National Meeting on Improving Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care

On November 3-4, 2011, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education within the U.S. Department of Education and the Children’s Bureau of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host a national meeting, Child Welfare, Education and the Courts: A Collaboration to Strengthen Educational Successes of Children and Youth in Foster Care. 

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together State teams representing education and child welfare agencies, along with the judicial branch to discuss how best to promote educational stability and improve educational outcomes for children in foster care. Participating State teams are charged with creating a plan for cross-system collaboration to be implemented following the conference.

This meeting will assist in a more comprehensive and meaningful implementation of The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351). The law requires that State child welfare agencies include actions in case plans that will increase educational stability for children in foster care. In particular, the law specifically requires that child welfare agencies coordinate efforts with education agencies to keep children enrolled in their current school while in foster care, thereby keeping them connected with family, teachers and friends while continuing their progression through school.

For more information on the meeting and the Fostering Connections Act, please see below:

 

Version 2.0 of ED Data Express Now Live!

The Department is excited to announce the launch of version 2.0 of ED Data Express, an interactive Web site aimed at making accurate and timely K-12 education data available to the public.

The new version provides the public with more dynamic tools interact with the data such as –

  • A mapping feature that allows users to view the data displayed on a map of the United States;
  • A trend line tool, which displays a data element graphed across multiple school years;
  • A conditional analysis tool, which allows users to view one data element based on conditions set by another data element.

In addition, the site has improved documentation and added the ability to share information from the site using social networking tools, such as Facebook or Twitter. To view or explore the upgraded ED Data Express Web site, visit www.eddataexpress.ed.gov.

Summer 2011 Issue of the School Turnaround Newsletter

The Summer 2011 issue of the School Turnaround Newsletter is now available! The newsletter is a resource for states, districts, and schools who are undergoing school turnaround under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. This issue highlights NEA’s work with SIG schools under the Priority Schools Campaign, provides an example of a successful state monitoring system, and features an interview with a principal on implementing extended learning time. Past issues of the newsletter can be found here.

Meet the Expert: Dr. Melendez Featured on Colorín Colorado

Colorín Colorado, a free web-based, bilingual service that provides information, activities, and advice for educators and Spanish-speaking families of English language learners, has posted a new video interview with Dr. Melendez for their “Meet the Expert” series.

Through this series of videos, Dr. Melendez talks about her favorite teacher, her experiences growing up as an English learner, and her thoughts on how educators and administrators can better support the growth and success of English learners. In the video below, Dr. Melendez recounts a story about Jesus, a special first grade student.

The rest of the videos and the transcript of the video can be found here.

Guest Post: ETS Event Highlights the Importance of Families, Fatherhood

By Ken Bedell
Senior Advisor, Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Center at the U.S. Department of Education

When ETS is mentioned I think of educational testing. I remember the anxiety of taking the SAT and GRE exams, but last week I saw a different side of ETS. They sponsored a day-long conference on The Family: America’s Smallest School. Speakers and panels discussed recent research on what is happening with American families, successful programs that are effective in supporting families, and family policy strategies.

The keynote address was delivered by Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the Department of Education. She set the tone for the discussion by describing the role that her family played in supporting her own education. Particularly moving was the story of her grandmother, who was a teacher in Mexico. After retiring from teaching she refused to join her daughter and granddaughter in the United States because she was so much a part of the community where she had taught for years. As Dr. Meléndez’ story illustrated, families teach children to value education.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn from the Teachers College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University reported on the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. She talked about the importance of structure and stability in children’s lives According to Dr. Brooks-Gunn, these studies provide the only data we have on the influence of fathers on children’s lives over time. More information on these studies can be found at http://www.fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/index.asp.

The conference helped me understand why the President’s Fatherhood initiative and the Department of Education parent involvement work is so important. Here are a few resources that may be helpful to those who are interested in these initiatives.