Community Partners: City Connects and Big Brothers Big Sisters

To get the right services to the right child, City Connects relies on hundreds of community partners – from nonprofits and health centers to businesses and cultural organizations.

One of our longstanding community partners is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay.

Big Brothers provides mentors – or “Bigs” as the organization calls them – who serve as role models and friends for children (or “Littles”) in a one-on-one relationship.

The partnership between City Connects and Big Brothers strengthens this practice.

“We really work collaboratively,” Nora Leary explains. She’s Big Brothers’ Vice President for Program Services. “I think our goals are very similar: to help the kids in Boston Public Schools succeed, not just educationally, but also in all the other spheres of their life.” Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 7/17/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

The lasting impact of programs that teach emotional intelligence.

Some poor schools have “STEM deserts,” fewer resources in science, technology, engineering, and math.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team have to tackle the big job of implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Online camps can keep kids connected to STEM activities and mentors year-round.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading

Helping homeless children

When you’re homeless you can’t do homework. So City Connects coordinators help homeless children and their families by providing the services they need.

It’s work we have to do every day because homelessness is rising. A new report released by America’s Promise Alliance — “Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools” — highlights the grim statistics.

  • Nationally, more than 1.3 million students were homeless in the 2013-14 school year
    “This is a 7 percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number of homeless students in 2006-07.”
  • In Massachusetts, 19,353 students were homeless in the 2014-15 school year, up from 14,247 in the 2010-11 school year
  • 60 percent of students say “it was hard to stay in school while they were homeless; 42 percent say they dropped out of school at least once,” and
  • Half of students say “they had to change schools during their homelessness, and many did so multiple times.” Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 7/10/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

A study looks at the hidden financial costs of bullying.

U.S. Supreme Court cases on education.

How increasing social-emotional learning can boost graduation rates for students of color.

The Chicago Public Schools system has a new graduation requirement.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading

Health care helps children succeed in school

Across all of City Connects’ schools, about 91 percent of the children we serve are low-income, and almost all of them rely on Medicaid for access to a range of health services. Our results in using these and other services to improve students’ academic and social-emotional outcomes shows how integrating comprehensive services can help students be better prepared to learn and succeed.

In the 2015-16 school year, we connected our 29,000 students to 44,197 services for health reasons including vision and hearing screenings, dental check ups, and doctor visits whenever a concerning medical issue arose.

Now, Congress is overhauling the Affordable Care Act and proposing some $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid that could hurt schools and school children. This funding cut would make it harder to connect children to health care. And without these services, many children won’t be able to fulfill their academic potential – an outcome could limit their college and career outcomes.

National news reports are pointing to this widespread challenge across the country. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 7/3/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

Researchers study voucher programs in Indiana and Louisiana.

The Republican health care bill could cut billions of dollars that public schools use for special education.

A new study ranks states on how well they help homeless students.

In the western part of the United States, fewer students take arts classes and participate in arts activities.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading

A City Connects summer

Now that it’s summer, children have said goodbye to their teachers and friends, but City Connects keeps kids covered because our coordinators connect them to summertime services.

These connections provide opportunities to play, grow, heal, work, and learn. For City Connects students in Boston, Mass., they include:

SummerWorks – a summer jobs program run by the nonprofit community organization ABCD

West End House Summer camp

The Steppingstone Foundation’s College Success Academy

Comfort Zone Bereavement Camp for grieving children

Little League Baseball Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/26/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

The City Connects blog looks at how City Connects works inside community schools to help them get the right services to the right children at the right time.

The Educational Equity Index measures which cities do the best job of educating low-income students.

Members of Congress have a plan to boost federal spending on special education.

New Jersey, Illinois, and Louisiana are using ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act) to help English-language-learners.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading