AN INFORMED COMMUNITY OF CARING ADULTS CIVICALLY ENGAGED IN STUDENT SUCCESS
SPOTLIGHT THIS ISSUE: Social-Emotional Development and Learning
Contentious rhetoric from a minority has put educators and experts on the defense about the long-established benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL). The public has weathered months of political football on the topic. With heightened national concern about student well-being and learning loss, it's time to discuss what states, districts, and schools should do to ensure students develop the competencies necessary to promote learning and development.
Debates in the media fail to highlight what's happening on the ground in schools. SEL programs and spending in districts across the country have risen significantly over the past few years. Attention and spending have increased as federal stimulus dollars become available, and districts prioritize students' mental health, well-being, and social and emotional competence more than previously.
When students develop significant social and emotional competence, they are more likely to graduate high school, prepare for post-secondary education, achieve career success, maintain positive work and family relationships, maintain better mental health, reduce criminal behavior, and participate in active citizenship (Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015).
Keeping this in mind, the Trust believes that now is the time for systemic change.
- States adopt comprehensive SEL standards.
- Districts and schools incorporate family, student, and community voices into SEL implementation practices.
- Districts embrace systems and practices that support adult SEL
- Education systems, SEL providers, and schools align and integrate.
Stephanie Parry's full article on this topic appeared in K-12 Dive, the leading publication of Industry Dive focused on K-12 education's most consequential news and trends, on December 9, 2022. Read Article Here
REQUEST FOR COMMUNITY INPUT
School Provider and Quality Implementation Workgroup (SPQI) Statewide Survey
The Newark Trust for Education, in partnership with SEL4NJ's School Provider and Quality Implementation (SPQI) workgroup, announces the launch of a statewide survey to collect data to develop a framework for effective school-provider relationships that support high-quality SEL implementation. We want to get the perspectives of school-based staff, providers, district administrators, and parents/caregivers on this critical and timely topic. We want you to complete the survey if you fit within one of these constituent groups. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. We will raffle off ten $10 gift cards to those who complete the survey.
Please select one stakeholder group that you feel you best represent and fill out the corresponding survey using the appropriate link below.
POLICY AND PRACTICE THE TRUST IS FOLLOWING
Bill Requiring Medicaid Reimbursement for Covered Behavioral Health Services
Action: The Newark Trust for Education signed on to a request to post S-2416 for consideration at the next meeting of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Others signing on to this request are the New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey School Principals and Supervisors Association, New Jersey Association of School Psychologists, CarePlus NJ, Garden State Coalition of Schools, The Kennedy Forum, and Inseparable.
This bill, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal (D-11), requires Medicaid reimbursement of covered behavioral health services provided by local education agencies, including services provided by telehealth, for all Medicaid-enrolled students.
Rationale: The Newark Trust for Education has supported efforts to increase mental health support for students in schools since 2016. Our work has highlighted the importance of sustainable funding streams to ensure adequate school-based mental health services.
Recent articles have highlighted the increase in school mental health needs in New Jersey post-pandemic, which puts a strain on educators and families. Black and Hispanic youth, in particular, struggle with getting the help they need.
According to the Advocates for Children of New Jersey's Newark Kids Count 2022 report, student-to-counselor ratios are 538:1 in Newark and 351:1 across New Jersey public schools. These levels are not sufficient to support the need.
Now, more than ever, the topic of public funding sources should be at the forefront of the policy conversation at the state level.
Multiple state Medicaid programs cover school-based mental health services for all students covered by Medicaid. Still, New Jersey limits coverage to students on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), leaving federal dollars on the table that families could use to support services to students with mental health needs.
Leveraging Medicaid in New Jersey to support school mental health services would help reduce disparities and increase access by providing help where youth are—in school—while more efficiently using taxpayer dollars.
- To read the full letter to the Senate, click here.
- Gopal Bill Requiring Medicaid Reimbursement for Covered Behavioral Health Services Clears Committee
HAPPENING AT THE TRUST
FAMILY LEADERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT
We want your feedback.
The Trust has co-developed a draft position paper, Organizing for Change: Parent and Family Leadership in System Reform. You can access a draft copy here (5-minute read time). After reading it, we ask that you comment on it by filling out this form (3- to 5- minute completion time).
SUPPORT FOR NEWARK'S PARENT COORDINATORS
The Newark Trust for Education is seeking ways to support parent coordinators. First, we want to engage individual coordinators in 30-minute phone conversations to understand your work. After these conversations, we will explore the possibility of forming partnerships, collaboratively developing projects, and identifying and securing resources.
If you are a parent coordinator in a Newark school, we would like to explore connections between what you're doing and the Trust. Please take two minutes to fill out this form, and we will follow up with you.
THE TRUST IN THE NEWS
4 strategies for unlocking the value of SEL, K-12 Dive, By Stephanie Parry, Published December 9, 2022
Stephanie Parry is director of P-12 strategy at the Newark Trust for Education, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public education quality in Newark, New Jersey. Read Article Here
NEWARK IN THE NEWS
5 Positive Things That Recently Happened In Newark's Public Schools: A new school. A state-of-the-art bakery. And a milestone pre-K ballet program. Catch up with some smile-inducing upgrades in Newark.
Eric Kiefer, Patch Staff, Posted Tue, December 6, 2022, at 11:50 am Read the Story Here
Absenteeism still on the rise in Newark Public Schools: Of 58 schools, 51 had an increase in chronic absenteeism, By MARK J. BONAMO, Published December 4, 2022, at 5:38 PM, Last Updated December 4, 2022, at 6:00 PM. Read the Story Here
Newark Activist, Advocate, Organizer Roberto Cabañas Jr. Remembered with Street Sign, By MARK J. BONAMO, Published December 2, 2022, at 8:06 PM, Last Updated December 2, 2022. Read the Story Here
A MESSAGE FROM THE TRUST