The Weekly Connect 1/19/21

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

A study finds that weekend food programs — that send students home with backpacks of food –address hunger and improve academic performance.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to address education challenges caused by the pandemic.

Given the rise in failing grades during the pandemic, some Michigan schools are considering ways to revamp their approach to assignments and grading.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading

Supporting children in the wake of violence at the U.S. Capitol

This is a guest blog post by Maria Theodorakakis, a City Connects Research Associate and a psychologist at  Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Watching — and often rewatching — the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week can be incredibly destabilizing for children. Seeing the seat of government desecrated by mob violence and symbols of hate can be upsetting and scary.

So it’s crucial to address children’s questions and concerns in a supportive and age-appropriate manner. Children may have difficulty making sense of what they are seeing on the news or overhearing adults discuss. In response to such events, younger children often wonder whether they and their loved ones are safe. Older children may ask about the underlying social justice issues. Encouraging children to ask questions makes it clear what information they want and need. We can then offer realistic reassurance based on facts and point out, as Mr. Rogers advised, that in a crisis there are always people who help.

We should also think about how adults can serve as socio-emotional role models. As adults process their own real-time emotions, they have to be aware of how their responses will be interpreted by children in their lives. Often there’s this misconception that adults should not react, they should avoid bringing challenging topics up with children, and that adults should be brave and stoic and hide their distress. But it’s healthier for kids to see adults have authentic reactions, name their feelings, and effectively implement strategies for managing them. For example, adults can be role models by developing their own good habits, limiting media consumption and choosing not to stay glued to televisions and phone feeds all night, because information overload can raise everyone’s anxiety.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 1/11/21

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Educators can help students process the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol.

The CDC says teachers should be next in line for COVID-19 vaccines.

Educators and local television stations team up to reach students who don’t have Internet access.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 12/21/20

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

In-school tutoring programs could slow students’ COVID-19 learning loss.

Massachusetts educators and staff in the cue to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Teachers learn to provide trauma-informed care for undocumented students.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading

Coordinating for the holidays

As this difficult pandemic year ends, City Connects Coordinators are making many lists and checking them twice to ensure that families have what they need to get through the holiday season.

Across the country, coordinators are making sure that children have access to the practical, educational, and even magical resources they need to have happy holidays and a successful new year. These include: 

• coats, food stamps, rental assistance, and help for newly arrived immigrants

• tutors, bus passes, and an in-school paraprofessional to support a child with disabilities

• holiday meals and gifts as well as two Trees for Tots Christmas trees — one Minion-themed, and one book-themed – being decorated by City Connects Coordinator Gabrielle West and her colleagues at Catholic Central’s elementary school in Springfield, Ohio. The trees are being donated to two families in need. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 12/14/20

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Mental health support for teachers is a top priority in Colorado and other states.

California parents sue, claiming remote learning programs are inequitable.

An elementary school in Zillah, Wash., wins recognition for closing achievement gaps.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading

10 things we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic (so far)


1. City Connects’ system of integrated student support, which is
delivered by skilled coordinators, allows schools and districts to be resilient in the face of crisis — even a global one.

2. The core practices of City Connects — the whole class reviews, individual student reviews, and personalized support — can work virtually.

3. By moving our model online, “We got to know families better,” City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh says. “When we were in schools it could be hard to schedule meetings with working parents. But online, “we got to see families at home and get more of a sense of their challenges.”

4. Having a record of every child — thanks to our data system — meant that once the pandemic hit, we could quickly reach out to every student. We knew who our most vulnerable families were, so we could re-establish connections with community-based providers like telehealth services and afterschool programs. And we had a system in place to respond to rapidly changing family needs. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 12/7/20

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

City Connects shows how schools can systematically help students during the pandemic.

Students are falling behind in math.

Schools are working hard to provide meals for students.

Teaching mindfulness skills to help students cope.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading