg Allen, NPR

Every December, Miami's annual Art Basel fair draws artists, dealers and buyers from around the world. This year, dozens of artists could be found not in galleries or at cocktail parties, but painting at an elementary school. Spanish painter Marina Capdevila was one of more than 30 artists working at Eneida Hartner Elementary School in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. Her cartoon-style painting of elderly women doing water aerobics is intended, she says, to get the kids to smile. "Always I'm trying to, when I do murals, to bring a little of my sense of humor to make people laugh," she says. Over the last decade, Miami's Wynwood neighborhood has been revitalized by art. Galleries, restaurants and artists' studios have moved in. Walls throughout the area are now covered in murals and Wynwood has become a tourist destination. Now, Eneida Hartner Elementary is getting in on the action.


Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post

If you have paid attention to the school reform debate in recent years, you would be forgiven for thinking that public schools across the board are failing students and that schools that are struggling can only improve if they fire all of their staff, become a charter school or let the state take them over. It’s just not so. This is clear in a project called the Schools of Opportunity, launched a few years ago by educators who sought to highlight public high schools that actively seek to close opportunity gaps through 11 research-proven practices and not standardized test scores (which are more a measure of socioeconomic status than anything else). The project assesses how well schools provide health and psychological support for students, judicious and fair discipline policies, high-quality teacher mentoring programs, outreach to the community, effective student and faculty support systems, and broad and enriched curriculum. Schools submit applications explaining why they believe their school should be recognized.


Ruth Berkowitz, Hadass Moore, Ron Avi Astor, and Rami Benbenishty, Review of Educational Research

Educational researchers and practitioners assert that supportive school and classroom climates can positively influence the academic outcomes of students, thus potentially reducing academic achievement gaps between students and schools of different socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds. Nonetheless, scientific evidence establishing directional links and mechanisms between SES, school climate, and academic performance is inconclusive. This comprehensive review of studies dating back to the year 2000 examined whether a positive climate can successfully disrupt the associations between low SES and poor academic achievement. Positive climate was found to mitigate the negative contribution of weak SES background on academic achievement; however, most studies do not provide a basis for deducing a directional influence and causal relations. Additional research is encouraged to establish the nature of impact positive climate has on academic achievement and a multifaceted body of knowledge regarding the multilevel climate dimensions related to academic achievement.


December 2, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

If President-elect Donald Trump were a high school student in California, he might find himself in a restorative justice circle making amends for his hurtful words and behavior.

“He would be in a lot of trouble,” said Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA researcher who studies student bullying. Supported by civil rights laws, brain science and research on learning, schools in California and across the nation have increasingly made it a priority to try to create classrooms that are welcoming to all. The goal is civil discourse, improved academic performance and fewer discipline incidents. Positive school climate is part of the idea behind elementary school students shaking hands with their teachers in the morning, middle school students creating “No Bullying!” posters and high school students talking it out in stress management support groups. In California, improving “school climate” is part of the new education accountability system, although no one is quite sure what to measure.

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

Their eyes shift from joy to fatigue as they walk hand in hand and take in the tents, the smells, the people. The smaller ones tune it out, faces blank. The eldest openly stare. These are the children of skid row — black, white, Latino. They have pink and red Adidas sneakers or thumbs in their mouths or studs that glint like diamonds in their ears or the first hint of hair above their lips. They’re sisters and friends who profess their love for each other, who like listening to music when they study, who talk in class without raising their hands. They could be any kids.


Noah Adams, NPR

The young women in this story have labels. Three labels: Single, mother, college student. They're raising a child and getting an education — three of the 2.6 million unmarried parents attending U.S. colleges and universities. Getting a degree is hard enough for anyone, but these students face extra challenges. And when it comes to helping out with their needs, Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., is considered one of the best in the country. It's a liberal arts school with 1,100 students. There's a large farm, an equestrian program, and 15 students in the Single Parent Scholars program. This year all are moms, though men are welcome too.


November 18, 2016

Alia Wong, The Atlantic
In Florida, a coalition of parents known as “the recess moms” has been fighting to pass legislation guaranteeing the state’s elementary-school students at least 20 minutes of daily free play. Similar legislation recently passed in New Jersey, only to be vetoed by the governor, who deemed it “stupid.” When, you might ask, did recess become such a radical proposal? In a survey of school-district administrators, roughly a third said their districts had reduced outdoor play in the early 2000s. Likely culprits include concerns about bullying and the No Child Left Behind Act, whose time-consuming requirements resulted in cuts to play. Disadvantaged kids have been the most likely to be shortchanged: According to a 2003 study, just 56 percent of children living at or below the poverty line had recess, compared with 83 percent of those above the poverty line; a similar disparity was noted between black children and their white peers.


Fermin Leal, EdSource
Daniel Chambers’ classes at Banning High School in Los Angeles include hoisting a heavy water hose around his shoulders and running around the track, lifting a 20-foot ladder to climb up the sides of buildings, and dressing in heavy fire coats and other gear within one minute. Chambers, a sophomore, is one of 70 students from Banning High enrolled in the campus’ first-ever Fire Academy, a four-year career pathway that will prepare them for jobs as firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians. “I’m receiving training I wouldn’t be able to get almost anywhere else,” Chambers said. The Fire Academy is also part of a new wave of career training pathways that school districts are creating to prepare students for very specific jobs. For example, Los Angeles Unified students can now enroll in pathways such as coding, which was previously under the computer sciences umbrella; radiology, formerly part of the healthcare program; or filmmaking, which was part of the broad multimedia pathway.


Gary Warth, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Cal State San Marcos will launch a series of summits, special events and training sessions aimed at improving literacy through the arts in a new countywide campaign. The program, called ART=OPPORTUNITY, will be funded with a $200,000 grant from the Student Foundation and is focused on providing access to better education for all children and will include technical assistance to implement arts plans, professional development, and mentoring. ART=OPPORTUNITY will be implemented by Merryl Goldberg, executive director of Center ARTES, a university center dedicated to restoring arts to education. Goldberg, a CSUSM professor of music, will be joined by a leadership team of arts educators, professionals and area nonprofits in leading the program.


November 11, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Most of the 3rd-graders in Anita Parameswaran’s class at Daniel Webster Elementary in San Francisco have had experiences so awful that their brains won’t let them easily forget. “Whether it be that they’ve been sexually molested, or they’ve seen domestic violence, or shootings, or they know somebody who’s passed away,” Parameswaran said, “I would say every single year about 75 percent, give or take, come in with a lot of trauma.” Now a national campaign is recognizing, backed by research on brain development, the power of teachers like Parameswaran to lower the levels of stress hormones in a child’s body and strengthen the neural connections needed for learning and self-control. The campaign, called Changing Minds and launched last month, is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Justice, the nonprofit group Futures Without Violence and the Ad Council, a nonprofit agency that creates public service advertisements.


Christine Huard, The San Diego Union-Tribune

More than 1,500 students from every school district in South County received comprehensive eye exams and picked out a new pair of glasses last week. Whether because of a lack of access or the cost, some of the children had never had their vision tested. And for others, it had been years since they last had their eyes looked at by an optometrist. As they excitedly waited in line, many had only one thing on their minds. “Do they have black frames?” 10-year-old Nicolas Mendez asked. “I want black frames that say ‘Raiders’ on the side.” Two of his classmates from Ira Harbison Elementary School in National City wanted the same. And from the look of the dwindling number of color choices available last Thursday morning at the annual OneSight San Diego clinic, so did a lot of other kids. “They all want black,” volunteer Brigette Messbarger said. “And all the kids want big glasses this year.” OneSight is a nonprofit organization with a mission that reaches around the world. It’s aim is to unlock each person’s full potential through clear sight. The National City Host Lions Club has partnered with the organization for 11 years now to provide eye clinics each November at Camacho Gym in Las Palmas Park.


Lydia Emmanouilidou, NPR

When Patricia Gentile was settling in as the new president of North Shore Community College in Massachusetts — about twenty miles north of Boston — she remembers looking out her window and seeing something strange. “All of these cars rolling up, and tons of folks getting in and out,” Gentile says, thinking about that January day a couple years ago. “So I asked my assistant, ‘What's going on down there?’” Turns out that's where students were picked up and dropped off, but Gentile wondered why there were just so many cars. “And that's how I found out that this campus was not accommodated by public transportation.” The closest option? A bus stop at a mall about four miles away. Once you arrive there, though, getting the rest of the way is up to you.


