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What’s behind a spike in childhood speech development delays across the U.S.

Since the COVID pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of young children who are slow to develop language skills, with pediatric speech delays more than doubling for children aged 12 and younger. PBS Wisconsin's Zac Schultz reports on what’s behind the delays and whether schools have the resources to help teachers, students and caregivers.

The mental health needs of Black and Hispanic girls often go unmet. This group wraps them in support

On a sunny but brisk November afternoon inside Robert Abbott Middle School, six eighth grade girls quickly filed into a small but colorful classroom and seated themselves in a circle. At the 50-minute WOW circle, girls have a chance to set aside the pressures of the school day, laugh with and listen to one another, and work through personal problems. The weekly meeting is the centerpiece of individual and group therapy that WOW offers throughout the school year to Black and Hispanic girls, and to students of all races who identify as female or nonbinary, in grades 6 to 12.

Helping a community recover from a school shooting

A community — as well as those outside it — experiences a collective trauma following a major crisis like a mass shooting, Iowa City psychologist Holly Sanger said. Following the shooting at a high school in Perry, Iowa, many students, educators and parents outside of Perry have joined the town in their grief and lost sense of safety.

11-year-old killed in Iowa school shooting was a joyful boy known as ‘Smiley,’ his mother says

Ahmir Jolliff dashed out of his home in Perry Thursday morning, eager to see his friends on the first day back to school after winter break. It was vintage Ahmir — known as “Smiley” around his house — an 11-year-old whirlwind of cheerful activity. He kept a trunk of toys unlocked in the front yard so anyone could play with them, his mother said. He loved soccer, played the tuba and sang in choir. He had a habit of touching people on their shoulder and asking them how their day was.

An advocate for Latino students, this teen is being honored as an emerging leader in Colorado

When Osvaldo Garcia Barron started high school, he was often the only student of color in his advanced classes. He struggled to speak up and wondered if he had anything to contribute. The start of the pandemic interrupted his freshman year of high school. But instead of coming out of it feeling isolated, Garcia Barron came back to school determined. He followed his older sister Paola’s lead in participating in some leadership programs and continued taking advanced classes. When he still struggled to feel a sense of belonging, he realized he probably wasn’t the only one. Garcia Barron restarted the Boulder High School Latino Student Organization where he eventually became president. And he started getting involved in lots of other programs in his school, district, and city, including serving as a board member for the Boulder Valley School District Youth Equity Council and being a mentor in the school’s AVID program, which helps prepare students who are historically underrepresented in higher education for college.