To get better at what we do, we look at data and listen to feedback.
In our model, coordinators in each school conduct whole class reviews to learn about students’ strengths and needs. Students are then connected to individually customized services. The data from this work is entered into our Student Support Information System, our proprietary web-based database.
It’s a process that we’re always working to improve. City Connects coordinators are always thinking about how to help the students make progress, and the program managers who support and supervise the coordinators are always looking for ways to improve.
One of the people who gathers this feedback from our staff is Lynne Sullivan, City Connects’ Director of Implementation. She serves as a resource and a conduit for the program managers, ensuring that they have what they need to make sure our practice is working. And when program managers share things that might enhance the practice, Sullivan brings this information back to our implementation team.
In one case, program managers helped enhance continuity of services from one school year to the next, particularly for students who need more intensive supports. By providing specific coaching to coordinators, program managers helped implement ways to better indicate in June which students would benefit from immediate attention in September.
The result: “What we’ve seen preliminarily is that coordinators are paying more attention to these students right off the bat. Students are getting the support that they need early on,” Sullivan says.
We anticipate that coordinators will increasingly see how much this makes a difference. And we are excited about having the program managers and coordinators “think of themselves as researchers,” Sullivan says, citing an idea that Patrice DiNatale, City Connects’ Director of New Practice, has advocated for.
“Constructive feedback helps us see what works and what doesn’t,” Sullivan says, “and it shows us where we need to grow,” and where we need more research.
This is part of how City Connects — and the students we serve — make progress.