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  1. 1. DuPage County IASB Dinner Meeting October 2018 Glenn W. “Max” McGee 224.234.6129 @glennmaxmcgee From Distress to Success
  2. 2. 1 “Experts agree that anxiety is reaching near-epidemic levels among young people, with as many as one in eight children — and 25 percent of teens — contending with diagnosable anxiety disorders.” <>
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  4. 4. “Outcomes” of anxiety, depression, mental health struggles. … • Disengagement • Truancy • “School Refusal” • Substance abuse • Cutting • Hospitalization • Credible Threats • and worse … 3 Alabama 2020 Strategic Plan Goal to Reduce Truancy
  5. 5. • However, there is hope. This presentation will share some successful practices driven by courageous, innovative, compassionate, and impassioned leaders, teachers, parents, and students. These practices have made the schools more humane, healthy, and engaging. Strong academics have been sustained and definitions of success have expanded. 4 FROM … TO …
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  9. 9. • However, there is hope. This presentation will share some successful practices driven by courageous, innovative, compassionate, and impassioned leaders, teachers, parents, and students. These practices have made the schools more humane, healthy, and engaging. Strong academics have been sustained and definitions of success have expanded. 8 How do we ensure this?
  10. 10. Five Fundamental Beliefs about Social Emotional Health … Students who are mentally healthy and social-emotionally sound are: 1. More likely to succeed academically 2. Have the self-confidence, resilience, grit, and coping skills to persist in the face of difficult challenges 3. More friendly and skilled in managing positive relationships 4. More engaged in and connected to school 5. More likely to make wise decisions and thus less likely to have discipline problems 9
  11. 11. Research supports these beliefs 10 The ability to recognize and manage emotions and establish and maintain positive relationships impacts both readiness to learn and the ability to benefit from learning opportunities. In 2011, a team of researchers conducted a comprehensive meta analysis of school based universal social emotional interventions which included 213 schools and 270,034 students ranging from kindergarten through high school. On average, the researchers found that students receiving social emotional interventions improved significantly compared to those not receiving an intervention. Social emotional skills, social behaviors, and academic performance increased, attitudes towards self and others were more positive, conduct problems were reduced, and emotional distress lessened. Farrington, Roderick, Allensworth, Nagaoka, Keyes, Johnson, & Beechum. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance. A critical literature review. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Durlak et al. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A metaanalysis of school based universal interventions. Child Development, 872 (1).
  12. 12. Three Billboards … Stressors we can and cannot control Practices and polices we can stop or do less of Practices and polices we can start or do more of 11
  13. 13. Stressors we cannot control … 12
  14. 14. A major stressor out of control … Alliteratively, Bates, Bowdoin, Brown, and Bucknell have early acceptance rates more than double their regular admissions rates as do “Wash U” and Williams. Holy Cross, Conn, and George Washington University have early admissions rates in the 70% range. Here are some other comparables from College Transitions for 2015-16: Early % Regular % Columbia 19 4.8 Northwestern 38 11 Princeton 19.9 5 Stanford 10.2 4 Amherst 36 12 Notre Dame 38.9 15.1 Oberlin 54 27 UNC/Chapel Hill 39.1 18.9 Wesleyan 42 22.2 13
  15. 15. Institution % Accepted Brigade Numbers Left on the Battlefield Stanford 4.69 43,997 41,934 Harvard 5.2 39,044 37,014 Princeton 6.46 29,313 27,429 Brown 9 32,390 29,475 Columbia 6.04 36,292 33,970 Yale 6.27 31,455 29,483 MIT 7.81 19,020 17,535 Penn 9.4 38,918 35,260 14 Put another way, for the schools cited about, at least 3 out of 4 applicants are rejected. Yes, rejected. Willard Dix provides a body count of what he calls “cannon fodder,” the unsuccessful applicants: “Let's look at a few numbers from the current admission season (College class of 2020) to see how many students fell during "The Charge of the Bright Brigade": I didn't even bother to include Dartmouth or Cornell with their comparatively generous double- digit acceptance rates (10.5% and 14%, respectively). It's clear that applying to these institutions is a losing proposition.” acceptance-rates/#13d9f4801dd0
  16. 16. • Student schedules • Grading and ranking • Student and STAFF workload • School climate and culture • Access to support services and programs • Recruitment, retention, and evaluation of administrators and teachers • Information flow to stakeholders • Technology use during school hours • More …. 15 Stressors we can control
  17. 17. • Homework (besides reading) • Discounting gender differences • Half-day kindergarten (kids need half day for “school” and half day for choice, movement, play, exploration …) 16 What we can stop or do less of … Elementary School
  18. 18. • Homework (besides reading) • Discounting gender differences • Half-day kindergarten (kids need half day for “school” and half day for choice, movement, play, exploration …) 17 What we can stop or do less of … Elementary School
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  22. 22. • Cell phone access • Teaching subjects before teaching kids • “Sit and git” 21 What we can stop or do less of … Middle School
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  24. 24. • Performance Arms Race • Grading practices • APs • Homework • Prisoners of Time • Start time • Zero period • Block • Passing time • Disincentivizing attendance • Punishment and Threats 23 What we can stop or do less of … High School
