The California Department of Education recently released a guidebook for reopening schools. I was particularly drawn to pages 34-36 on “Mental Health and The Well-being of All”. This guide book is easy to read and navigate and should be a good reference tool for reopening.
As a parent, we have the responsibility to teach our kids how to interact with others effectively. Social skills are key to navigate through life and can be an incredible asset for future success. The link below has 101 social skill activities!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Real and Lasting Impacts of Social-Emotional Learning with At-Risk Students
Finding a way to reach at-risk students who are struggling in various ways can be difficult, but social-emotional learning can open doors. Copious research has shown that the impact of social-emotional learning (SEL) runs deep. SEL programs are shown to increase academic achievement and positive social interactions, and decrease negative outcomes later in life. SEL helps individuals develop competencies that last a lifetime.
The five components of social-emotional learning are:
- social awareness
- relationship skills
- responsible decision-making
“When students are struggling and school performance is poor, they are more likely to find school and learning as a source of anxiety, manifesting in diminished self-efficacy, motivation, engagement, and connectedness with school,” says Dr. Christina Cipriano. Therefore, when it comes to our nation’s most at-risk students, receiving SEL training in the classroom can make a huge difference in preparing them for a healthy and successful life well beyond school.
One of the most extensive studies of the long-term impacts of SEL was completed by researchers from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL); Loyola University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of British Columbia. Their work reviewed over 213 studies on the impacts of SEL. According to CASEL, they found that students who were part of SEL programs showed 11 percentile-point gains in academic achievement over those who were not a part of such programs. Compared to students who did not participate in SEL programs, students participating in SEL programs also showed:
- Improved classroom behavior
- An increased ability to manage stress and depression
- Better attitudes about themselves, others, and school
These student perceptions coupled with developed emotional intelligence lead to long-term academic success. SEL has the ability to give at-risk students the tools they need to overcome obstacles and plug into their education for long-term achievement.
Positive life outcomes
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked at students 13 to 19 years after they received social skills training through the Fast Track Project. Fast Track, which was run in four communities: Durham, Nashville, rural Pennsylvania, and Seattle, describes its work as “based on the hypothesis that improving child competencies, parenting effectiveness, school context, and school-home communications will, over time, improve psychopathology from early childhood through adulthood.”
The study also found that teaching social skills in kindergarten leads to students being less likely to live in public housing, receive public assistance, or to be involved in criminal activity. “At age 25, people who were assigned to the program are happier, have fewer psychiatric and substance abuse problems, are less likely to have risky sex, and are arrested less often for severe violence and drug-related crimes,” according to Child Trends.
Early interventions of SEL show outcomes far into adulthood, reducing the life risks for impoverished and at-risk students.
Researchers have also found that SEL reduces aggressive behaviors in the classroom, freeing teachers and students to focus more on learning. Research shows that students who receive SEL training are 42% less likely to be involved in physical aggression in schools. Mindfulness practices, a staple of SEL, were shown to reduce reactive stress responses in students. One study examined breathing techniques as a means to calm students with behavioral and emotional difficulties. The study revealed that mindfulness exercises can have a noticeable and positive impact on reducing reactive behavior and aggression.
Research shows that children with a stronger social-emotional skill set were less likely to experience health problems, struggle with substance abuse, or engage in criminal activity as they got older. A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety
Additional research further illustrates how early education programs promote social mobility within and across generations, helps prevent obesity, reduce health care expenditures and leads to overall higher-quality of life.
Considerations for Academic Assessments and Interventions Upon the Return to School
Link to PDF
COVID-19 has caused the closure of nearly all schools in the United States, affecting more than 55 million students. Efforts to continue education for children via remote instruction have been highly variable, ranging from daily contact via the web with the student’s regular teacher(s) to no contact at all. In fact, in the Los Angeles Times, Blume and Kohli reported that one-third of high school students in L.A. Unified had not checked in daily online with their teachers since schools had closed, and a much smaller number (15,000) had never checked in at all.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic raised immediate worries about students including their access to a safe and supervised environment comparable to what they would get in school, access to food programs, access to routine and compensatory special education services for students with disabilities, and the provision of general instruction toward important grade-level objectives necessary for success as children continue in school.
Schools are working now to determine when and how students and staff may return to school safely. One of the challenges that schools must address is the significant disruption to the learning process. Because students’ experiences during remote learning were highly variable, schools will need to assume that children have lost about 25% of the prior grade level’s instruction because most schools were closed for 8–10 weeks of the typical 36-week school year. Compounding the problem of lost instruction will be missing assessment data. Children are routinely screened for important milestones in reading, math, and writing and participate in year-end accountability assessments to quantify the degree to which the schools are providing instruction that is sufficient to help most children attain proficiency. Because of the timing of the closures, spring screenings and year-end accountability assessment data will not be available.
These converging events—loss of instruction and an absence of data—create a perfect storm for school psychologists who are responsible for helping schools meet the needs of diverse learners, including identifying and making eligible those students who are in need of special education. NASP has developed a series of resources and webinars to provide actionable how-to advice to cope with missing academic data, identify children in need of instructional supports, and use the resulting data to inform referral and eligibility decisions. These are available in the NASP COVID-19 Resource Center at http://www.nasponline.org/COVID-19. Importantly, many students will be returning to school with increased social-emotional and mental health issues associated with the crisis, which will complicate school function in many ways. It will be imperative that schools attend to the mental wellness of students on a school-wide, classroom, and individual basis as intentionally as academic interventions and supports. Resources regarding students’ mental health are also available in the NASP COVID-19 Resource Center.
New Screening Procedures Will Be Required
Schools—and school psychologists—will be eager to collect fall screening data to make decisions as quickly as possible upon a return to face-to-face learning. However, fall screening must proceed differently than it has in the past.
There will be a higher prevalence of academic risk in nearly all schools. Children will be arriving at the next grade level having only received about a 75% dose of the prior year’s academic instruction. To deal with this higher base rate of risk, screening procedures must account for base rates.