November 4, 2016

Kat Lonsdorf, NPR
Every day at Weiner Elementary School starts with a dance party, usually to Best Day of My Life by American Authors — and that's before the 7:50 a.m. bell even rings. Then comes the morning assembly, where all 121 students and the staff gather for 20 minutes in the cafeteria of the school in Weiner, Ark. They sing songs and learn about an artist, a musician and an international city of the week. They celebrate birthdays. A lucky student is crowned Student of the Day. And Pam Hogue makes it her goal to be an educator instead of a principal. That assembly — and the many other things this school does to create a sense of community and happiness — is part of what experts call school climate.


Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times
If students in local public schools refused to quench their thirst with water, would the schools offer them soda instead? Of course not. And if they won’t drink milk, the answer shouldn’t be to add sugar, chocolate or artificial strawberry flavoring and coloring to it. L.A. Unified schools are in a tough position. The only drink they are allowed to offer students that meets federal school-lunch rules for high-nutrition foods is milk. Under federal rules, that milk can be sweetened and flavored. But under a separate L.A. Unified rule, sugar-sweetened drinks are banned — including flavored milk. So in effect, the only drink schools can provide to students in their school lunches is plain milk.  


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

Approximately 1.8 million U.S. children were home-schooled in 2012, more than double the number that were home-schooled in 1999, when the federal government began gathering data on national home-schooling trends, according to estimates released Tuesday. The estimated number of home-schooled children represents 3.4 percent of the U.S. student population between the ages of 5 and 17. The increase was fastest between 1999 and 2007, then slowed between 2007 and 2012, according to the estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The figures show that most home-schoolers were white and living above the poverty line in 2012. An estimated 4 in 10 home-schoolers had parents who graduated from college, while about 1 in 10 had parents whose formal education ended before they graduated from high school.


October 28, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Moving away from the no-frills, test-driven approach to education of the No Child Left Behind era, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. on Friday released guidance about new federal block grants designed to fund a more varied curriculum, a more positive school environment and a more integrated use of technology. The newly authorized Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants are intended to provide schools the flexibility to fund programs they feel are most crucial to well-being and intellectual curiosity of their students. Created under the federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the grant program consolidates targeted grants that were used under the previous federal education law, No Child Left Behind.


Moriah Ballingit, The Washington Post

Chuck Rosenberg is the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, a former prosecutor and investigator with more than two decades of experience. His administration is on the front lines of a rising opioid abuse epidemic that is projected to kill about 30,000 people in the United States this year. But when it comes to teaching teenagers about the dangers of opioid abuse — about how the drugs are killing their peers — he said he realizes that he might not be the best source.


Jonathan F. Zaff and Thomas Malone, Center for Promise

A new brief from the Center for Promise explores whether increasing the number of adults in a community results in more young people on a positive path to adult success. While there has been a steady improvement over the last 40 years in the overall rate of youth leaving school, researchers have long noted substantial variation by state, city and neighborhood. Using Decennial Census data (1970-2010), Center for Promise researchers looked into reasons for the variation.


October 21, 2016

Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times

How can elementary schools save nearly $50 per student? By bringing in dental professionals to put sealants on their molars, federal health officials said Tuesday. If that doesn’t sound like an education-related problem, consider this: Cavities that go untreated cause kids to do worse in school.


Emily Goldberg, The Atlantic

Across the United States, up to one in five children suffers from a mental disorder in a given year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This equates to more than 17 million young people who meet criteria for disorders that affect their ability to learn, behave, and express their emotions. Giving children access to mental-health resources early in their education, however, can play a key role in mitigating negative consequences later in life, said David Anderson, the senior director of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute.


Peter Rowe, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sixth-grader Josh Zientek literally immersed himself in a cutting-edge educational tool: a tub of mud. “Get your hands in there and mix it up,” Sharyl Massey, an instructor, told a gaggle of 12- and 13-year-olds gathered in a greenhouse. They were preparing soil for milkweed seeds that some day will sprout and nourish flocks of migrating Monarch butterflies.

For 70 years, Cuyamaca Outdoor School — better known as sixth grade camp — has specialized in such hands-on, low-tech assignments. Even today there’s a decided lack of laptops or iPads, but few seem to mind.


October 14, 2016

Kat Lonsdorf, NPR

Middle school is tough. Bodies change. Hormones rage. Algebra becomes a reality. But there are things schools can do to make life easier for students — like this big study we wrote about showing that K-8 schools may be better for kids than traditional middle schools.

But aside from re-configuring an entire school system, are there other ways to make the sixth-grade experience better?


