Wraparound Student Supports
In order to help all students succeed, our nation must provide supports and opportunities that extend beyond the classroom to address the many and varied needs students bring with them to school. Because of their centralized location in the community, schools are an ideal place to house and coordinate access to a host of wraparound supports for students and their families, including health services, socio-emotional supports, tutoring, afterschool programs, pre-kindergarten, job training, English classes and more
The Latest on Wraparound Student Supports
Meridian, MS, has been in the news often in the past several months for it's horrendous school-to-prison pipeline. But the sad reality is that the injustices committed there – the heavy and unequal punishments levied for minor offenses, the absurd amount of police involvement in school discipline, the denial of due process rights to students – are happening across the state. A new report from our allies at the Mississippi NAACP, the ACLU, and the Advancement Project reveals that "Mississippi is mired in an extreme school discipline crisis."
Who better to talk about the challenges and opportunities young women of color face in education than the young women themselves? As part of an ongoing project, the Wellesley Centers for Women partnered with Boston-based Teen Voices to produce a short film featuring teens "as the experts and agents of their own learning experiences, offering examples of effective strategies and solutions for closing the opportunity gap." The goal of the project is to promote public discourse about barriers to educational equity for girls of color and push for change in education policy and practice.
A new report from Ohio Communities United (OCU) is a perfect snapshot of what effective parent and community engagement looks like in public education reform. The report, "Speaking Out of School," came about following a series of "listening circles" held in Cleveland, which gathered input from parents and community members about the policies and practices they would like to see implemented in their schools and in which they want to be involved. Highlighted throughout the report are the powerful, personal stories of individual parents as well as features on programs across the country that have successfully engaged parents and community members to create stronger public schools.
This must-watch video is a touching short film that elevates the voices of those at the center of America's education crisis – namely, the parents, teachers and students who must bear the brunt of today's standards-based reform agenda (which includes standardize testing, school closures, merit pay, competitive grants, inequitable funding, etc.) without the supports they need meet those standards or provide every student with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.
Check out this amazing video chronicling Journey for Justice, a protest event held in Washington, D.C. in September! Advocates from across the country (including several OTL allies) traveled to the nation's capital to rally and march against school closures, which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Before being given the axe, these schools are often set up to fail: they're chronically underfunded and unable to provide the types of resources and opportunities students need to succeed. As the advocates in the video say, "Justice is equitable funding for all our schools."
We've all heard about the long-term benefits on early childhood education and services. Better access to quality early opportunities increases graduation rates, saves communities money on remediation or criminal justice, and increases the tax base. But how about the short-term? Short-term benefits are easier to build public and, crucially, political will around. "Savings Now, Savings Later" is an incredibly useful two-page brief from ReadyNation that outlines all the benefits of early childhood education and services in easy-to-understand, statistics-filled talking points. From parent mentoring programs to basic health care services to quality pre-k programs, the evidence is clear: access to these programs creates healthier and stronger children, families and communities.
The Dignity in Schools Campaign is gearing up for their annual National Week of Action on School Pushout! Check out this trailer for the event, and click here to learn more and get involved in your local community!
Let the students from Youth United for Change, PhillyCAM and Art Factory fill you in on the crisis facing public schools in Philadelphia. The groups produced a short "docu-music video" chronicling the effects of school closures on students, teachers and communities. "Project 2012: Ending the Education Apocalypse" is hands down one of the best pieces of student activism you'll see!