The figure below shows the posttest probabilities of academic failure across varying levels of risk. The greater the prevalence of risk (move toward the right on the x-axis), the less accurate the screening will be for ruling students out as not needing academic intervention, which is the purpose of academic screening. Negative posttest probability is the probability of academic failure when a student has passed the academic screening. So at 50% risk, 10% of students passing a screening that has .90 sensitivity and .90 specificity will actually experience academic failure. As prevalence increases, negative posttest probability climbs. Once negative posttest probability is greater than 10% (VanDerHeyden, 2013), or greater than your local base rate of risk which you can estimate from past year’s proficiency rates on the year-end test, the screening is not useful to rule students out as needing more intensive academic intervention than is currently provided in their general education environment. The key message here is that single-point-in-time screenings will not be sufficient for determining academic risk in the fall.
Use Class-Wide Intervention to Improve Decision Accuracy and Provide Learning Gains for Students
How can the school psychologist proceed in an environment in which academic screenings will not be useful to determine who is really at risk? Introduce instructional trials as rapidly as possible and measure students’ learning gains as the second screening gate. Class-wide intervention (e.g., PALS, class-wide peer tutoring, PRESS center reading, Spring Math class-wide intervention) lowers the base rate of risk to allow for academic screenings to function more accurately.
In a recent study, decision accuracy was examined for fall screening, winter screening, and response to class-wide intervention with above 20th percentile performance on the year-end test as the gold standard for students in kindergarten and grades 1, 3, 5, and 7 in mathematics. Negative posttest probabilities were stronger (lower) when response to class-wide intervention was used as the screening criterion (VanDerHeyden, Broussard, & Burns, 2019).
Here is another way to view the effect of class-wide intervention as a screening gate. In this class, at the beginning of intervention, the score range is highly restricted, which makes distinguishing which children are truly at risk technically difficult if not impossible. Introducing a daily 15-min class-wide intervention increases the score ranges over weeks of intervention and makes apparent the student who really requires intensified instruction or a comprehensive eligibility evaluation.
The figures below, reprinted from VanDerHeyden (2013) shows that the same screening is not useful due to a high base rate of risk before intervention, but following class-wide intervention becomes very useful for ruling students out as needing academic intervention.
Accuracy of the Mathematics Screener for Students Who Receive a Free or Reduced-Price Lunch
Illustration of the Use of Intervention to Reduce Overall Risk and Permit More Accurate Screening Decisions
Note. From “Universal Screening May Not Be for Everyone: Using a Threshold Model as a Smarter Way to Determine Risk,” by A. M. VanDerHeyden, 2013, School Psychology Review, 42, p. 410. (https://doi.org/10.1080/02796015.2013.12087462). Copyright 2013 by the National Association of School Psychologists. Reprinted with permission.
Relying on a Period of Waiting for General Education to Improve Base Rates Is Inefficient and Unlikely to Work
There will likely be a sense of urgency around completing pending evaluations and perhaps even new evaluations. All evaluation teams are required to determine if a student’s academic concerns are a result of a lack of instruction when considering specific learning disability (SLD) identification regardless of the approach to eligibility determination that is used. Assessing the quality of instruction provided during the COVID-19 school closing is fraught with problems. Whether the instruction at home was delivered by caregivers or through an internet connection with teachers, decision teams cannot presume that the quality of core instruction replicated what would have happened in school. Except in unusual cases, the quality of instruction likely cannot be ruled sufficient.
Instruction as a cause (the most likely cause) of poor performance can only be ruled out by delivering a dose of instruction and measuring the child’s response directly. There is no substitute for that step and even if you choose to use a method other than response to intervention (RTI) to satisfy criterion 1 and 2, you still must satisfy criterion 4 to determine eligibility for SLD.
School psychologists may be tempted to institute waiting periods before recommending Tier 2 or 3 interventions as a means to avoid overpopulating those intervention groups and depleting resources. Waiting times have not been shown to lower risk over time. At best it is a tactic that will be highly variable (i.e., dependent on the quality of core instruction and teacher-initiated supplementation of core instruction) and at worst, it will be less efficient.
School psychologists should not enter a hands-off waiting period with schools. Rather, school psychologists should return to school equipped to help teachers boost their core instruction, given that children will likely be arriving with skill gaps. School psychologists can support teachers in delivering class-wide intervention and small groups to provide acquisition instruction for missing prerequisite skills and fluency-building intervention for skills that are foundational for subsequent learning at each grade level.
Decision teams can use the resulting performance data of students to determine who really needs a diagnostic assessment, individualized instruction, and potentially an eligibility evaluation. Controlling the dose of instruction allows this identification to occur in a more rapid and nimble fashion than would be possible otherwise. It is possible to make a decision about the need for more intensive academic intervention following only 4 weeks of well-implemented class-wide intervention.
Delivering High-Quality Class-Wide Intervention Requires Focus on Implementation
A new survey study out by Silva et al. (in press) examines actions taken in the name of multitiered systems of support (MTSS) and RTI. This survey replicates the findings of an earlier study (Burns, Peters, & Noell, 2008) finding that very particular barriers continue to interfere with the capacity of school psychologists to help schools use MTSS to improve achievement. School psychologists encounter the same barriers now as we did in 2008: we struggle to interpret the data we collect, to effectively get interventions underway, and to use implementation science to ensure high-quality implementation of academic interventions. In the Silva et al. (2020) study, only 7% of respondents reported looking at intervention integrity when an intervention was not working as planned.
In a context of elevated base rates of academic risk, we must do better. When children return to school, hopefully this fall, there will be an opportunity for school psychologists to be highly useful instructional allies to teachers. We can use our rapport and trust with teachers to connect, support, and empower them to do what works. Implementing class-wide academic intervention will produce achievement gains for students and as a wonderful side effect, will give us the best data upon which to base referral and eligibility decisions.
