District Administration - April 2010 - (Page 16)
Legislation to Set New Rules for Students on the Playing Field
A greAter AwAreness of the impact of sports-related concussions has swept the country, as over 40 states are currently developing legislation that will set standards for when a student athlete can return to the playing field. Although these laws vary by state, the core principles include educating students, coaches, and parents about the dangers of concussions, removing athletes from the field if a concussion is suspected, and requiring medical clearance before they may return. The catalyst for this interest was the Zackery Lystedt law, passed in washington state in May 2009. In october 2006, Zackery Lystedt returned to his middle school football game after enduring a hard hit. following the game, he collapsed and suffered a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury is caused by
Zackery Lystedt (left) with his parents, attorney, Richard Adler (center), and Dr. Stanley Herring M.D. (right) at the 2009 American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.
a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 200,000 sportsand-recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, occur each year, with the highest incidence occurring to children between 10 and 14 years old. “The beautiful thing about this law is that it’s simple, workable, and doesn’t have a fiscal impact,” says Dan henkel, senior director of communication and advocacy at American College of sports Medicine (ACsM). “It removes liability from those who sponsor these activities by having the decision to return to play be made by someone qualified.” oklahoma is one of the 40 states exam-
ining this issue in the state legislature. In february 2010, an oklahoma state senate committee held a hearing for a bill modeled after these initiatives. The committee has also recognized other plans from districts around the state, including employing athletic trainers at school-sponsored sports events and using a computerized system, ImPACt Concussion Management, to better evaluate head injuries. “Administrators are key stakeholders to driving legislation in their state,” says Patrick Donohue, founder of the sarah Jane Brain Project, a private foundation for children suffering from pediatric acquired brain injuries. Donohue hopes that within two years every state will have passed some form of this legislation.
Positive Thoughts Improve Academics
A new stuDy conDucteD by oregon state university and funded by the national Institute of Drug Abuse supports the philosophy that social and emotional learning improves student achievement and social behavior. “the Impact of Positive Action on Academic outcomes,” published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, focuses on a program called Positive Action, a course founded on the belief that positive thoughts induce positive behavior. the results showed an improvement in standardized test scores and a decrease in suspensions and absent students. the study followed 20 Hawaii schools from the 2002-2003 school year through 2005-2006. ten schools incorporated the program into every K12 grade, while the other 10 schools served as a control group. the findings showed an improve16 April 2010
ment on national standardized math and reading tests by 10 percent, 70 percent fewer suspensions, and 15 percent less absenteeism. the state of Hawaii was chosen because it has a single school district, diverse ethnic groups, and a recognized need for improvement. “students are trained to focus on positive behaviors and less on negative behaviors,” says brian Flay, primary researcher of the study and professor of public health at oregon state university. the lesson plans are apportioned for 15 to 20 minutes daily. the program teaches students to recognize how they feel in certain situations and endorses positive behaviors such as setting goals, establishing healthy lifestyles, and solving problems. “these are tools to cope with life, and that is priceless,” says Howard Humphreys, field coordinator for the Positive
Second graders learning life skills while engaging in a Positive Action lesson plan.
Action program study and former principal of Pearl city elementary school in Pearl city, Hawaii. “clearly the way these lessons are taught, demonstrating that adults care about these kids and teaching kids to care about each other, it reinforces social and emotional learning,” says Flay. “It changes the role of the classroom.”
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - April 2010
District Administration - April 2010
From the Editor
Sports for Life
Reaching Digital Natives on Their Terms
RTI Goes Mainstream
Double Duty: Schools as Community Centers
District Administration - April 2010