Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 7
I always wanted to help them get
what I didn't have, but I didn't
know what questions to ask,
where to look for information."
Modesto, Calif., parent
sages from teachers. "They start emailing me to
find out how their kids are doing and what they
can do at home to help them get better grades."
A few years ago, when a particularly large
group of parents was taking the course, counselors at the 1,800-student school were so
inundated with calls and appointments that
they had to stay late at work to manage them,
said principal Nathan Schar.
Olivia Alva, a Modesto parent who's taken
several PIQE courses, said that when she first
immigrated from Mexico, she didn't see the
need to get involved in her son's school. In her
hometown, she said, "parents trust and respect
la maestra"-the teacher-and don't want to
"bother" her. But she quickly realized that to
help her children in the United States, she had
to master the workings of the school system.
As a result, "she was always checking
whether I was taking the right classes," said
her son, Leo. With no college education herself, Alva was able to help Leo research and
apply to college. He graduated from the University of California-Berkeley in 2016.
Some PIQE graduates have used the training to expand their involvement beyond just
their children's schools. Rosaura Muratalla
lives in the small town of Planada, about 45
miles south of Modesto. She started a group
that's working with the local principal on
bullying issues, and also with community
agencies to get health care for undocumented
people, to improve the local park, and get a
streetlight installed in town.
"I feel that I have more knowledge and information now, and that makes me feel like I
have more power," she said.
Coverage of how parents work with educators,
community leaders and policymakers to make
informed decisions about their children's education
is supported by a grant from the Walton Family
Foundation, at waltonk12.org. Education Week retains
sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
Rising Food Allergies a Challenge for Schools
Many severe reactions
occur in school setting
By Evie Blad
When Abbe Large's daughter was a
toddler, she was diagnosed with a peanut allergy so severe that the skin on
her cheek reacted to a kiss from her
father hours after he'd eaten peanuts.
With two daughters with multiple
food allergies, Large worked with an
allergy consultant to figure out how
to eat, how to store food, and how to
control her children's exposure to the
allergens that could send them into
Large was anxious when it was
time to send them to their Connecticut elementary school. Peanut
protein is difficult to clean from skin and
surfaces, which would leave her younger
daughter, now 10, vulnerable to a reaction even if peanut-eating classmates
didn't have the nuts at school.
"I would put her to bed at night and
really fear for her life," Large said.
School-based health providers and
education leaders say they've seen a
major uptick in allergies to peanuts and
other foods, sometimes creating logistical challenges for teachers, food service
workers, and school nurses.
"I've been a school nurse for 24 years,
and the number of students presenting
with risk of anaphylaxis related to food
has grown exponentially," said Laurie
Combe, the president-elect of the National Association of School Nurses.
"When I started, I had one student
with an EpiPen, and now I will go into
schools and they will have 20 to 30."
And new research backs up the assertion that the number of children with food
allergies is growing.
Peanut allergies in children have increased 21 percent since 2010, and nearly
2.5 percent of U.S. children may have an
allergy to peanuts, according to preliminary research presented by Ruchi Gupta,
a professor of pediatric medicine at Northwestern University.
Gupta presented her findings, derived
from a survey of 58,000 U.S. households, at the American College of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology's annual scientific meeting in Boston last month. Her
findings also showed rising rates of child
allergies to tree nuts, shellfish, fin fish,
and sesame during the same time period.
Growing rates of food allergies should
concern schools, advocates say, because
many children who have not been diagnosed with an allergy have their first allergic reactions in a school setting.
Between 20 and 25 percent of epinephrine injections administered to counter severe allergic reactions at school are given
to students who've not yet been diagnosed
with an allergy, according to Food Allergy
Research & Education, an advocacy group
for people with allergies.
FARE advocates for policies that allow
schools to carry epinephrine injectors that
aren't prescribed for use by a specific student so that they can react quickly in the
event of an allergic reaction.
States have responded to growing allergy concerns in recent years. Every
state but Hawaii has a policy that allows
or requires schools to stock epinephrine,
according to a FARE legislation tracker.
And most states require training for
get a loan from a bank," she said. "But remember, the interest rate will be much higher, and
you'll have to start repaying it as soon as you
get the loan, so be careful."
Two months ago, these parents had never
heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, a crucial conduit to loans
and grants. Tonight, when Valadez asks how
they can get low-interest government loans,
they respond, in near-unison: "FAFSA."
In the weeks leading up to that session,
they learned about the Common Core State
Standards; about statewide and college-admissions tests, what a grade point average is,
and why it's important. They learned which
courses students need to graduate from high
school, and what they should take if they're
aiming for the California State or University
of California institutions. They learned what
the school's counselors do, and, as their "homework," had to call and make an appointment
with their child's counselor.
Teachers and counselors feel the impact of
the course in their school. Bertha MagañaRios, a Spanish teacher at Johansen High,
said she can tell when PIQE's in session.
"Parents start calling me," she said. "They
want to know how to log in" to online portals that
show students' grades, assignments, and mes-
EpiPens, or epinephrine injectors, have
become commonplace in American
schools as the numbers
of children with food allergies rises.