This series of resources and webinars will equip you to move forward with the right actions to screen, implement class-wide interventions in reading, writing, and math, and to use the resulting data for referral and eligibility decision making regarding SLD.
Blume, H., & Kohli, S. (2020, March 30). 15,000 L.A. high school students are AWOL online, 40,000 fail to check in daily amid coronavirus closures. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-30/coronavirus-los-angeles-schools-15000-high-school-students-absent
Burns, M. K., Peters, R., & Noell, G. H. (2008). Using performance feedback to enhance implementation fidelity of the problem-solving team process. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 537–550. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2008.04.001
Silva, M. R., Collier-Meek, M. A., Codding, R. S., Kleinert, W. L., & Feinberg, A. (2020). Data Collection and Analysis in Response-to-Intervention: A Survey of School Psychologists. Contemporary School Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-020-00280-2
VanDerHeyden, A. M. (2013). Universal screening may not be for everyone: Using a threshold model as a smarter way to determine risk. School Psychology Review, 42, 402–414.
VanDerHeyden, A. M., Broussard, C., & Burns, M. K. (2019). Classification Agreement for Gated Screening in Mathematics: Subskill Mastery Measurement and Classwide Intervention. Assessment for Effective Intervention. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534508419882484
Contributor: Amanda VanDerHeyden
Please cite as:
National Association of School Psychologists. (2020). Considerations for academic assessments and interventions upon a return to school [handout]. Author.
© 2020, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-657-0270, http://www.nasponline.org
NASP and the American School Counselor Association has released guidance for SEL and school re-entry considerations. This is a timely resource as we know all districts are in the process of planning for reentry. Please share it with your district leadership teams. I love how NASP is always NASPing.
This tool kit is aimed to help educate and shift the lens of understanding systemic racism, as well as helping educators bring these anti-racist values into the classroom.
Say Their Names
A toolkit to help foster productive conversations about race and civil disobedience
“In a racist society, it is not enough to not be non-racist, we must be anti-racist” – Angela Davis.
Say Their Names. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless others that came before.
If you are planning on talking to your students or children about the recent racial violence or civil disobedience, please first read “Don’t Say Nothing” by Jamilah Pitts. This piece illustrates how vital it is to engage young people in conversations about race and racism, and Ms. Pitts lays out the argument better than we ever could.
We hope that you take this time to read, reflect, and engage with both the young people and adults in your life in conversations around how we can confront racism every day. Safeguarding our young people means that we all must do the work to think and act equitably, show up for our Black students and colleagues, interrogate our own biases, and live an actively anti-racist life.
Below are suggestions and strategies for educators and parents on having conversations with young people in school and at home about race, racism, racial violence, understanding biases, and how to take action for racial justice.
At this time, we must focus on our shared humanity, and prioritize learning and talking about the root causes of the current protests and interracial activism. This is a time to come together, listen, learn, share in the grief and in hope, and act for a more just, equitable, and racially conscious world.
If you have suggestions for any lessons or activities, please share them with us here.
For more information on resources, protocols, and practices for civil discourse, youth voice, civic learning, and engagement, or K–12 social science, contact the CPS Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement at SSCE@cps.edu.
For information on the CPS Equity Framework and supporting tools and resources, please visit cps.edu/equity.
Included in this document:
- Where to start? Guidance for CPS stakeholders
- Resources for Realizing Our Commitment to Anti-racist Education
Where to start? Guidance for CPS staff, families, and community members.
Note: This is a living document and will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Make a commitment to:
- Taking care of the mental and emotional health of our youth, our colleagues, and ourselves.
- Listen. Talking about race, racial violence, racism, Black Lives Matter, and elevating youth voices.
- Paying close attention to the news, media, and other information sources.
- Working to be actively anti-racist.
Take care of yourself. Take care of others.
- Educate yourself on the current moment and learn why people are organizing. Do research to better understand these issues, and do not rely on Black people to explain their feelings or their knowledge.
Engage our youth.
- Acknowledge what has happened. Acknowledge this is hard. Show that you care, and tell our youth you are here for them. Be patient and understanding.
- Hold space for youth to reflect and to share how they feel. Acknowledge the issues behind the current moment and the pain folks are feeling. Consider holding circles or free-form discussions. If you are a teacher looking for ideas on how to introduce these discussions in your classroom, explore these instructional protocols and activities.
- Remember not to take symptoms of trauma (anger, withdrawal, distance, irritability) personally. If a young person does not want to talk or share, that is okay. Acknowledge their feelings and support youth where they are.
- Learn about and pay attention to media and information.
- Talk and learn about how to be actively anti-racist.
Resources for Realizing Our Commitment to Anti-racist Education:
- How can I support youth through this trauma?
- How can I use restorative practices to host healing spaces?
- Where can I find resources for myself and my colleagues?
- How do I start conversations about these topics and support youth remotely?
- How do I support Black youth without inducing further trauma?
- How do I talk about this with non-black youth?
- How do I talk about this with elementary-aged youth?
- How do I show up for my Black colleagues?
- How is this story being told, and why is this important?
- How should I consume media at this moment? What questions should we be asking ourselves?
- How do we hold the media accountable? How are we accountable for the information we share?
- What does it mean to be anti-racist and why is it important?
- What does it mean to be an anti-racist educator?
- How do I take action? How do I get involved?
Consider the mental and emotional health of our youth, our colleagues, and ourselves.
