City Connects inside community schools

Community schools and City Connects are philosophically aligned programs — both help students thrive by meeting their comprehensive needs. The approaches are different but also complementary, and one of the places where they’re working well together is in nine New York City schools run by the Children’s Aid Society in Harlem, Staten Island, the South Bronx, and Washington Heights.

The Children’s Aid Society launched its community schools in 1992. These schools are “both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources,” the Coalition for Community Schools explains on its website. That might mean keeping a school open in the evenings to serve as a community center or bringing afterschool or health services into the school building.

City Connects dovetails with this work by providing a systematic way to connect these and other school- and community-resources to the right child at the right time, over time.

In the South Bronx, Ron Cope, a Children’s Aid Society Program Manager, works with City Connects staff members in four community schools. They say that City Connects’ model helps improve community school implementation in four key ways: Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/19/17

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:

Learning to read makes “deep changes” in the brain even for those who come to reading late.

17 states have submitted ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plans for fixing their struggling schools.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book notes that as the economy has been recovering, children’s health and economic well-being have improved; but there haven’t been gains in education or in family and community climates.

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

New research on lowering high school dropout rates

To protect students from the risk of dropping out of high school, start by helping them when they are in elementary school.

That’s the finding of a new brief that updates earlier findings done by researchers at the Center for Optimized Student Support in Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.

The brief — “Reducing High School Dropout through Elementary School Student Support: An Analysis Including Important Student Subgroups” – explains:

“Students who attended elementary schools implementing City Connects beginning in kindergarten or first grade are less likely to drop out of school in high school than comparison students (those who never attended a City Connects school).” Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/12/17

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:

Teachers’ who reported higher levels of stress had students with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

A report looks at how schools can use the arts to meet the requirements of ESSA – the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 to find healthy, summertime meals programs for hungry kids.

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

City Connects goes to college – in Ohio

We know City Connects works in elementary schools where our coordinators are in the school buildings working closely with students, families, teachers, and administrators. And we’ve adapted the City Connects model to work in high schools, where students are older and have more latitude to decide what they will and won’t participate in.

But five years ago the Mathile Family Foundation asked a pointed question: How could City Connects be adapted to work in a community college setting?

The challenges were obvious: elementary and high schools provide immediate, all-day access to students and teachers. And parents often come to school. But in colleges, students are independent adults. And their presence on campus can be fleeting. In addition, City Connects would have to adapt its model to meet the needs of these “adults” — many of whom are often still teenagers.

We decided to give it a try. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/5/17

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:

Childhood obesity can cause lasting physical harm.

President Trump is considering moving oversight of student loans from the U.S. Department of Education to the Treasury department.

State preschool funding is now above pre-recession levels.

An estimated 1.3 million children don’t have stable housing, according to the federal Condition of Education report.

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

A “Kind” stand against bullying

Photo: Courtesy of Larissa Winters

One day, Larissa Winters, a City Connects coordinator, was on Instagram, and she typed the term #kind into the search box. She was looking for a way to engage students with positive aspects of social media.

What came up in her search was the Kind Campaign, a nonprofit organization that addressed girl-on-girl bullying.

We know bullying can hit kids hard. Researchers at the University of Delaware have found that “kids who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to suffer from depression in seventh grade; and have a greater likelihood of using alcohol, marijuana or tobacco in tenth grade.” And a recent Reuters article on University of Arizona research adds, “Not only does bullying at school affect students’ emotional and social lives, it also directly affects their schoolwork and engagement in the classroom, suggests a U.S. study.”

For Winters, the campaign offered a chance to pull troubling behavior into the light, where it could be discussed and dealt with. So, she contacted the Kind Campaign and used their materials – a documentary called “Finding Kind,” and a related curriculum – to run an all-girl assembly on bullying at her school, Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy. It’s a pre-K through eighth grade school in Dorchester, where she is the school counselor and the City Connects coordinator. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/29/17

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:

Even after many African-American students receive an ADHD diagnosis, their symptoms are going untreated.

Thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are paying more attention to chronic absenteeism from pre-K through twelfth grade.

Attending a low-quality child care program hurts boys more than girls. So just expanding access to these programs isn’t enough, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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