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Most school days, 17-year-old Alex Snyder eats lunch with a pot-bellied pig named Peanut.

John R. Wooden High School is small. It doesn’t have a football field or a swimming pool or a gym. But it has a farm. And the farm has become a central part of Alex’s life. “It’s my job to go around...every morning and feed the animals,” Alex recently told students visiting the grounds during his first-period animal behavior class as he took them by a pair of tussling goats, past the shed filled with hay for the two alpacas, toward the pigs who were lying by the small pond.


Evie Blad, Education Week

Helping schools figure out how to better teach social and emotional skills to students alongside traditional academic subjects will be the focus of a new, multiyear endeavor recently announced by the Aspen Institute. The aim of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, which has members from all three sectors, is to "advance a new vision for what constitutes success in schools," the Aspen Institute said in a statement announcing the group's formation.


October 7, 2016

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Anyone looking for confirmation of the nation’s cultural divide can add education and gender-neutral bathrooms to the list of proof points. North Carolina sparked a national furor by requiring transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates, citing risks to children in schools as a primary justification. California has been shifting the other way with little fanfare.


Sharon Noguchi, The Mercury News

At least two Saturdays each month, a few hundred students crowd into Overfelt High School’s library and classrooms to research papers, catch up on homework and collaborate on projects.

It’s not that the students love spending weekends at school. Some are getting extra credit or making up work, but many are drawn by the school’s internet access — something that an estimated 400 students, nearly a third of Overfelt’s student body, don’t have at home. Soon, that problem could disappear. In one of the nation’s first efforts at creating a school-district-wide network that reaches into students’ homes, the East Side Union High School District and city of San Jose are teaming up to provide free wireless internet access in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.


September 30, 2016


Christina Cox, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal

California is now the first state in the county to require suicide prevention policies in middle schools and high schools statewide. Assembly Bill 2246 “Suicide Prevention Policies in School,” authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and sponsored by Equality California and The Trevor Project, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday. The new law requires local district schools to adopt unique suicide prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for students in grades 7 to 12. Policymakers hope the law will save lives and reduce the statistics of what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention calls the second-leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.


Michael Collier, EdSource

When Gov. Jerry Brown pushed his idea for giving local schools and districts more control over decision making, few people would have predicted that in at least one California elementary school district physical education would rise to the top of its list of priorities.

That’s what happened in the K-6 Robla School District on the outskirts of Sacramento, which serves mostly low-income Latino and Asian students. Using funds received from the Local Control Funding Formula, the district hired five new physical education teachers this year – one for each school in the district. But school leaders have gone way beyond more P.E. They have come up with an ambitious plan to revolutionize the way the district’s 2,200 students, their families, teachers and staff eat, exercise and relax – with additional help from charitable organizations.


Patrick Butler, The Guardian

In Finland, whose comprehensive school system has sat at the top of Europe’s rankings for the past 16 years, the narrow, heated debates on school governance and structure that obsess the UK – free schools, academies, grammars – do not exist. Schools ultimately deliver academic success, the Finns would agree - and there has been intense worldwide interest in how they manage it (see below) – but they would also argue that groundwork for good school performance begins earlier, long before children enter formal school, and arguably while their future pupils are still in nappies.


September 23, 2016


Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

The California Department of Education has named 13 educators to a planning team to develop social and emotional learning guidelines for schools across the state, a sign of the growing state and national interest in teaching students the interpersonal skills that contribute to success in college and work. The planning team marks the start of California’s involvement in a new eight-state project known as the Collaborating States Initiative, launched in July by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, a Chicago-based nonprofit. The two-year initiative is intended to help state educators understand what social and emotional learning — which includes teaching students to listen respectfully, manage stress and set personal goals — looks like in the classroom and how states might map out a grade-level guide to developmentally appropriate skills.


Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week

No matter how diligent teachers and administrators are, it's easy for bullying to happen under the noses of adults at school. In the bathrooms, the hallways, and on social media, students are often the only ones around to police themselves. That's why researchers at Princeton, Rutgers, and Yale universities are analyzing middle schoolers' social networks to find the students most likely to change their classmates' attitudes around bullying. They are finding that bullying is generally driven not by a few bad apples but by a majority of students within the overall culture of a school.


Meg Anderson, NPR

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide. And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money. When there are enough people to handle the job, how should all the different roles fit together?

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