Violence has an impact on all of us, especially on our mental health. The protests that have gripped our city and nation reflect the hurt, anger, and pain of generations of racial trauma. Emotional responses may manifest in different ways, including anger, irritability, grief, and hopelessness. We should be aware of signs of trauma or distress not only for our youth but also for ourselves and our colleagues.
|How can I support young people through this trauma?|
|When We Normalize Racism And Bigotry, We Do Violence To Our Mental Health||This brief statement from Mental Health America calls attention to the impact of violence (including witnessing violent events in media reports) on our mental health, and especially the mental health of marginalized communities. The statement also contains links with additional information and resources.||https://mhanational.org/when-we-normalize-racism-and-bigotry-we-do-violence-our-mental-health|
|Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom: a Resource for Educators||This resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is designed to help educators understand the interplay of race and trauma in the classroom. The guide reviews historical trauma and racial trauma explains the impact of trauma on different age groups and offers supplemental resources.||NCTSN: Addressing Race & Trauma in the Classroom|
|Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events: Tips for Families and Teachers||This resource from the National Association of School Psychologists provides a brief review of anger—a common reaction to trauma—and reminds adults of how the reactions of children and youth are influenced by adult responses.||NASP: Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Trauma|
|Responding to Student Mental Health Concerns During School Closure||This district guide provides guidance on responding to student mental health concerns during remote learning, including a list of mental health resources.||Responding to Student Mental Health Concerns|
|How White Parents Can Talk About Race||NPR’s Michel Martin talks to Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, about how to talk with white kids about racially-charged events.||https://www.npr.org/2020/05/31/866426170/raising-white-kids-author-on-how-white-parents-can-talk-about-race|
|Mindfulness Techniques for Students and Staff||Calm Classroom is a simple and accessible way to integrate mindfulness into the classroom or home culture. Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to our present moment. The daily practice of mindful breathing, stretching, focusing, and relaxation exercises cultivates a greater sense of self-awareness, mental focus, and emotional resilience within educational and personal spaces.||https://mcusercontent.com/8b2c19337fef7c5607939c263/files/6ca21f04-5bd5-4841-be21-6bf20902f13f/Keep_Calm_Practice_Calm_Classroom.01.pdf|
|How can I use restorative practices to host healing spaces?|
|How to Host a Virtual Circle||Guidance on how to facilitate and adapt the model of an in-person circle for a virtual, online setting. Previous experience facilitating in-person circles is helpful but not necessary.||https://healingcirclesglobal.org/how-to-host-a-virtual-circle/|
|Circle Forward||Sample scripts for hosting talking circles from the Circle Forward book specifically related to grief, loss, and trauma.||Circle scripts|
|Where can I find resources for myself and my colleagues?|
|Mental Health America: Supporting Others||This article shares simple actions that anyone can take to help others who are going through difficult times.||https://mhanational.org/supporting-others|
|Radical Self-Care in the Face of Mounting Racial Stress||This article from Psychology Today provides steps for cultivating hope during times of distress and provides self-care strategies for adults.||Psychology Today: Radical Self Care in the Face of Mounting Racial Stress|
|CPS Employee Assistance Program||While it is great to check in with family, friends, and colleagues, sometimes it also helps to talk to someone who is trained to help you understand and work through feelings and emotions. Please remember that you are always welcome to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program. These services are confidential.||Employee Assistance Program|
|The American Nightmare||This thinkpiece provides insight to the mental, social, and historical impacts of systemic racism in America on Black people and how we have arrived at our current state in America.||The American Nightmare|
|Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not||This article highlights the stressors of working while Black during a pandemic in which race is both a factor and a trigger. This article supports empathetic thinking and social awareness.||Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Ok- Chances Are They’re Not|
|Detour Spotting for White Anti-racists||How can white allies monitor their own patterns of behavior through an anti-racist lens in order to not perpetuate white supremacy?||Detour Spotting for White Anti-racists|
|Avoiding Racial Equity Detours||Describes four detours to racial equity work and how we can identify and avoid them.||Avoiding Racial Equity Detours|
Talk about race, racial violence, racism, and Black Lives Matter.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
These resources explore our responsibility as educators, parents, and citizens to discuss race, racial violence, racism, and Black Lives Matter with youth, as well as resources to help us do this work.
Please note that schools and teachers should provide families and youth with an opt-out option. No matter how well-planned and expertly-facilitated these conversations are, they can be re-traumatizing to Black youth.
|How do I start the conversation and support youth remotely?|
|Violent protests are not the story. Police violence is.||This article provides information about the root causes of the protests and emphasizes why we need to focus on police brutality and racial discrimination.||Violent protests are not the story. Police violence is|
|Facing History and Ourselves: Teaching In The Wake Of Violence||This resource is a guide for teachers on navigating conversations with their students after news of a mass shooting, terrorist attack, police violence, and other violent events.||Teaching In The Wake Of Violence|
|Teaching Tolerance: Black Lives Matter Still Matters||This resource outlines why it is important to teach young people of all races about the Black Lives Matters movement, its origins, and its continued relevance.||Black Lives Matter Still Matters|
|NYCSchools: Fostering Community During Remote Learning~Teacher Reflection Guide||This guide provides reflection questions and ideas for teachers seeking to foster a welcoming and affirming remote learning environment. This guide can be used for individual reflection and as a jumping off point for group reflection.||Fostering Community During Remote Learning~Teacher Reflection Guide|
|Anti-Defamation League: George Floyd, Racism and Law Enforcement “Table Talk: Family Conversations about Current Events”||This reading provides suggestions for how educators, parents, families, and caregivers can discuss George Floyd, police violence, racism, and protests with youth. It also includes discussion questions and suggestions for how to take action.||Table Talk: Family Conversations about Current Events|
|Talking About Race. The National Museum of African American History and Culture||Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. These tools and guidance are designed to empower your journey and inspire conversation. Many of the tools for educators are PK-12. And there are great resources for individual work, no matter your role.||https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race|
|How do I support Black youth without inducing further trauma?|
|Teaching Tolerance: Black Minds Matter||This resource outlines the impact of racial disparities in mental health access and treatment and how schools and educators can play a major role in helping to mitigate those disparities.||Black Minds Matter|
|Teaching Tolerance: Don’t Say Nothing. Silence Speaks Volumes. Our Students Are Listening.||This resource outlines the importance and duty of educators to acknowledge and discuss race and racism with youth.||Don’t Say Nothing. Silence Speaks Volumes. Our Students Are Listening.|
