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  • Writer's pictureDr. Virginia Jones, Ed.D., LCSW, MOC-Board President

Year in Review

As we end this first semester/quarter of the August 2023-December 2023 academic year we want to reflect on the progress our children and youth (grades 2-11) have made this year. According to a report from the California Board of Education (2023) statewide assessment testing has had some promising increases in English Language proficieny, Math and Science scores. On the other hand, chronic absenteeism has decreased. Therefore, the 2022-23 California Board of Education’s findings compared to 2021-22 has shown a slight progress on assessment scores while more children and youth are attending school and not experiencing unexcused absences.

Likewise. the children and youth’s education and absences are a vital statistic in academia, a realistic and ongoing challenge in our schools are the students’ mental health and social emotional wellness. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 1 in 5 children are experiencing mental health concerns. The concerns are anxiety, depression, and the rising increase of suicide specifically in Black children. These concerns are manifested but not limited to, the recent pandemic isolations, loss and grief, as well as, other traumas, behavioral issues, bullying, gender identity and sexuality. Let us also keep in mind the discussions on climate change and global warming can place our children in anxious moods because they now are aware of the unclean air we breathe, the possible contaminated water we drink, the wild fires surrounding us and food deserts versus accessible grocery stores.

Our schools, communities and our after-school programs are aware that our children need academic assistance to increase their levels and understanding of ELP, Math, and Science proficiencies as well as, addressing the mental health issues the students may be facing. Most after school programs have standards of employing caring and qualified staff who will address your students’ academics, provide enrichment activities, and promote social-emotional wellness. Please let us look towards self-determination as we support you in taking control of your children and youth’s education. Let us look towards creation of decision making and policies that are inclusive of our families’ physical, mental health and environmental justice. And as we look towards education, health, and environmental justice we also want to encourage the freedom in allowing parents, caregivers, children, and youth voices to be heard.

Happy Holidays,

Dr. Virginia Jones, LCSW

Maranatha Outreach Center, Board Member


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