Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile on Unsplash

December can be, in the famous words of Dickens (1921) in A Tale of Two Cities, the best of times or the worst of times for elementary school teachers. It can be the best of time because the month is filled with holidays and it’s a period right before a week or two of school winter break. But it can be very challenging for teachers to figure out how to address the holidays that occur in that month before the break!

Holidays have become politicized, adultified, and commercialized, no doubt about it. Schools struggle with how to let children enjoy…


Melissa Juchniewicz

Jerome came to me when he was seven. I had been training for specialized foster care, and when I was told about this kid who had nowhere to be discharged from a child psychiatric unit, I raised my hand. It was my only try at being a parent.

It was late November when I brought him to my house, which was not much more than a cabin I had bought a few years back at auction. It was next to a lake and the leaves were turning. Most of his time Jerome spent hiding under a blanket, except…


Beth D’Ovidio

If there were suburbs in New Hampshire, Bow, NH would be a suburb of the state capital, Concord. Years ago, I unexpectedly found myself plucked from my suburban Washington, D.C. home, and living as a single mom with two young daughters in the quintessential New England hamlet. How that happened is a story for another day.

At the time, it was the town’s good fortune to have a special man of some notoriety residing there — Santa Claus. His appearance matched Clement Clarke Moore’s T’was the Night Before Christmas description to a tee. His pure white beard was real; his…


Yvonne Vissing and Jennifer Vernick

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Is there a relationship between school funding, school quality, and how schools manage emotionally distressed or misbehaving students? There is an increase in student trauma and socio-emotional challenges (ACLU 2020; Anderson 2020; Becker 2021; JED Foundation 2021). If schools do not receive adequate funding, does it make counseling less and corporal punishment more likely? We examine that relationship by analyzing state-level US data and whether there is a relationship between funding, quality, the support, and discipline strategies students receive.

School Funding Patterns

School funding is associated with school quality and student success (Jackson et al…


Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

Why did the Florida principal paddle a six-year-old girl for scratching a computer screen when there were so many constructive, educational, nonviolent alternatives that she could have chosen? Florida laws make corporal punishment of students “acceptable”. The barbaric act of hitting children in schools is still legal in 19 states like Florida and Indiana. The impact on that little girl, and on others who witness classmates being attacked by teachers, principals, and other adults who are “supposed” to care for them can have life-long impacts.

I know. While I wasn’t the one who was hit that day, I still feel…


Photo by Paul Alnet on Unsplash

“You need more tools in your toolbox” is a metaphor that therapists and bosses hammer away at us when we ask for help. It is uncomfortable jargon indicating that we don’t have the skills we need and we better go out and get the right one if we want to be successful. It is a misogynist guys-guy term, one that focuses on our power being externally-based. It implies that if you buy tools (or learn skills from someone else) that all you have to do is go to your toolbox, open it up, pull out the right tool, then use…


Yvonne Vissing, Melissa Juchniewicz & Laura Thompson

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Mass shootings are sadly becoming part of the American landscape. In 2020 there were 614 reported mass shootings, resulting in 446 deaths and 2,515 injuries. Eight of those shootings occurred in schools. So far in 2021, there have been 13 gunfire incidents on school grounds.

We have to remember that school shooting incidents are nothing new. When one of us authors was in second grade in Indiana, a mother showed up at the door of our classroom with a shotgun to shoot the teacher for allowing her son to walk to the corner…


A 25 Year Retrospective

by Yvonne Vissing and Diane Nilan

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

Homeless is far from a new phenomenon, one that has triggered crises for individuals, families and communities for decades. Commemorating our Silver Anniversary of homelessness research and advocacy, we figured it would be valuable to share our historical retrospective of how homelessness in America has changed over the last 25 years, with a particular focus on child and family homelessness.

When our paths crossed in the early 1990s, with one of us researching homelessness as a college professor in Massachusetts and the other serving families as a shelter director in…


Why We Need To Make Sure Everyone Has A Good One

Photo by Valentina Locatelli on Unsplash

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz lamented, “there’s no place like home.” Those words still ring true today. We spend much of our lives taking our home for granted- until we don’t have one.

As 2020 ends, housing data tells a clear story — the pandemic could force up to 40 million people to lose their homes; 11 to 13 million renter households are at risk of being evicted in 2021; the number of foreclosures are predicted to rise in the next year from about a quarter to a…


When Chris Kennedy of Little Rock, Arkansas put up his annual yard display of festive December holiday decorations, he didn’t expect to receive hate mail from Santa Claus. Why? Because he dared to put up a black Santa.

There are those who think that Santa is timeless and should never change; there are others who think that his face-lift is long overdue. As a Santaologist, research is clear that Santa Claus is a product of social construction who has evolved over time. It’s time that he undergoes another transformation, a make-over that will keep him relevant to today’s changing population…

Yvonne Vissing

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