|Teaching Tolerance: Ending Curriculum Violence||This article from Teaching Tolerance explores how despite the best intentions, teachers can create “curriculum violence” that can have detrimental effects on our youth.||Ending Curriculum Violence|
|How do I talk about race, racial violence, racism, and Black Lives Matter with non-black youth?|
|Anti-Defamation League: How Should I Talk About Race in my Mostly White Classroom?||This resource provides guidance and considerations for how to engage in reflection and discussion on race and racism with white youth.||How Should I Talk About Race in my Mostly White Classroom?|
|Safe Space Radio: Tips and Strategies “Talking to White Kids about Race and Racism”||This resource provides tips for educators and parents on how to have a conversation on race and racism with white youth.||Tips and Strategies: Talking to White Kids about Race and Racism|
|Letters For Black Lives: An Open Letter Project on Anti-Blackness||This resource includes letters written by Asian American and Latinx American youth to their parents about the importance of centering Black lives in any discussion on race, discrimination, and injustice. It is an example for how non-black students can engage in learning and reflection on race, racism, and Black Lives Matter.||Letters For Black Lives|
|New York Times: A Conversation on Race||This resource includes a series of videos on different racial and ethnic groups describing their experiences with racism, including the following:
||A Conversation on Race|
|How do I talk about this with elementary-aged youth?|
|Teaching Tolerance: Y’all Still Don’t Hear Me Though||This text for grades 6-8 features a 2015 essay by Lecia J. Brooks as she recounts her perspective as a protester who participated in the Los Angeles Race Riots that followed the trial of those who had committed police brutality against activist Rodney King. Her account details the pervasiveness of police brutality and why demonstrators protest against it.||Y’all Still Don’t Hear Me Though|
|Children Community School: Social Justice Resources||This site contains resources and considerations for how to discuss race and social justice topics including racism, police brutality, and protests with youth.||Children Community School: Social Justice Resources|
|Edutopia: Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice||This resource contains five strategies for engaging youth in learning and discussion on bias, diversity, and social justice.||Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice|
|Oakland Library: Talking to Kids about Racism and Justice, a list for Parents, Educators, and Caregivers (Pre-K and up)||This resource provides a list of educational resources to engage young people (Pre-K and up) in learning about racism and justice.||Talking to Kids about Racism and Justice, A list for Parents, Educators, and Caregivers|
Media has power. What we see and hear shapes what we think, how we see ourselves, and how we engage with the world around us. Teaching young people at all ages critical media and information literacy skills is key for preparing youth for civic life.
|How is this story being told, and why is this important?|
|Facing History and Ourselves: How Journalists Minimize Bias||This lesson from Facing History and Ourselves asks youth to consider how biases and stereotypes influence the way we interpret the world around us and how both journalists and media consumers address issues of bias in themselves and others.||How Journalists Minimize Bias|
|5 Key Questions and Concepts that can Change the World||It is important that we cultivate critical media dispositions and skills in our youth so that they consume information effectively.||Edutopia: Social Media and 5 Key Concepts
Free lessons from the Center for Media Literacy using 5 Key Concepts/Questions that can be used with students every day.
|Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (And Other Conversations about Race)||The chapter from Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book “Defining Racism: Can We Talk?” explores the definition of racism, its cost, and impact.||Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?|
|Here’s What You Need to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death||This article provides a timeline of the events surrounding the killing of Breonna Taylor, whose death has received national attention and whose name has been included alongside Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd in discussions about violence against Black Americans.||Here’s What You Need to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death|
|How should I consume media at this moment? What questions should we be asking ourselves?|
|Teaching Tolerance: Living with the Bear||This article discusses how constant exposure to violence via social media is harming our youth, and how we can give them the support they need.||Living with the Bear|
|Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Students about Confirmation Bias||This article focuses on concerns about the impact of fake news by helping youth know and understand confirmation bias (our tendency to more readily believe information that supports—or confirms—our existing worldviews and to exclude information that might contradict previously held assumptions).||Teaching Students about Confirmation Bias|
|Teaching Tolerance: A Classroom Discussion About the Media, Trust, and Knowledge||This article encourages students to think through problems in the contemporary media landscape to help them become more active, open-minded knowledge-seekers.||A Classroom Discussion About the Media, Trust, and Knowledge|
|How do we hold the media accountable? How are we accountable for the information we share?|
|Vox: Media Coverage of Protests Sure Looks Different when Demonstrators are White||This article examines how the media covers protests when the demonstrators are white.||Vox: Media coverage of protests sure looks different when demonstrators are white|
|When They See Us: Improving the Media’s Coverage of Black Men and Boys||This article shows how media coverage shapes the ability of individuals and communities to receive fair and equal justice and how persistent trends of distorted media depictions of Black men and boys contribute to negative stereotypes, inequitable treatment, and unequal opportunities.||When They See Us: Improving the Media’s Coverage of Black Men and Boys|
“In a racist society, it is not enough to not be non-racist, we must be anti-racist” – Angela Davis.
These resources explore what it means to be anti-racist and its importance to our role as educators, parents, and citizens. We must first listen, then learn, discuss, and act.
|What does it mean to be anti-racist and why is it important?|
|National Museum of African American History and Culture: Being Anti-racist||This hand-out explores and offers guidance on the the following topics:
||Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing|
|Teaching Tolerance: White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy||A conversation about power, privilege, identity, and what it means to be anti-racist with community activists incuding:
||White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy|
|How can I be an anti-racist educator?|
|Edweek: The Urgent Need for Anti-Racist Education||As educators, we don’t just teach content; we teach life lessons. Here are changes we can make to ensure we are breaking down racist beliefs and systems of white supremacy in our own classrooms.||The Urgent Need for Anti-Racist Education|
|ASCD: How to be an Anti-Racist Educator||Included in this article are five actions we can take to be anti-racist educators for our youth, including “Engage in Vigilant Self-Awareness,” “Study and Teach Representative History,” and “Talk about Race with Youth.”||How to be an Anti-Racist Educator|
|Edutopia: Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom||This resource helps us to reflect on our own biases and about our own practices in the classroom as we engage in anti-racist work.||Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom|
|Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism||Chicago ROAR is a regional program of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. The purpose of Chicago ROAR is to dismantle systemic racism and build anti-racist multicultural diversity within institutions and communities by training institutional transformation teams
They are offering free virtual workshops.
|Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti Racism|
Additional resources for teaching and talking about race, violence, and police violence.
|NY Times: First Encounters with Race and Racism: Teaching Ideas for Classroom Conversations||This is a lesson plan from the New York Times on how to engage youth in conversations about race, including discussion questions, videos on race and implicit bias, and voices from youth about their experiences with racism.||First Encounters with Race and Racism: Teaching Ideas for Classroom Conversations|
Mr. Parker is a School Psychologist who has creatively published a series of Social-Emotional videos on YouTube. He uses music and songs to help teach vital social-emotional skills. Here is a link to his website: HERE
Mr. Parker’s Videos
Empathy: An important tool, now more than ever
Paying Attention: Help children be fully alert and present in the moment
I Messages: Help children effectively communicate their feelings
Feelings: Emotions are a natural part of the human experience
Perspectives: The world may look much different when we put ourselves in another’s shoes
Worries: Help children understand a feeling that is likely to be common during the pandemic
Paraphrasing: Help children listen to understand rather than listen to respond
Happiness: What brings us you?
HEARS Method: Help children show empathy and active listening skills
Getting Started: Help children understand the importance of taking initiative
Anger: The human emotion that we must all learn to manage
Triggers: Help children understand the factors that contribute to their emotions
Expressing Your Feelings: Help children make positive choices when they experience various emotions
Consequences: Help children engage in thoughtful behaviors
Deep Breathing: A healthy coping tool for children in times of stress
Calming Down: Help children learn emotional regulation strategies
In this time of overall melee in the United States, we need Mental Health supports to help cope with all that we are experiencing. These teen resources gathered by School Psychologist Misty Bonita a Licensed Educational Psychologist, NCSP Ed.S are a wealth of strategies for coping and growing in a variety of social-emotional and life issues.
The Anger Workbook
From Anger to Action
Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens
Beyond the Blues–Workbook for Teens on Depression
Think Confident, Be Confident (Self-Esteem Workbook)
Executive Functioning Workbook for Teens
Relationship Skills 101 for Teens
Grief Recovery for Teens
PTSD Survival Guide for Teens
Rewire Your Anxious Brain for Teens
The Body Image Workbook for Teens
The Gender Quest Workbook for Teens
Self -Esteem Workbook for Teens
Relaxation and Stress Reduction for Teens
Insomnia Workbook for Teens
Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Teen Anxiety
Panic Workbook for Teens
Growth Mindset Lessons
Trauma Focused CBT Workbook
Obviously with the riots and unrest in the United States, parents should take the opportunity to speak with their kids about race. Here are some resources to start that conversation Right now.
Below is a statement from the National Association of School Psychologists on a call for action to end racism.NASP STATEMENT
Written By Katrina Michie
Source from Pretty Good
So you’ve realized your kids aren’t too young to talk about race, so now what? We’ve rounded up some resources for you to start.
I found this short podcast put together by NPR and the Sesame Street Workshop to be a great one for a primer and understanding on how to talk to young children about race:
Talking Race With Young Children (Podcast Episode)
The Children’s Community School in Philidelphia did all the research and legwork on this information. We adapted it. Check out their amazing resource page here:
More Articles and Tips for Parents and Caregivers:
Great Educational Podcast for Adults on the History of Race in America
For Teachers & Educators:
Books for Adults:
Books for Children
The Ultimate 2018 List of Diverse Books For Children (Here Wee Read is a great resource for books! Follow her Instagram!)
No White Saviors: Kids Books About Black Women in US History (Books For Littles)
Children’s Books By Brilliant Black Women: #OwnVoices Authors & Illustrators (Books for Littles)
A few more:
A roundup of Studies and Articles cited in the Infographic above:
Strengthening Positive Parenting Practices During a Public Health Crisis
— Read on https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/covid-19-resource-center/special-education-resources/strengthening-positive-parenting-practices-during-a-public-health-crisis
Link to PDF: Here
Strengthening Positive Parenting Practices During a Public Health Crisis
PART 1: INTRODUCTION
During these times of stress and uncertainty, it can feel like our worlds have been turned upside down. This is not only true of service providers, students, and teachers, but also the families we serve. We know that increased stressors including job insecurity, housing insecurity, and generalized anxiety regarding health can impact the wellness of all members of the family system. Similarly, when one member of a family group is experiencing distress, this can cause shifts in the behavior, thinking, and relatedness of other members of the system (Bowen, 1966; Boyd-Franklin & Bry, 2012). With great levels of stress, risky parenting behaviors may come to the fore. Cumulatively, these risky parenting behaviors—even when they do not rise to the level of reportable abuse or neglect—remain a significant societal problem, and the likelihood for it to increase may be exacerbated by global crises and stressors.
In most cases, parents are able to maintain safe parenting practices, even during difficult times. A lot of parents are feeling overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. In fact, many feel like they are not being the kind of parents they want to be or typically are. One of the first steps we can take in building partnerships is to validate and normalize parents’ reactions and experiences. Reminding parents that their feelings are normal reactions to a very abnormal situation can be invaluable. Alternatively, some parents are experiencing extraordinary distress, and they may make parenting choices that are less than optimal. In these situations, there may be a need to recognize and respond to suspicions of child maltreatment. The first step in responding to risky parenting practices is to work to enhance parenting capacity, to help families succeed and thrive. Understanding that parents and caregivers desire and want to be better parents is instrumental in helping them succeed (Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, 2018). One of the most important roles of the school psychologist in supporting families is to mitigate risk factors and enhance protective factors. Such a framework can decrease the likelihood of abuse, maltreatment, and neglect and help families thrive.
