Podcast – Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman interviews Dr. Brent Jones, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, about his priorities for Seattle Public Schools and how he measures success, how the district is supporting student mental health, his personal education journey, and what he would change if he were in charge of Washington state’s education system and there were no budgetary constraints.

 

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Spreaker

Listen:

Read More

Podcast – NPR’s Anya Kamenetz on How COVID Changed Children’s Lives

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman interviews former NPR Education Correspondent Anya Kamenetz about the impacts of keeping students out of school as long as we did during the COVID pandemic, why this past school year was so challenging for students and educators, and why it’s so important for schools to prioritize relationships and social-emotional well-being moving forward.

Anya’s new book is The Stolen Year: How COVID Changed Children’s Lives, and Where We Go Now.

 

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Spreaker

Listen:

Read More

Podcast – Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman interviews Mark Follman, National Affairs Editor for Mother Jones, who discusses which supports and warning signs could prevent mass shootings, how to keep bias out of the threat assessment process, and how to know when is the right time to intervene. Mark’s new book is Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America.

 

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Spreaker

Listen:

Read More

K-12 Students Need More Excused Mental Health Days and More Comprehensive Support

By Ruby Coulson, Guest Blogger

 

Destigmatizing mental health is more than just saying the words, and it’s going to take significant steps.

Ruby Coulson is a Junior at Sequim High School, Sequim School District, National Leader through 4-H, and Committee Member on Legislative Affairs for the Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC)

The Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) worked with Representative Jesse Johnson (D-30), Representative Lisa Callan (D-5), and Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37) to implement a new mental health bill, House Bill 1834. 1834’s goal is to implement more excused mental health days for K-12 education and set up more comprehensive support for students requesting these days. LYAC has always been a leading advocate for youth mental health priorities, working with legislators in the 2020-21 year to pass House Bill 1373, a bill that requires that every public school website publish contact information for suicide prevention, crisis intervention, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse. It passed with resounding support, with only six nays in the House out of 98.  LYAC is a group of economically, politically, geographically, and socially diverse young people lobbying for causes ranging from K-12 Education to Climate and Conservation. The reach of LYAC expands from Western Washington in the 24th district to Spokane in the 4th district, and we actively work to include as much youth voice as possible in our legislative actions. Read More

Washington Game Changers Podcast – Sage Walund and Lauren Seaton from NAMI WA

Sage Walund (L) and Lauren Seaton, NAMI Washington

Washington Game Changers with Lauri Hennessey features leaders who give back to our community, drive innovative solutions, and inspire others in making our state more equitable and just. This podcast is a one-on-one conversation with these powerful leaders in a time when we need to hear about more good in the world.

In this episode, League of Education Voters CEO Lauri Hennessey talks with Sage Walund and Lauren Seaton from the Washington state chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sage and Lauren cover everything from the stigma around mental illness to how youth are faring during the pandemic, as well as the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on youth.

 

Listen:

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Spreaker.

Watch:

Watch the League of Education Voters 2021 Virtual Event on COVID’s Disproportionate Impact on Youth Now and Tomorrow

Read NAMI’s Ending The Silence materials, Part 1 and Part 2 Read More

Podcast – The Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council

Priyanka Mukhara (L) and Kellen Hoard (R)

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman connects with two students from the Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) about LYAC’s history, how LYAC operates, LYAC’s impact on education policy, and what they would change if they were in charge of the state’s education system. Priyanka Mukhara is a First-Year Councilmember and Kellen Hoard is a Second-Year Councilmember and the Chair of LYAC.

The Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) is codified in law as the official youth advisory body to the state legislature, and its activities are wide-ranging. Throughout the year, 14-to-18-year-old student members of the council actively lobby legislators, testify in committee, advise various government agencies, host events around the state, collaborate with nearly 200 community organizations, and much more.  LYAC also spends much time conversing with young people in every corner of Washington about their priorities in order to be a more effective advocate to the legislature.

