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ASHA's Future Leaders Academy: We want you!
The Future Leaders Academy (FLA) identifies and trains individuals for future leadership roles in the American School Health Association. The FLA builds skills and familiarizes young professionals with the programs and activities of the Association. Click here to learn more about FLA. To apply, please complete the FLA application by May 15, 2015.
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Call for nominations for 2015 ASHA Awards
Last week ASHA opened the call for nominations for the 2015 William A. Howe, Fellow, and Distinguished Service awards. Please click here for details on each of these awards and to submit your application. All nominations are due by close of business on Monday, May 4. Please send all nomination materials to Ashley Dowling at email@example.com. Winners will be notified in late June and will be honored during the 89th Annual School Health Conference in Orlando Florida, Oct. 15-17.
ASHA Leadership Update
Effective March 27, ASHA Director Sara Smith regretfully stepped down from her position due to a job change that would not allow her to give the time and attention that the board requires. In accordance with ASHA's Bylaws President Linda Morse nominated, and the ASHA Board subsequently approved, Jamie Sparks to replace Smith. As background, Sparks ran for the 2015 ASHA Board last year. Sparks serves as the Project Director for Coordinated School Health at the Kentucky Department of Education. He holds a BA in Health and Physical Education/Fitness and a MA in Counseling Education/School Counseling, both from Morehead State University. Sparks has been actively involved with the Let's Move Active Schools and Action for Healthy Kids and serves as president-elect for the Kentucky Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Sparks is a tireless advocate for healthy schools and healthy students and was featured as a Let's Move Champion for Change.
Bullying among disabled students reduced after social-emotional learning program
Instances of bullying decreased by 20 percent among students with disabilities after they participated in a social and emotional learning program, according to a new three-year study led by a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne. According to earlier research, students with behavioral disabilities are more likely to be identified as bullies by their teachers and peers than are other students. The researchers hypothesize that the higher amount of peer aggression among these students may be a function or manifestation of their disabilities — perhaps an aggressive reaction to social stimuli — and whether they are placed in restrictive classrooms.
AAP opposes school-based drug testing due to lack of proven effectiveness
The AAP recently published a policy statement stating that the organization opposes widespread implementation of school-based drug testing programs due to a lack of evidence of the programs' effectiveness. "Although any reduction in student drug use is beneficial, it is questionable whether school-based drug testing is the best use of limited resources," Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, FAAP, chairperson of the AAP's Committee on Substance Abuse, and colleagues wrote.
Are our schools damaging children's eyes?
Shockingly, research has shown a dramatic increase in the number of students leaving secondary school with short-sightedness, or myopia, and a new study published in the Journal Perspectives in Public Health, published by SAGE, suggests lighting in schools could be a factor. Over the last 30 years, short sight, or myopia, has become a global health problem. The most dramatic rise has been in Singapore, Taiwan, China's cities and elsewhere in East Asia. Rates can be as high as 80-90 percent among children leaving secondary schools in the region.
Kids allowed sips of alcohol are more likely to drink in high school, study says
If you've already allowed your kids to take a little sip of your beer or wine from time to time, you probably won't be pleased when you hear the findings of a new report. The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found that children who had sipped alcohol by the sixth grade were about five times more likely to have a full drink by the time they were in high school and four times more likely to binge drink or get drunk.
Free school breakfasts appear to boost kids' grades
Free school breakfasts may help low-income students do better in the classroom, a new study suggests. Students at elementary schools that offered free breakfast had 25 percent better math grades, and similarly higher reading and science grades, than students at schools without free breakfast. However, although the researchers found a link between schools that provide free morning meals and higher school performance, the study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Why kids are getting more aggressive on the playground
The Washington Post
Tag ... a simple game of tag. Seems innocent enough. But is it? Not according to many teachers. Kids are starting to hit with such force that they often end up whacking their opponent across the back in a monstrous slap. I've seen this myself many times. "Ouch!" one kid cries, now on their hands and knees and fighting off tears. "Don't hit so hard!" they yell up at the child standing over them. Often, you hear the other child whine, "I didn't mean to..." Many times the act seems unintentional, although painful for the victim nonetheless. Tag is now becoming such an issue that schools are starting to ban this once beloved game.
Study: Counseling beats school suspension at curbing pot use
HealthDay News via Doctors Lounge
Students at schools that impose suspensions for marijuana use are more likely to smoke pot than those at schools without a suspension policy, a new study finds. Researchers also found that counseling was much more effective in reducing marijuana use than suspensions. "To reduce marijuana use among all students, we need to ensure that schools are using drug policies that respond to policy violations by educating or counseling students, not just penalizing them," study co-author Richard Catalano, a professor of social work at the University of Washington, said in a university news release.
Weighing in ... Should schools assess body mass index?
Weigh in time... A second grade girl brings home a letter from her school revealing her body mass index scores taken in September 2014 and March 2015 (link is external). Her scores didn't fall within the "healthy range". So puzzled by the letter, the little girl got off the bus and asked the troubling question, "Does this mean I’m fat?" Clearly not a question any parent would want to be asked by his/her child. Here are some questions for you... Did the school cross the line by not developing a confidential and educational procedure for notifying parents about the assessment? Should the school have conducted a BMI assessment in the first place?
What role does your building have in securing students?
By: Charlie Howell
The four guiding principles of security are deter, detect, delay and respond. Law enforcement, military and security teams have created other versions of these principles, but these are the core of providing security for any type of organization, entity or people. Therefore, when securing students in schools, we have to examine our efforts toward these basic core principles. A mix of technology, staffing, organizational structure and equipment comprises the actual security plan, but for now let's take a look at the role that school buildings play in securing schools.
Study: Children who start school later are more likely to drop out
Science World Report
A new study by researchers at Duke University shows that children who start kindergarten a bit later are more likely to drop out of school and commit serious crimes. However, the outcomes are more likely for children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who start later start out with a bit of an advantage. "This research provides the first compelling evidence of a causal link between dropout and crime. It supports the view that crime outcomes should be considered in evaluating school reforms," said lead author Philip J. Cook, a professor in Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy.
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