Every year, as August and September arrive, students make their way back to school after their summer breaks. During this time, many are thrilled at the prospect of reuniting with friends and discovering their new teachers and classes. However, the return to school doesn't evoke the same sense of excitement in every child. A significant number of students experience anxiety and depression, and these mental health concerns have become more prevalent in recent times.

Gone are the days when mental health matters were disregarded as unrelated to the responsibilities of educators and the school community. Today, there is a widespread recognition that academic performance and social-emotional well-being are interconnected and equally vital. When students' mental health concerns remain unaddressed, their academic achievements are more likely to falter, and behavioral issues can arise. Our cover story, “Healing Beyond the Classroom,” looks at a Delaware school district that was first in the state to house a full-service wellness center and clinic in an elementary school. The clinic “is credited with helping to turn around the high-poverty, majority-minority school thanks to fewer discipline and truancy referrals.”

Also in this issue, NSBA’s Chief Legal Officer Francisco M. Negrón Jr. gives us insights into how the latest Supreme Court decision on diversity in college admissions could impact K-12 schools in “Diversity Is Dead. Long Live Diversity.”

Stories can help you connect and gain support for your schools, your district, and for public education, according to Raymond A. Lauk in his article, “Storytelling for School Leaders.”

As we step into September and October, we'll be shining a spotlight on impressive achievements during the 2023 Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Annual Conference in Chicago.

That list includes Missouri's Ferguson-Florissant School Board, the proud winner of the prestigious 2023 CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence. Also, Dr. Jonathan Hodges from New Jersey's Paterson Board of Education is receiving the esteemed 2023 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, a recognition well-earned. The dedication of each to educational equity and excellence is truly inspiring.

Your success deserves the spotlight! Showcase your innovative district program in ASBJ and at NSBA’s annual conference in April in New Orleans. Nominate your program at https://nsba.org/ASBJ/Magna-Awards by October 31.

Until next time . . .

Around NSBA

A group of high school students paint on canvases during an art class.

2023 Magna Awards Grand Prize Winners

School districts rethink and reinvent education for their students, staff, and communities.