Increasing Protective Factors
- Parental Resilience: Parenting is hard and all parents will encounter crises at some point, but parents who can weather the challenges and bounce back have safer, healthier children. School psychologists can promote parental resilience through promoting basic problem-solving skills, providing crisis support as needed, and helping parents access needed resources and community supports.
- Social Connections: Parenting is much easier if parents don’t do it all alone. Having a support network is important for a person’s social and emotional needs. Parents connected to community and friends are better able to meet children’s needs. Promoting virtual or phone contact between parents and support networks can ease parental distress, and can support and strengthen healthy parenting practices.
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Knowing what milestones are coming and how to effectively deal with them help prepare parents to care for their children. Knowledge of parenting and child development is like having directions to find your destination rather than hoping the signs you need will be clear and visible.
- Concrete Support in Times of Need: We all need a hand now and then. Parents who have dependable support and are not afraid to turn to others for help are less likely to be involved in abuse and neglect. Thus, supporting parents in reaching out to community supports can strengthen parental well-being and improve child-rearing practices.
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children: Many of the activities professionals do with children promote a child’s ability to interact positively with others and parents’ ability to nurture that development. Giving a child language to express his or her emotions, role modeling how to respond sensitively to a child, and promoting attachment and bonding between parents and children are all ways to help prevent child maltreatment (Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, 2018).
PART 2: THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST
Begin with asking, “What can I do?” Many of us are feeling equally overwhelmed by the unexpected stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reflect on how you have functioned in your role and consider how your skills can be best utilized given the limitations of remote learning. Developing your own professional action plan will help you address the mountain of need one pebble at a time, thus helping you be more effective in your work and at the same time reducing unnecessary stress and anxiety that can arise out of uncertainty.
- Reflect on the needs of your individual school and the children/families you serve.
- Consider your role and function as a school psychologist within the present societal context.
- Identify ways in which you can support families and children proactively.
- Identify ways in which you can support teachers or other school officials as they engage with their students.
- Create weekly benchmarks and regularly review whether you are making progress toward goals.
As schools operate through a remote learning format, school psychologists can support families in managing stressors through both prevention and intervention frameworks. Our unique skill set equips us to examine our schools from the perspective of individuals and communities and help identify and connect those in need with the support necessary to help families maintain their emotional health. Be a STAR during this challenging time, and use this parent training practice to support the families you are working with.
|Teach Your Parents to Stop, Think, Act, and Reflect||Parent Response/Feedback to the Activity|
|S||Stop: (A) Have the parent identify when they are about to lose their temper with their kids. Coach the parent to take a brief break before responding to their children. (B) Ask the parent: What has been causing you to “lose your cool” recently in your interactions with your kid(s)?||(A)
|T||Think: (A) Have the parent identify alternative manners to respond to challenging child behaviors. (B) Ask the parent: How can you respond differently to your child(ren) when they behave in ways you believe are inappropriate?||(A)
|A||Act: Have the parent try out their new strategy. (A) How did things go when you tried your new strategy?||(A)|
|R||Reflect: Have the parent reflect on what went right and what can be improved when they tried out their new response to their children’s challenging behavior(s).(A) What can you do differently next time to more effectively parent your child(ren) when they are engaging in this challenging behavior(s)?||(A)|
PART 3: PRACTICAL ACTION STEPS
Parents want what is best for their children. Unfortunately, stress and stressors can get in the way and impede healthy parenting. The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in huge stress for families. Direct and indirect fallout from the pandemic can sometimes result in parents interacting with their children in ways they may later regret. Here are some tips school psychologists can share with stressed out parents during these difficult times.
Assessing Parenting Stress Levels
How parents handle stress, including the fallout from COVID-19, can contribute to risky parenting behaviors. One way to help parents is to teach them self-monitoring of their distress. Parents can rate their stress level, through a simple thermometer metaphor. Teach parents to ask themselves: “On a scale of 1–10, how stressed out am I feeling at the moment?” Have the parent identify two or three simple coping skills they regularly use, which they could use quickly and easily to destress. This includes brief activities such as listening to music, playing a video game, or taking a walk in the backyard. Set up a system where parents complete this self-assessment a few times throughout the day. When stress levels are high, have parents use one of their identified coping skills. You can find a feelings thermometer and many useful cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) worksheets online here. Also, reputable CBT and psychoeducation worksheets that can be helpful when working with parents and families can be found here.
In addition to assessing current stress levels, there are other steps we can take to better understand and address the needs of the families school psychologists support. As we seek to support all families, it may become apparent that specific families need more direct care. Your parents may find websites on how to start an individual mindfulness practice or on parental mindfulness helpful. To better understand these specific contextual needs of our families, consider the following.
- Assess parent/family stress and resources: Conduct a brief needs assessment to identify primary areas of concern (food insecurity, housing insecurity, stress management, managing remote learning, family dynamics). A needs assessment is a systematic process to identify or determine family needs, and to identify barriers impeding access to needed resources. Identifying the discrepancy between the current condition and the desired one should be prioritized by you as the school psychologist, so that you can provide the tools and resources that can best mitigate the discrepancies between current and desired conditions.
- Safety Plan: Support the family in developing a safety plan. This plan should clearly describe challenges to safety of family members and steps that can be taken to manage threats to a parent or child’s safety. A safety plan is designed to mitigate threats to a family member’s safety using the least intrusive means possible. Here is an example of a safety plan.
- Check in: Identify school personnel or other individuals who can conduct regular meetings with the family to assess family temperature and continue to clarify strengths and needs. This could be school or community social workers, case workers, or a trusted professional or community member with the training and expertise to help strengthen families.
Promote Positive Communication
Good communication between parents and children is critical for developing a positive parent–child relationship and for subsequent development. If you notice coercive, concerning, or poor quality communication or parenting behaviors occurring in the family home, work with the parent(s) to emphasize basic parent training strategies. Basic parent training strategies you can share with parents you are working with include:
- Praise: Teach parents to praise their kids regularly for demonstrating a strong effort or doing something right. Remind the parents you are supporting that the more frequently they praise a behavior, the more likely it is their child will behave the same way again.
- Mindful Parenting: Promote the value of present moment engagement as it pertains to parent–child interactions. Emphasize to parents that providing their full attention to their children, to what is happening in the here-and-now, will help them better understand what their children are thinking and feeling, lessen disagreement, and strengthen the parent–child bond.
- Active Listening: Active listening is a useful tool to promote positive parenting practices. When school psychologists provide psychoeducation on active listening, parents learn how to listen, both verbally and nonverbally, to strengthen their relationships with their children and others. Providing psychoeducation to parents regarding how to reflect back the words, sentiments, or emotions expressed by the child can make active listening particularly effective in promoting communication.
- Child-Led Play or Special Time Together: Reinforce to parents the power of time spent together with their children. Regular (even short) periods of play with younger children or parent–child activities with older children and adolescents can strengthen communication and the overall parent–child relationship.
- Ignoring: Ignoring can help quickly end attention-seeking behaviors such as whining or tantrums. Ignoring is an active practice. This will require ongoing work and support with parents. However, teaching parents to ignore attention seeking behaviors can help end challenging behaviors by the child early, before they escalate and cause upheaval within the household. You as the school psychologist should work with the parent to teach them how to remove attention from the child and the negative behavior(s) they are exhibiting, to promote stress and relaxation within the household.
PART 4: INTENSIVE AND INDIVIDUALIZED INTERVENTION
Even with robust support and interventions in place, there is a possibility that a small portion of the populations we serve may need more intensive interventions. The number of families who are engaging in risky parenting behaviors and who are at risk for engaging in child maltreatment or abuse may increase during times of global crisis. Intensive, individualized interventions—either immediately or at a later date—may be necessary for some families. When appropriate, the school psychologist may be able to provide these services directly. Your role also may include consultation and referral of the family to more focused and specialized clinical and community-based supports. While there are a wide range of choices to consider in intensive interventions, a sample of evidence-based interventions that may have utility in supporting families in distress who may be engaging in risky parenting behaviors include the following.
Interventions Focused on Young Children Birth to Age 5
- Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC)
- Child–Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
- Parent–Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
- Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers (MTFC)
- The Incredible Years* (IY)
- Triple-P* (PPP)
*Modules and research also support these programs with older children (i.e., middle childhood and adolescence).
Interventions Focused on Middle Childhood and Adolescence
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy
- Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy
- Multisystemic Therapy – for Child Abuse and Neglect
- DBT Skills
PART 5: ENSURING CHILD AND FAMILY SAFETY
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting families in unalterable ways. For many families, loss of employment, social isolation, and myriad other challenges brought forward through the pandemic are increasing family distress. These challenges will likely continue and possibly even worsen in the coming months. School psychologists will encounter family dynamics in new and profound manners through teletherapy. While most encounters will be adaptive, healthy, or even humorous, others may expose the school psychologist to the escalating stress and challenges experienced by many families. At times such unwitting encounters may even result in school psychologists who witness events, interactions, or behaviors that rise to the level of a reportable offense. Remember, as school psychologists we are all mandated reporters. Thus, we must be prepared to contact our statewide child protective services office should we observe anything in the home through teletherapy services that raises a reasonable suspicion of child maltreatment.
Parents and families generally want what is best for their children. When parents and caregivers are under duress, their ability to engage in healthy parenting practices may decline. It is important that we consider the robust and broad risk and protective factors that may impact child rearing and caregiving capabilities. During times of global health or related crises, such as COVID-19, school psychologists play a key role in strengthening families. With their breadth and depth of knowledge, school psychologists must strive to use their skills to promote healthy parenting behaviors.
RESOURCES: Help and Safety Contacts/Hotlines
- National Domestic Violence hotline (800-799-7233)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-74
- Safe2Say: 1-844-723-2729 or safe2saypa.org
- Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
- Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
- PBS: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Resource Center
Boyd-Franklin, N., & Bry, B. H. (2012). Reaching out in family therapy: Home-based, school, and community interventions. Guilford Press.
Bowen, M. (1966). The use of family theory in clinical practice. Comprehensive psychiatry, 7(5), 345–374.
Prevent Child Abuse, North Carolina. (2018). Recognizing and Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment: A Training for Adults Working with Children and Families. (Retrieved from https://preventchildabusenc-lms.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/RR-full_2018.pdf)
Contributors: Kirby Wycoff, Michele Messer, and Aaron Gubi
Please cite as: National Association of School Psychologists. (2020). Strengthening positive parenting practices during a public health crisis [handout]. Author.
© 2020, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-657-0270, http://www.nasponline.org
My friend and colleague sent the SHAPE system website to me and I was impressed with all the features it has to offer. While I have only scraped the surface of the site it offers assessments to help students as well as identify ways to improve your school or district Mental Health system via a report (sample report). Here is the website: here.
The School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation (SHAPE) System is a public-access, web-based platform that offers schools, districts, and states a workspace and targeted resources to support school mental health quality improvement. SHAPE was developed by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), in partnership with the field, to increase the quality and sustainability of comprehensive school mental health systems. SHAPE houses the National School Mental Health Census and the School Mental Health Quality Assessment (SMH-QA). These measures are designed for team completion at the school or district level to document the school mental health system components, assess the comprehensiveness of a SMH system, prioritize quality improvement efforts, and track improvement over time.
The SHAPE System is hosted by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The NCSMH is committed to enhancing understanding and supporting the implementation of comprehensive school mental health policies and programs that are innovative, effective, and culturally and linguistically competent across the developmental spectrum (from preschool through post-secondary), and three tiers of mental health programming (promotion, prevention, intervention).
The mission of the NCSMH is to strengthen policies and programs in school mental health to improve learning and promote success for America’s youth.
From its inception in 1995, the Center’s leadership and interdisciplinary staff have promoted the importance of providing mental health services to children, adolescents, and families directly in schools and communities.