New research shows that peanut
allergies in children have increased
21 percent since 2010, and that overall,
nearly 2.5 percent of U.S. children may
have an allergy to peanuts.
teachers and administrators in how to
use the devices.
Those state policies come after a 2013
federal law that prioritizes some federal
grants to states that stock epinephrine
injectors in schools. Mylan, a leading distributor of epinephrine injectors, pushed
for the federal law. Some policymakers
have said requiring schools to stock the
injectors, rather than merely allowing
them to do so, creates a financial burden
because of the cost of training staff and
maintaining drug supplies.
Groups like the National Association
of School Nurses have also pressed for a
nurse in every school, noting that relatively common diagnoses like allergies
can quickly become serious health risks.
Parents like Large say that, as more
schools adopt clear policies related to
things like food in the classroom and
allowing for broader use of epinephrine
injectors, they are more comfortable
sending their children to school.
Schools Need Broad Policies
FARE pushes for parents of children
with allergies to secure "504 plans" that
outline how their schools will limit exposure to allergens and respond if they have
reactions, said Jennifer Jobrack, the organization's national advocacy director.
But schools shouldn't address allergies
as merely issues for individual students,
Jobrack said. Rather, they should implement broader policies that reduce allergen exposure for all students, even those
who have not yet been diagnosed.
"Food-free classrooms," where teachers
avoid using things like M&M candies for
counting exercises and egg cartons for
craft products would be one example, Jobrack said.
Schools should also limit use of products
like peanut butter in cafeterias, provide
special tables for highly allergic students
in the lunchroom, and require classroom
snacks that include listed ingredients so
parents can screen for allergens, she said.
Such policies, applied across an entire
school, can help reduce the stigma for individual children with severe allergies.
"You never want to single out a child
and make other children feel that because
of Johnny's allergy, we can't have M&M's
in our classroom," Jobrack said.
Only 16 states require their schools
to have food-allergy policies. But many
schools in states without such mandates
have adopted them on their own, using
guidelines like those from the National
Association of School Nurses and the National School Boards Association.
Such policies can help schools reassure
parents that their child will be safe, said
Combe, of the nurses association.
"When a parent is bringing a child with
food allergy to school for the first time,
they are terrified," she said. "They've lived
in this protective environment of their
home, and now they're sending them off
to school to people they don't know."
Combe told the story of an elementary
student whose mother wanted her to
carry an epinephrine injector with her
everywhere. While most allergy-affected
children stored their injectors in the
nurse's office, administrators allowed the
girl to carry hers in a "fairy purse" on her
shoulder until her mother grew more confident in the school's preparedness.
"You have to meet parents where their
level of anxiety is, and then you can build
trust," Combe said.
Large, the Connecticut mother, channeled her concern into a mission to boost
the level of allergy education in her children's schools. She went school-by-school
to meet with principals, parent-teacher
association members, and parents of affected children to put policies in place related to food and allergen exposure.
She convinced schools to switch from
peanut butter to sunflower butter in cafeteria foods, and she developed informational features about allergies that could
be included in parent newsletters.
"At the end of the day, nobody wants
to put a child in harm's way," Large said.
"Nobody does it intentionally. It's all about
EDUCATION WEEK | November 15, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 7
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 15, 2017
Education Week - November 15, 2017
E-Schools Adapting to Transgender Students’ Needs
In Florida, Laissez-Faire Approach to Monitoring Private School Vouchers
New Survey Details Effect of Inclusion on Teaching Time
Are States Changing Course On Teacher Evaluation?
News in Brief
Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools
Rising Food Allergies A Challenge for Schools
GreatSchools Expands Its Ratings on Schools
Study: Do Parents Need a Reason To Go School Shopping?
SNAPSHOT: Single-Gender Education
New Mexico Offers Teachers A Seat at Policymaking Table
Repercussions for K-12 From Democratic Election Gains
GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers’ Pocketbooks
A One-Year Scorecard for Trump On K-12 Campaign-Trail Promises
A Primer on the Teacher Tax Break
Emily Phillips Galloway, Paola Uccelli & Christina Dobbs: The Power of Precise Language
Adam Urbanski, Tom Alves & Ellen Bernstein: Without Teacher Input, Ed. Reform Is Doomed to Fail
William Sterrett: Time Is a Principal’s Most Limited Resource
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Elaine Weiss & Christopher T. Cross: Education’s Golden Rule
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Are States Changing Course On Teacher Evaluation?
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover2
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 3
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 5
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Rising Food Allergies A Challenge for Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - GreatSchools Expands Its Ratings on Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Study: Do Parents Need a Reason To Go School Shopping?
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - SNAPSHOT: Single-Gender Education
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 11
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 12
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 13
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 14
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 15
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 16
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - New Mexico Offers Teachers A Seat at Policymaking Table
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 18
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers’ Pocketbooks
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - A One-Year Scorecard for Trump On K-12 Campaign-Trail Promises
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - A Primer on the Teacher Tax Break
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Adam Urbanski, Tom Alves & Ellen Bernstein: Without Teacher Input, Ed. Reform Is Doomed to Fail
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - William Sterrett: Time Is a Principal’s Most Limited Resource
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Readers React
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 25
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover3
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Elaine Weiss & Christopher T. Cross: Education’s Golden Rule