The Weekly Connect 6/1/20

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Educators and policymakers are worried about low-income students falling behind during coronavirus school closures.

Because of the pandemic, America’s schools could face massive budget cuts.

Some districts are struggling to help English Language Learners.

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A week in the life of a City Connects Coordinator – working through a pandemic

Lexy Marsh

 

When COVID-19 shut down the Boston Public Schools, Lexy Marsh, the City Connects Coordinator at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Innovation School, felt a huge loss.

“I love going to school. I love the routine. So when our school closed, it was sad and stressful, but I quickly switched from how I was feeling to focusing on my students,” Marsh says. 

“All of our kids qualify for the free, reduced lunch program. About 30% of our kids are homeless or displaced, which is a huge percentage. And about 50% of our kids receive some kind of special needs services.” 

“And all my kids thrive on structure, even if they don’t want to admit it. They like coming to school because they know what to expect. They’re going to get breakfast, lunch and a snack. They know what teachers think they’re capable of doing, and they’re going to rise to that level. So, it was sad to know they wouldn’t have this structure.” 

 So when her school switched to online learning, Marsh created new structures, as a peek at her weekly schedule reveals:  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/26/20

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Parents are worried about their children losing social connections during COVID-19 school closures.

Because of COVID-19’s impact on its budget, California is slashing its preschool funding.

The rigor of remote learning varies by state.

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Coordinators make plans for a challenging summer

Summer is usually when City Connects Coordinators make sure that students are enrolled in camp or summer school or other programs that will support their growth and development. 

But now, coordinators are planning around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Summer is a moving target this year,” Lynne Sullivan, City Connects’ Director of Implementation, says. School districts are trying to figure out what programs they can safely offer. Some camps are closing. And parents, especially those who have to go to work, are facing uncertainty. 

“One of the things that coordinators are trying to balance this summer is an emphasis on trying to make up for academic learning loss and address students’ need for social-emotional support,” Sullivan adds.

In City Connect schools across the country, this means connecting students to a mix of creative opportunities.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/18/20

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Pediatricians worry that pandemic recovery planning is overlooking children’s needs.

Without more federal funds, half of all child care centers could close permanently.

In the shadow of COVID-19, more students could suffer from housing insecurity and homelessness.

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Steering through the COVID-19 crisis in Springfield

Back in March, when the dangerous spread of the coronavirus forced schools to close, the Springfield Public School system focused on human needs.

“We know that our schools are much more than education centers for our families. They provide important support and we know that closure will impact on our families,” the Springfield, Mass., public school website explained. 

“Springfield’s first priority was the safety and well-being of all our students and families,” Julie Donovan, Springfield’s City Connects Program Manager says. That meant focusing on the essential basics of food and housing and on keeping kids virtually connected to school.

So Springfield’s 28 City Connects Coordinators got to work. They reached out to families who weren’t responding to teachers, and they helped children living in homeless shelters get laptops and Internet hotspots.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/11/20

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Deportations can hurt the achievement of Latinx students.

Schools struggle with reopening even when governors say it’s okay.

School counselors suggest ways to help students — and adults — through the trauma caused by COVID-19.

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Helping teachers who work in COVID-19’s shadow


During this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we are honored to support our teachers and their important relationships with students and families. 

City Connects Coordinators have always played a critical role in supporting teachers — and they are continuing this work in the face of COVID-19. 

Teachers tell us they often feel the indirect emotional burden of students’ problems, from hunger, anxiety, and depression to homelessness and family stress.

Coordinators help by assessing students’ needs and addressing them with customized in-school and out-of-school resources. This frees teachers to feel supported and enables them to focus on teaching.  Continue reading