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Spreaker

Listen:

Read More

Mental Health from the Perspective of BIPOC Student Activists

By The Root of Our Youth Tara Duong, Diya Kumar, Diya Anoop, Phia Endicott, Marlo Duong, Malavika Santhosh, Zana Stewart, and Molly Reagan
Guest Bloggers

 

Clockwise from top left: Tara Duong, Diya Kumar, Diya Anoop, Molly Reagan, Zana Stewart, Malavika Santhosh, Marlo Duong, and Phia Endicott

Without tangible mental health support, students—especially BIPOC—have been left to fend for ourselves throughout remote learning. In an attempt to remedy the emotional damage caused by the abrupt closing of schools, the recent switch to hybrid learning has ironically been handled in the same haphazard manner, with the causes of these mental complications remaining unaddressed.

Our education system teaches students that academic success holds greater value than our health. We’re in a position where we must suppress our mental and emotional needs to survive. When the pandemic hit, we suddenly had the time and space to express ourselves freely, leading us to recognize the severity of our struggles and the damages imposed by the education system.

While the school environment has its faults, isolation has made the management of mental health and academic success increasingly difficult. Numerous elements of in-person school cannot be recreated online, such as connecting and collaborating with peers, and effective communication with teachers. There is little to no opportunity for teamwork, a skill we’ve been conditioned to depend on since primary school. We were taken out of an environment rich in support and dropped into seclusion. Read More

Students Need Mental Health Resources on Every Public School Website

By Kellen Hoard, Chair, Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council
Guest Blogger

 

Kellen Hoard, LYAC

The Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) is codified in law as the official youth advisory body to the state legislature, and its activities are wide-ranging.  Throughout the year, 14-to-18-year-old student members of the council actively lobby legislators, testify in committee, advise various government agencies, host events around the state, collaborate with nearly 200 community organizations, and much more.  LYAC also spends much time conversing with young people in every corner of Washington about their priorities in order to be a more effective advocate to the legislature, and this year the council has heard consistently that one of the top concerns for students is mental health. Read More

Watch our LEVinar on Why Students Need to Go Outdoors

Overwhelming research shows health and emotional benefits to recess, exercise, and free outdoor play.

In this webinar, Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington, Bookie Gates, Servant Leader, Baseball Beyond Borders/Gates Ventures Group, Seattle Public Schools parent Linnea Westerlind, author of Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide, and KUOW Education Reporter Ann Dornfeld discuss the mental health benefits of recess and PE programs in schools, outline what we need now to support school districts in Washington state to incorporate exercise programs into curriculum during this period of distance or hybrid learning, and answer your questions.

Moderated by League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman.

Watch Now

Read More

2020 Legislative Priority: Supportive and Safe Schools

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

In the 2020 legislative session, League of Education Voters will prioritize policies to help lay the foundation of an equitable educational system that provides what students need, when and where they need it.

We believe students come first, and we are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students — including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma.

We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

WHY STUDENT SUPPORTS AND SCHOOL CLIMATE ARE IMPORTANT

Students at Summit Atlas Public School

Students learn most effectively when their school feels safe, inclusive, supportive, and respectful (1). Creating positive school climates and providing student supports can mitigate the impact of trauma (2), mental health needs (3), and other non-academic factors that affect a student’s ability to engage in learning (4). It is instrumental in closing opportunity and achievement gaps in our system and improving student outcomes.

The creation of supportive and safe schools includes strategies such as Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), tiered systems of support, partnerships with families, partnerships with community-based organizations, and providing access to mental health services, among others. Between 50-80% of students in need of mental health services do not have access (5), and schools are likely the first point of access for many students that do seek services (6,7). School climate reform strategies have been shown to decrease school violence and bullying, increase academic achievement, and improve the school experience for students, staff, and families (8). The implementation of universal SEL programs have also been shown to result in significant academic gains (9,10) as well as a robust return on investment of $11 for every $1 spent (11). Read More