A Look at Drug, Alcohol Policies

How effective are school policies when it comes to drugs and alcohol? Should schools take a hard line? Or are they better off with a soft sell?

University of Washington professor of social work Richard Catalano and his colleagues took a look at anti-alcohol policies in public and private schools in Washington state and Australia’s Victoria state, and examined how well they worked for eighth- and ninth-graders.

They found that each school’s policy mattered less than how the students thought that policy was being enforced. Even if a school had a suspension or expulsion policy, if students felt the school didn’t enforce it, then they were more likely to drink on campus. But even if a school’s policy was less harsh, students were less likely to drink at school if they believed school officials would enforce it.

“Whatever your school policy is, lax enforcement is related to more drinking,” Catalano says.

According to Catalano, the study shows that harsh punishment for drinking on school grounds, such as calling the police or expelling the student, doesn’t inhibit alcohol use on campus. Instead, students feel disconnected from school and may subsequently drink more.

The study was published recently in the journal Health Education Research.

Edmonds: More Funds, More Teachers

The Edmonds School District will move forward with plans to lower class size and provide additional support for learning, teachers, schools and services, according to a report on the district’s website.

“With the new state funding [for education], 40 new teachers can now be hired to lower class size across all grade levels,” says superintendent Nick Brossoit. “Lowering class size was clearly the highest priority we heard from both staff and parents.”

Additional areas of focus for new state funds include: support for English language learners, early learning, special education, music and athletics, and professional development and support for a new teacher and principal evaluation system. For more information, go to edmonds.wednet.edu.

The Producers

When it comes to video productions, Ballard High School students rock. This marks the seventh year (in a row!) that students from Ballard have won regional Emmy Awards. The Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents High School Awards of Excellence to applaud the most outstanding high school productions from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

And the winners are: Not Even Once by Sam Baldwin, Paris Burhen, Brian Cropp and Gabriel Tagulao; The Godsend by DJ McCoy; and Dream House by Ariahna Ghormley, Ana Krafchick and Louis Weissman. For more information, go to bhsvideo.blogspot.com.

Sensational Singer

Let’s hear it for Liberty High School in Issaquah — and for recent grad Jaylyn Andrus, who was named a merit winner for the National YoungArts Foundation competition.

A vocalist, Andrus has been singing nearly her entire life, according to The Issaquah Press. She was involved in musical theater at Maywood Middle School and attended Holy Names Academy, where she sang in the choir. She will attend the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati this fall.

The National YoungArts Foundation recognizes America’s most talented 15- to 18-year-olds in the visual, literary and performing arts. This year, YoungArts named 685 winners out of 10,000 applicants nationwide. The winners were selected through a multitiered process and evaluated by masters in their artistic fields.

YoungArts alumni include Vanessa Williams, Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj and Chris Young.

Superstar Scholars Span the States

Rainier Scholars now boasts 170 scholars at 75 colleges and universities in 24 states across the nation. This year, the first group of scholars graduated from college — and every Rainier Scholar high school graduate was accepted into college.

The program guides 60 students of color through an 11-year process that offers them academic enrichment, academic counseling, leadership development and college support.

The scholars come from those groups most underrepresented on college campuses, including African-Americans, Hispanic Latinos, Native Americans and first-generation Asian-Americans. More than 85 percent come from households in which they will be the first in their family to earn a college degree. Go to Rainier Scholars for more information.

SPS Seeking Nominations for School-Family Advisory Committee

Seattle Public Schools is seeking parents, families and guardians to join its School-Family Partnerships Advisory Committee. The committee advises the Superintendent and the District on family and community engagement methods to increase student success. This one-year term involves one to two meetings a month and presentations of the committee’s report to the Superintendent and the School Board.

Nominations are due September 13. Nomination forms and more information can be found on the School-Family Partnerships page (click on Families & Communities > School-Family Partnerships) and at school offices.

Expert Will Talk on Teens, Technology

Katie LeClerc Greer, a nationally recognized expert in Internet safety and technology, will speak at a ParentMap lecture at University Prep in Seattle, Wednesday, from 7–9 p.m. September 25. In her talk, “Kids, Teens + Technology,” she will offer advice to help your child be smart and stay safe in today’s digital world. Tickets are $20. Get tickets and more information here.

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