  25. 25. “Our school is comprised largely of perfectionist students who are terrified by the idea of failure. The race for a higher Grade Point Average (GPA) dominates in our community. Our worth and value in the eyes of our friends, family, and, worst of all, ourselves, is dictated by this number. Being ranked by GPA only worsens the crisis through constant comparison to each other. Mistakes, whether during lectures or on tests, become viewed by students, and even many teachers, as signs of weakness and stupidity.” 24 perspective-creating-school-policy-change-improve-engagement-well/ From a student …
  26. 26. The student who took his own life had a full schedule of Advanced Placement classes—as a high school freshman. Why? Because he knew the reality of his high school's antiquated ranking and weighting system. The school only gives special weight (added points onto the GPA thus improving the class rank) if a student takes APs. 25 From a parent …
  27. 27. “Our teachers and District have simply created and maintained a system that our community/country has demanded from us over the past 20 years since college admissions mania went into hyper drive, since vocational training programs were dismantled, and since earning “A’s” in AP classes became the norm. Our teachers feel the pressure, administration and counseling feel the pressure, and now parents/students are really feeling the pressures. When we grew up nobody asked us what our GPA was, and it was “cool” to work on the roof of a house. This competitive culture has significantly impacted our young adults. We endlessly discuss test scores, National Merit Scholarships, reading scores, AP scholars, comparisons to other school Districts and this is when we start losing our collective souls--and our children.” 26 From a principal …
  28. 28. Challenge Success white paper … students who are not academically burned out tend to have higher grades and self- esteem than students who are academically burned out (Lee et al., 2010). Studies also show that students who feel increasing pressure and workload in school tend to be more exhausted, more disengaged, and have more mental and physical health problems (Galloway & Pope, 2007; Conner et al., 2009). … relationship between increased time spent on homework and decreased sleep on school nights, as well as between decreased sleep and increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue (Fuligni & Hardway, 2006). 27
  29. 29. • Performance Arms Race • Grading practices: eliminate weighting, zeros, inconsistencies • APs: “warning labels,” open access but restricting amount • Homework: weekly/daily limit, project stacking monitoring • Prisoner of Time • Start time: move it back • Zero period: dump it • Block: adopt one • Advisory/flex: offer it • Passing periods: lengthen • Disincentivizing attendance • Punishment: rewards e.g. finals, passes, … • Notices: empathy, support 28 Summarizing what we can stop or do less of …High School
  30. 30. • Enhance connectedness and belonging • Infuse JOY • Reading and writing workshop model • Grade level competency in reading and mathematics by third grade • Recess 29 What we can start or do more of … Elementary School
  31. 31. • VIGILANCE (be students of our students) • Ensure connection to a caring, trusted adult • Access to wellness supports • Opportunities to move in classes • Model patience, structure, tolerance 30 What we can start or do more of … Middle School
  32. 32. VIGILANCE: Students of our Students • Shadowing 31 • Surveying • My teacher knows if something is bothering me • My teacher really tries to understand how students feel about things • My teacher makes me feel he/she really cares about me • My teacher gives me meaningful and timely feedback on my work While 96% of teachers agreed/strongly agreed that there is a caring adult at school, just 78% of students (HS only) and 61% of parents concurred.
  33. 33. • Enhance connectedness and belonging through purpose, meaning, and joy • Access to wellness supports • Incentivize attendance • Information to parents and students • Admissions • Destigmatize help-seeking • Means restriction • Provide for AUTHENTIC student choice and voice 32 What we can start or do more of … High School
  34. 34. VIGILANCE: Stop, Look, Listen 33 • Stop • Focusing on adult issues • Rationalizing their behavioral changes as mood swings • Talking and look and listen more • Look • Signs of sleep deprivation • Disengaging in favorite activities • Into their social media • Listen • To what is not being said • To you child’s peers • To your own gut
  35. 35. Access to Wellness Supports 34
  36. 36. Attendance 35 • Follow up immediately with absences • Small individual incentives work better than classroom, school ones • Excused from finals if miss two or fewer days • Tone of the letter to truants matters – positive and supportive works; threatening and blaming doesn’t.
  37. 37. 36 ”No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” Incorporating a Caring Climate
  38. 38. WHY: Students with a growth mindset have … • More Resilience • Stronger Desire for Learning • Higher Achievement • Greater Motivation 37
  39. 39. FEEDBACK: Breaking the Cycle of Mistrust: Wise Interventions to Provide Critical Feedback Across the Racial Divide • The wise feedback treatment note stated, “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.” • By contrast, the placebo control note stated, “I’m giving you these comments so that you’ll have feedback on your paper.” 38
  40. 40. Journal of Experimental Psychology American Psychological Association 2014, Vol. 143, No. 2, 804–824 • “An estimated 71% of African American students who received the wise feedback note revised their essays, compared with 17% of students who received the control note.” • “Although White students also showed a trend in the same direction, this effect was not significant 87% revised in the wise criticism condition vs. 62% in the control condition.” 39
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  43. 43. FREE Resources • Growth Mindset: • Measures of Effective Teaching: about-teaching-student-perception-surveys-and-their- implementation/ • Shadow a student protocol: • Suicide Prevention Resource Center: • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: content/uploads/2016/01/recommendations.pdf • PAUSD Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention • California Department of Education (AB2246 and Model Suicide Prevention Policy) • Sources of Strength: • Max McGee • • 224.234.6129 • • Twitter is: @glennmaxmcgee and @HYAsearch 42