Independent report focuses on student mobility in New York City schools
- Students who moved, those who live in temporary housing, and those who were suspended were the most likely to change schools in New York City in a single a year, according to Chalkbeat’s coverage of a report on school transfers in the nation’s largest school district.
Conducted by the city’s Independent Budget Office, the report finds that overall, 77,800 students changed schools during the 2014-15 school year. The transfers include students leaving district schools for charters, those entering alternative programs and those who have severe disabilities, the article says
- Low-performing students in math and English language arts in elementary and middle schools were also among those who transferred that year.
While students are always going to change schools for a variety of reasons, efforts have increased in recent years to learn more about why students change schools and what staff members can do to smooth transitions, especially for those who change during the school year.
In Massachusetts, for example, the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy issued a report focusing on student mobility in that state. The researchers found that in some districts, almost a third of students change schools during the course of the school year. Teachers interviewed for the study expressed that they often didn’t feel equipped to address the complex needs of highly mobile students. Studies have shown that changing schools can lead to gaps in learning and lower achievement scores in both math and reading. Students might also struggle to make friends or feel part of their new school, especially if they have made multiple transitions. Higher student turnover can also have a negative impact on the students in a school that have not moved, research shows.
Regardless of why new students are entering their schools, administrators can increase efforts to provide support to new students through “buddy” programs, by forming newcomer groups for incoming students and by alerting school counselors or other student support professionals when a new student has registered. Additional monitoring for the first few weeks after a student has entered can also help ensure that the transition is less disruptive. Schools' growing emphasis on social-emotional learning should also lead to strategies for supporting students who might be having a hard time settling in to new schools.
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