Weekly NewsBrief 4/12/21 - 4/18/21

News Clip


5 ideas for in-person early literacy interventions – By Cara Nissman, District Administration

For many young students in the early stages of literacy, the interruption in learning brought by the pandemic has resulted in a need to go back to basics.

“As hard as this has been, it has actually been an opportunity for us to recommit to promoting the foundational skills all students have to have,” said Jessica Pasik, reading specialist at Fulton City School District in New York. “We’re recommitting to Tier 1 instruction and making sure it’s as solid as it can be.”

Special education directors may suggest staff review how many young students fall into Tier 2 and Tier 3 as they return to school buildings and undergo universal screening, and recognize when it may be more appropriate to bolster instruction at Tier 1.

Doing this may prevent students from being identified with specific learning disabilities and needing specialized reading instruction down the line.

“If you have massive amounts of students in Tier 2 and Tier 3, it’s not an intervention problem, it’s a Tier 1 problem,” Pasik said. “We are looking at our pacing guide and having to make hard decisions about slowing down and taking things out that we don’t have the time right now to cover because the foundational things are more important. They can’t take a shortcut.”


Students take up the cause to push for more financial education – from CNBC

As financial literacy advocates push for more personal finance education in schools, students are also joining the cause.

Only 21 states require personal finance coursework to graduate high school, with just a handful mandating a stand-alone class, according to the Council for Economic Education. Yet research shows that those who have some financial education typically have lower credit card balances, higher credit scores and take out smaller private loans for college.

“The economy has been fluctuating up and down,” said 15-year-old Zoe McCall. “We need to know these things.”

The high school sophomore lives in Maryland, one of the states that does not require the coursework for high school graduates. While McCall has regular conversations about money at home with her parents, not all of her classmates are as fortunate, she said.


Alabama high school students required to fill out FAFSA for graduation starting in 2022 – By Bobby Stilwell, WKRG

A major change is coming to graduation requirements in Alabama.

During Thursday’s Alabama State Department of Education meeting, the state Board of Education voted to require a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for graduating high school seniors statewide.

The requirement will begin with seniors graduating next year – 2022.

However, students can opt-out of the FAFSA requirement by submitting a waiver to their local superintendent, signed by their parent, legal guardian, or themselves if they are considered emancipated or of legal age.

Board Members Stephanie Bell and Dr. Wayne Reynolds spoke out against the requirement and later voted no, joined by board member Jackie Ziegler – a final tally of 6-3 in favor of adding the requirement.


State Senate passes bill to add mental health education to Oklahoma schools – By Hicham Raache, KFOR

The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill to get mental health education into schools to help students better understand how mental health impacts their overall well-being.

House Bill 1568 was written by Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, and Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arro

The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Tuesday, according to a State Senate news release.

“We know childhood trauma and other issues, including the emotional and psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, can affect children and teens physically and mentally, and without help, it can adversely impact the rest of their lives,” Haste said.  “This bill is an effort to raise awareness and help reduce the stigma of mental health care. I really appreciated working with Representative Boatman on this important issue and thank all our members for their support.”