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Mississippi Bend AEA
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Investing in Iowa's Future

December 16, 2005

“Student achievement outcomes, of course, are influenced by factors within the school system and by the well-being of the families and the neighborhoods in which they operate. Thus, student performance must be viewed within the context of the current status of indicators of school and community well being, such as economic, social, and health measures. If those indicators are not improving or are declining, it is patently unfair to ignore these contextual conditions in judging school performance. The school’s role in addressing these contextual factors is to pursue a holistic, systemic, and collaborative approach to addressing barriers to student learning.” (Adelman and Taylor, 2003)

Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (AEA 9) has supported schools in effective school improvement efforts that result in increased reading, mathematics, and science proficiency. While the student learning improvement has been impressive, the rigorous challenges of No Child Left Behind legislation also require an investment in a system of learning supports to meet the social-emotional needs of children. A Learning Supports framework includes:

  • promoting and enhancing the involvement by parents
  • connecting and collaborating with community partners
  • supporting safe, healthy, and caring learning environments
  • opportunities for youth to contribute to their communities
  • supporting transitions within a student’s life.

Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education, is facilitating school-wide efforts to implement research-based programs, services, and activities that support student success. Drs. Adelman and Taylor, Co-Directors of the Center for Mental Health in Schools at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) are serving as consultants to the Iowa Department of Education and AEA’s throughout the state to ensure that all youth succeed in school. AEA 9 is customizing services to meet the various student learning needs of schools within the region.

The Learning Supports framework is woven into the comprehensive school improvement process so that professional development efforts to improve reading, mathematics, and science classroom instruction are aligned to address student’s barriers of learning. Programs, services, and activities such as Columbia Teen Screen, Culture of Poverty training, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, the student Mentoring Program, Parents as Teachers, 40 Developmental Assets, and Second Step Violence Prevention Curriculum provide educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet diverse learning needs.

If you desire more information about the Learning Supports framework, please contact Dr. Edward Gronlund, Research, Development, & Evaluation Director, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (563-344-6315 or egronlund@aea9.k12.ia.us).

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