We’re grateful to Karen Juliano, the CEO and high school principal at Catholic Central in Springfield, Ohio, for the terrific opinion piece she wrote in the Springfield News-Sun about City Connects.
Juliano explains, “…we are now in the fourth year developing a network of providers and programs designed to make our schools stronger: to help our challenged students succeed and our traditional students get more out of their education — all the while fostering the kind of community cohesion that has always been part of the Catholic Central experience.”
Catholic Central prides itself on being able to help a range of students.
“As our community has become more diverse in recent years, Catholic Central has expanded its mission and admissions by making a faith-centered education available to a more diverse group of students,” Juliano writes.
“This school year, a third of Central students are African-American, Hispanic, multi-racial and other ethnicities, including multiple immigrant children for whom English is a second language. In some ways, this mirrors Springfield’s Catholic Schools’ founding years, which involved educating the children of Irish and German immigrants. Importantly, a more diverse student body better prepares all of our students to live in our more diverse world and helps us to more fully live out the inclusive mission of our Catholic faith.”
Catholic Central has three site coordinators who oversee students from pre-K through 12th grade.
“Last year, City Connects made more than 10,500 referrals, 7,500 in the areas of prevention and enrichment, providing three or more services to 99.9 percent of the Catholic Central population.”
And Central Catholic’s coordinators work hard to create tailored opportunities for students. As Juliano explains, “Central’s Debate and Key clubs recently re-activated to provide that outlet for interested students. Because our coordinators were aware of STEM students’ eagerness to learn, when Dayton Children’s Hospital began offering a genetics-related enrichment program, it was invited to Central. Our City Connects team is also all ears when any community group is interested in offering something to our students.”
Bringing City Connects’ systematic approach to Catholic Schools is crucial. As we wrote in our 2014 report, “City Connects in Catholic Schools:”
“Urban Catholic elementary schools face the same challenges as their public school counterparts: they serve neighborhoods that show high concentrations of poverty and students who struggle with the impact of poverty on academic achievement.”
“Our vision is that City Connects will remain a fundamental part of our everyday operations; continuing to support students and their families in a way that both fosters achievement and promotes the kind of community cohesion that has always been the hallmark of Catholic Central.”
City Connects works in a wide array of educational settings. We serve students in public, charter, private, and private Catholic schools located in Springfield and Dayton, Ohio, as well as in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York.